Pipex is one of the UK’s biggest Internet companies and it appears to be on a determined route to self-destruction. I have already started shifted my domains and hosting deals.
I’m not a business journalist so I haven’t really bothered to follow Pipex’s business, although they do appear to be going for the bulk mainstream audience of Internet users. And the result for my perspective has been that the very best company in the UK for domains – 123-Reg, which is now owned by Pipex – has gradually been destroyed by corporate shenanigans.
I first wrote about 123-Reg’s problems two months’ ago. I got a nice call from Pipex’s PR people and was assured that everything was fine but you need only look at the continued stream of comments on the blog post to see that if anything the situation is getting worse.
But the past week has shown that the problem really does lie with Pipex the parent company.
I have a range of hosting accounts, and one of them is (or rather was) with Pipex.
I received an email last week from Pipex stating: “Dear Kieren McCarthy, We have today tried to process a payment for services hosted with us, using the card, last 4 digits xxxx, securely held on file. Unfortunately we have been unable to complete the transaction due to the following reason…”
This email was followed literally one minute later with an invoice from Pipex for the web hosting deal: “Please find attached the Invoice relating to your Webhosting and/or Domain Name Renewal/Registration…”
Now there are several things here that I *really* don’t like. One, Pipex did not tell me the hosting was about to expire, it simply tried to charge my credit card. And it tried to charge it before informing me or sending an invoice. Not only that but it tried to take payment on 24 November when it was due on 1 December – and when I should have 30 days to pay anyway. This is outrageous behaviour.
But that wasn’t why I shifted my account. I shifted it because Pipex’s hosting deal is rubbish. They want £105.69 for a hosting deal you can buy anywhere else for literally half the price. So that’s what I’ve done – shifted to Bluehost.com, who offer more than the Pipex deal for half the price. It’s no wonder Pipex is trying to charge you first and ask questions afterwards. I see it as extremely fortunate that my credit card was stolen so I got a new card and Pipex wasn’t able to rip me off for another year.
But it gets better. I replied to the email with the invoice on saying I had decided to take my business elsewhere – and explained why as well. This morning – a week later – I received this email:
Thank you for your email. Our Customer Service team deal with the closure of accounts and they can be contacted on 0115 9170000, option 6 (9.00 – 5.30pm Monday to Friday).
Please contact them regarding this query to begin the 30 day notification which is required for the closure of all accounts as per our terms and conditions.
In fact, I had tried to find a way of cancelling my order online and was unable to. I had mentioned this in my email. So, to recap:
This is really just a scam. This is the company that Pipex has become. And it is dragging 123-Reg down with it. Can some tech-heads please set up a new 123-Reg and then email me about it? I am in the market for shifting domains.
My response to Pipex’s email was blunt:
I’m sorry but I consider replying to the email that I was sent with the invoice is sufficient response to Pipex.
You are welcome to have whatever convoluted internal structures you like, but as a now ex-customer, you won’t find me playing along. As far as I am concerned our business dealings are over and completed.
Yours sincerely, Kieren McCarthy
We’ll see how unpleasant Pipex wants to be about this. The more unpleasant they are, the more they will live to regret it.