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Buyer BEWARE!! BlueHost.com Deceptive Advertising Practices

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by SuperLinks, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. SuperLinks

    SuperLinks Elite Member

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    Beware of Bluehost.com's Deceptive Marketing Practices

    I had previously used BlueHost.com's hosting in the past for various
    web-related projects. Today I received the following email from them

    $1 for 90 days
    [​IMG]

    Sounds good right? Well, after going through the normal check out
    process I was billed for the FULL amount on hosting. No trial period.
    Best of all? You didn't know it until AFTER you had entered your CC
    info.

    Now, don't get me wrong, this has very little to do with the money.
    It has to do with the fact that hosting companies like BlueHost.com
    are using deceptive advertising techniques to get users to sign up for
    "trial" periods, to get billed the full amount.

    Many people won't even notice they got billed the full amount, which is
    likely BlueHosts overall strategy. Do you really want to use a hosting
    company like BlueHost that's clearly trying to make the quick buck?

    Is Bluehost a Scam? Probably not. But is BlueHost messing around
    in the murky waters of deceptive advertising? You be the judge....

    Here's another link on BlueHost's questionable activities:

    http://inetintegrity.com/weblog/?p=3

    Edit:

    In order to attempt to get things straightened out I had to spend 50 minutes
    on live-chat support AND call in. At which point I said fuck it and requested a
    refund and cancellation. Support had NO clue how to fix this issue and/or get
    the advertised price.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011
  2. cornkernel

    cornkernel Regular Member

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    that's pretty dodgy. thanks for letting people know.

    so did you get a refund?

    did they do it intentionally, or was it some kind of screw up?
     
  3. SuperLinks

    SuperLinks Elite Member

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    People should know about companies like this one....

    They say they "processed" a refund, but we'll see. I'll take a look at my online statement in a few days.

    I'd say intentionally. There was no direct option to get the "$1 bargain" during checkout so it was only assumed that it was going to be applied. It looks like they never set up a real option for checkout.
     
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  4. cornkernel

    cornkernel Regular Member

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    if they didn't have the $1 option, i would have assumed as well that it would be applied during the processing. obviously not! that's definitely wrong.

    at least now i know not to ever use them.
     
  5. Fathom

    Fathom Power Member

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    This reminds me of the the hosting I brought last week called www.fasthosts.co.uk I had signed up as usual to this hosting company, paid £5.50 for the first month, now I've found out im tied into a 12 month contract and if I don't cancel on the 11th month i'll be tied into a further 12 months contract.

    Some dodgy hosting companies out there.
     
  6. GimmeMoney

    GimmeMoney Regular Member

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    They probably figure that some people will notice and ask for a refund but a lot won't and that's where they cash in. They may think they're clever but I believe practices like this will lose them money in the long run. They've certainly lost me as a potential customer.
     
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  7. xgnux

    xgnux Regular Member

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    not nice but i cant say anything against their hosting. Have some websites there for 2 years...
     
  8. Bienshen

    Bienshen Registered Member

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    the offer says exclusive offer for former members,that might be what you missed.
     
  9. cornkernel

    cornkernel Regular Member

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    the OP said they've used them before....
     
  10. SuperLinks

    SuperLinks Elite Member

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    Thanks, but ya, I already had a hosting account with them in the past.
    I canceled as a result of poor customer service in the past and nearly
    for the same reason this time. Had they accepted their original offer
    without requiring me to go through an hour of back and forth customer
    support AND phone support, I would have had no problem.
     
  11. Bienshen

    Bienshen Registered Member

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    hey sorry didnt notice you mentioned that you were with them, than this leads me to believe that its on par with 1and1 , masking offers and fine prints.. such a horrible thing to do..
     
  12. Kickflip

    Kickflip BANNED BANNED

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    It really does sound like just a glitch on their part, or a missed cookie or something. I can't imagine they would try a basic bait and switch for a few extra dollars. It is completely illegal and their company is based in the USA, home of the Lawsuit.

    A lot of times when companies have special deals, the programmers/web designers screw up the steps which trigger the special pricing to kick in, and it causes it to be basically impossible for you to trigger the actual offer.

    Also, the link you posted about "BlueHost's questionable activities" is from several years ago, and the company has been bought by a different company since then so there have probably been quite a few changes in their business practices.

    They probably outsource all of their customer service, and in most cases the only thing customer service people can do is cancel/refund, not adjust pricing.

    It is a good warning about this particular issue that people may have, but I don't think there is any proof that BlueHost did this on purpose. Netfirms, which is owned by the same company as BlueHost, recently did a similar offer, and it took me about 25 minutes to kick it in because of a flaw in their programming/design (again, no proof if that flaw was intentional or not).

    Did you need to sign in to your old account to sign up? Or did you create a new account?
     
  13. c0ntenth|ef

    c0ntenth|ef Power Member

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    i wouldn't have blamed them if they charge you normal after the 90days , its like that godaddys .info trick where they charged very cheap for the first year then after that its the normal price and people get all shocked, i use bluehost and so far i give them 7 out of 10 but what i found out is they are sneaky biatch they renew your account long months before the expire date to make you stick with them.
     
  14. cookiejar

    cookiejar Regular Member

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    I have been using Bluehost aka (Host Monster) since 2000 the services are second to none despite the shadyness. I had an affiliate account with them and recieved about 4 signups, when it was time to cash out they closed my account! Ha Bastards, will never promote them but I'm somewhat married to the services because of the robust features that other hosts don't have.

    So proceed with caution. Would not recommend for a knoob, and definitely don't promote via affiliate.
     
  15. techjayd

    techjayd Newbie

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    seems like their "retention" offer isn't a good offer :)

    thanks for the head's up!
     
  16. kvmcable

    kvmcable Supreme Member

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    It sounds like you missed the fine print somewhere. Most likely you had to have an old account that hadn't been purged and use that account to make this purchase. There may have been other clauses about what offers this applies too and maybe you picked the wrong offer. Without hearing the other side I wouldn't suggest anyone rush to judgment.

    Of course when it comes to hosting you better be darn good at reading contracts, AUPs and TOSs. Web hosting is one of the most competitive markets online and everyone is showing one hand and playing another. If you want straight shooters there is plenty of them but you'll pay for what you use and they'll slap you if you mess with their network or cause them problems.

    If you're searching for hosts where you can get tons of resources for practically nothing then you have to take the gambles and hope you don't get caught. If you think you can get unlimited ANYTHING for cheap then you're sadly mistaken. If you don't care about bad service, closed accounts or bad support then you chase cheap hosting. When your online property costs you and makes you good money then you don't screw around with such BS services.

    The providers gamble you'll never use much in resources so they advertise unlimited this and that but they have buried in a AUP or TOS wording that says they can boot you anytime they want if you go over their unspoken allowance for your account. It's all a game so don't hate the player. You should have been presented a total before your CC was billed and if you proceeded with the checkout then you only have yourself to blame. They didn't take your money; you gave it to them. There is a big difference.

    Good luck with your hunt for a new host.
     
  17. SuperLinks

    SuperLinks Elite Member

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    Thanks for the diatribe, but this has very little to do with "fine print".
    This is deceptive advertising as there's no way in their checkout system
    to get this promotion. Feel free to check it out for yourself: http://www.bluehost.com/track/winback

    The only way I received this email was as a result of being an old member
    in their system. I have a ton of hosting accounts and figured why not
    sign up to BlueHost and see what its like again? Now I remember why I
    had quit in the first place.

    Evidently you are fine with deceptive marketing, so I'm sure you'll do great
    in business. Btw, hows that rebill offer coming along for you?
     
  18. mdsurf

    mdsurf Senior Member

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    wow that is ridiculously shady, im so sick of that kind of stuff from companies!
     
  19. Kickflip

    Kickflip BANNED BANNED

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    @SuperLinks: How much were you billed? I went ahead and checked out your link, and everything seems just fine.

    This is the default setup when you go to sign up:
    [​IMG]

    As a default, you are getting charged $4.95 per month on a 12 month contract. So if you only want to use them for the 3 months for $1.00, you have to change the option in the dropdown menu, and uncheck the other 2 boxes as well.

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, it is now giving me the choice of $0.33 per month, for a 3 month contract, totaling $0.99.

    I don't know how you can say "You didn't know it until AFTER you had entered your CC
    info" how much you would be charged, because it says it right there. I think it would be safe to assume you didn't change the option in the drop down menu.