are good companies. There are bad companies. And then thereís
Namesecure is a company which offers web hosting and
domain name registration. I signed up for the latter back in 2002,
when I launched this site. Iíd created the pages with a cheap online
Site Builder facility offered by CNET, which was excellent for
beginners like me. The only drawback was that I had no choice over
the name of the site, and was allocated something long, unwieldy and
unmemorable. Even I couldnít ever remember it quite right! This
often happens with cheap or free web hosting companies. So I
purchased the domain name freecrosswords.net from Namesecure.
Basically, people who visited freecrosswords.net were
redirected to my web site. It worked in the same way as the mail
forwarding service people use when they move house. It was an ideal
domain name for a site like this, as not only was it easy to
remember, but it was a perfect description of what these pages have
When I moved to another web host I was able to get the perfectly decent domain name alberichcrosswords.com, and thatís the one
youíll find on search engines and links
from other sites. Even so, I kept the freecrosswords.net domain name as
a way to get to this site. It's memorable, itís unlikely people will
get it wrong, and I regularly used it when referring
people to these pages. So what's my beef with
For ten years I was reasonably happy
with them. Their technical support was pretty ropey but the
redirect was reliable, so I had no cause to complain. Then, in
November 2012, it all went pear-shaped. My domain name came up for
renewal, and as they were offering a good deal on a 5-year subscription,
I went for that rather than the usual automatic annual
renewal. Unfortunately, their web site wasn't working properly when I tried
to purchase the package.
Four times I submitted
my details and got an error page. Iím used to having problems
entering a Czech postal address into forms designed for America,
but annoyingly the error page didnít state what the error was.
On the fifth attempt I was notified that my payment had been
successful, so I assumed all was well.
Alas, no. When I next looked at my credit card
statement I saw that five payments had been made to Namesecure. I
emailed them and was told that these were only
authorisations, not payments, and that they would only charge me
once, rather than five times. That was rubbish, of course. When a
payment appears on your credit card statement it means that your
card has been charged. I confirmed with Barclaycard that five
payments had been made and wrote to Namesecure again. I received no
reply to my email.
So I took the matter up with Barclaycard, and they
were marvellous. Barclaycard get a bad press sometimes but they
were really helpful. Iím not a fan of foreign call centres (for
linguistic reasons) but if all foreign call centres were like
Barclaycardís nobody would have any reason to complain about them.
They refunded the four erroneous payments pretty quickly, so the
matter was apparently resolved.
ďApparentlyĒ is the operative word. In May 2013 I
noticed that the freecrosswords.net redirect wasnít working. I
realised after a while that this was more than a short-term server
problem and confirmed this when I logged into my Namesecure account
and found that my domain name had been deleted. Thatís when the
real fun started.
I contacted them and asked what was going on. They
told me that I had cancelled my payment to them, so they had deleted
the domain name from my account. I wrote back to explain that I had
only cancelled the four erroneous payments, and they still had the
correct amount. I pointed out that my credit card statement clearly
shows five payments out, four back. I also pointed out that the
Order Status page in my Namesecure account shows that they had
indeed received their payment in November and there was no evidence
of this being cancelled.
Their response was this (I have left the grammatical
Thank you for contacting NameSecure Support. We are
focused on delivering quality Customer service and addressing the
issues you are having.
I am sorry, however the charge back
was placed on the successful charge for the domain name. The amount
of 68.35 was charged back and returned to your card. This was a
request made from your bank to reverse the payment, and that has
been done. The domain name at this time has been deleted from your
account and has gone though an auction phase, and has also been
purchased by a 3rd party.
I have looked into this for you to see
if we can get the name back for you, and we can. The new owner is
looking to get $299.00 For the name.
Please let me know if you
would like to move forward with getting the name back at that
We hope this information has been helpful and thank
you for choosing NameSecure for your online needs.
Iíll admit that I saw red at this, and basically told
them where to shove it. I said that
skills leave a lot to be desired if they have so much
difficulty with 5 Ė 4 =
To suggest charging me $299 for their mistake is
The first and last
paragraphs of their response are at least good for a
Is this whole business an example of dishonesty or incompetence? I think itís
somewhere in between; they made a mistake and rather than admit
it, they saw a good chance to make money out of it. Life is
too short, though, to let things like this become a major issue so and
Iíve simply decided to wash my hands of Namesecure. Barclaycard got my
final payment back for
me (again, good on them!) and although Iím not pleased to
lose my freecrosswords.net domain name, this siteís better known
these days as alberichcrosswords.com so itís hardly the end of
the world. At least Namesecure werenít hosting my site's pages! Still,
it is only right to warn people about this appalling company and to
advise that if you want a company to host your site or provide a