You buy a domain name and you think it’s yours for life, right?
Let me tell you. If you don’t renew it, you lose it!
Recently, a client asked me to make some updates to her website. No problem, I’ll get right on it.
Wait a minute. What website? I’m getting a message instead.
Long story short, my client had canceled her credit card and closed her email address that were registered on the domain register (in this case, GoDaddy). They had no way of contacting her and so when the renewal date came and went, they released the domain name into the world for whoever wanted to purchase it.
Let me back up a minute because I hear you saying that I should have set it up to auto renew. I did, but with the credit card not viable and no way to reach her, there was no way to auto renew.
Two months had gone by. What could we do?
I contacted GoDaddy and they said I could pay $69.99 for a Domain Buy Service. I understood that was to retrieve the domain name. Well, yes and no. It is a service that will negotiate for you and you have to set up the lower and upper limits for what you are willing to pay to retrieve that domain name.
Some of you reading this probably knew that, but I didn’t.
I contacted GoDaddy support when the .com version of the domain name in question hadn’t processed and she set up the .net version, not realizing the issue at hand. My client ‘owned’ both the .com and .net version, and the .net version must not have been as appealing to whoever ‘bough’ the .com version.
GoDaddy support told me they would refund the $69.99 and I passed it along to my client, assuming it would be credited to her credit card (we updated the information on file). Two months later, she asked me to follow up.
After two hours with GoDaddy and support telling me first that I would have needed to cancel the Domain Buy Service in the required time (after pushing for an answer, he indicated that was an hour!) and then telling me that it is a non-refundable service, he told me there was no way to reverse or refund the money. I asked to speak to a supervisor. He escalated the account and ended the call.
I don’t know how this story will end, but I can tell you that good customer service is critical and refunding the $69.99 would have gone a long ways toward me having confidence that GoDaddy is a place I want to recommend to my clients.
What I do recommend is that you make sure that you have an updated credit card and ESPECIALLY a good contact number. In fact, you should have two contact numbers, ideally yours (the owner of the site) and an administrative contact number (your web developer).
Sometimes we have to learn from the school of hard knocks, but I hope this will help someone BEFORE they lose their domain name. Oh, did I tell you? The .com version of my client’s domain name is now up for sale… a mere $2,295!!