The Jer (woah_oh) wrote in bad_service,
The Jer

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Boomspeed and the Timeline of DOOM

A few years ago (at least around 2003), I signed up with a then-free file hosting site called Boomspeed, which offered a whopping 1MB storage space for no cost. I'm a music nerd and I had composed a few MIDIs I was proud of. So I posted them there, linked to them on message boards, had my ego stroked ("whoa, that's really cool!" etc. etc.), and it was all fine.

Summer 2006 - My computer had a meltdown. I have to completely reformat it--including one original composition I was most proud of. Much swearing, gnashing of teeth, loss of a number of things. I reinstall my games, cobble together a few of the things I treasured, piss and moan, and life goes on.

March 2007 - I realize that my original composition had been eaten and was not replaced with the rest of the stuff, and I go on a panicked hunt for it. I didn't reupload it to my personal site; I hadn't sent it to any friends or family, nor had I put it on any backup disks. I hastily assume that I uploaded it to Boomspeed, and go back to check only to discover that all the free accounts had been frozen, though they would hold onto the data until June if anyone chose to recover their account.
Maybe I missed out on the "we're going to freeze accounts" e-mail, and if I did, mea culpa. Nevertheless, it feels like ransom: "We've got your precious files right here, and if they mean anything to you, you'll leave an envelope with $18 in non-consecutive bills under the red bench in the city park."

A slight tangent: Boomspeed offers 1gig of storage for a quarterly fee of $18, charged January 1st, April 1st, July 1st, and October 1st. This means 1GB of storage, 3GB/mo bandwidth allowance (and, according to their ToS, unnamed fees for extra bandwidth usage), an e-mail account, and ownership of a single subdomain for $72 a year.
For comparison, my fiancee is going to switch hosting plans. E-mail, 225GB storage, 1500GB/mo bandwidth, one domain and unlimited subdomains, for $36 a year.
So you could say their offer sucks badly.

April 2007 - After much stewing, I realize that my peace of mind and my beloved composition are probably worth the $18 I'm holding out on spending. So I suck it up and go through the process of getting my account restored--though it strikes me as odd that the ToS says it should only take 24 hours, yet I end up waiting 3 days.
Out of concern, I send a message to the link listed as the "support" e-mail address. In response, I get an automated e-mail that says, in essence, "Due to the volume of complaints we get [with shitty service like this? NO WAI!!], we have switched to an automated system. Paying customers, fill out a service request form and we will deal with your problem. Non-paying customers, post on our support forums and other users will try to help you [translation: "whatever you post here, the company has no obligation to help you with"].
So, I go to the very, very sad looking messageboard, where no one had previously posted for months. In fact, almost all of the forums (including the "support" one) are closed and locked. The only one still functioning is the "JOKES" forum, which is rather appropriate. I post my complaint there. Other than a reply saying "I've had the same problem," it goes ignored.

And man, the egg is on my face when the file I wanted isn't there. Ouch. Ah, well. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? I download everything I did store there, since I planned on canceling it once I got my stuff.

Later that month, I submit a request to cancel my account, as per their terms of service. The problem is, they have a shitty system--you have to submit a "support request" saying you want to cancel. They have to acknowledge your cancellation request. Then, they'll cancel your service. Unfortunately, you don't really get a record of service issues. They provide no form of e-mail receipt that says "you submitted a support request on May 5th", so you can't find out how long they've failed to help and don't really have evidence against them. I think to myself, "That creates a loophole: They can fail to respond, claim your "service request" got lost in the Intertubes, and keep charging you ." This thought proves remarkably prescient.

May 2007 - No response. I submitted another cancellation request, then posted a dignified-yet-pissed off entry on their message board. I get someone telling me to do what I've already done twice. I say "thanks, but I've done that." Two weeks later, I submit another cancellation request. This makes for 3 ignored requests. By the end of the month, a person reports on that sad, sad message board that she too has been screwed over in the exact same way, and that she had to cancel her credit card in order to get them to stop charging it.

June 2007: Since contacting the company has failed, I file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Unsurprisingly, Boomspeed fails to do anything in spite of this. Around the middle of the month, I reason that the company has proven to be enough of a scam that I can report my card as compromised, and I do so. Once that's done, I breathe a sigh of relief, glad that I'm done with all this bullshit.


Of course not.

My account statement came in today, and they charged me another $18. I double-checked their ToS, and it turns out that I had read it wrong--the quarters start on Jan/Apr/Jul/Oct 1st, but they can charge you up to 60 days before the beginning of the quarter. So they had charged me on June 4th.

And guess what else happened on June 4th? They received my complaint from the BBB. Damnedest coincidence, eh?
Rotten fuckers. If small claims court wasn't more trouble than it was worth, I'd have no qualms about suing them.

Moral of the story: The fine print is a bitch, and gut instinct is right more often than not. I got burned, bad. I will admit I half-deserved it--I mean, just look at how shitty their website is. But there's still plenty of other subscribers to the service, which means plenty of other people getting ripped off by it. If you or someone you know is using this service--or even thinking about it--cancel it and get a better one, or get a free Photobucket account.

As for the song, it turns out there was a copy of it on my mom's computer. If I had waited two months and asked her if I could check there, this could have all been avoided.

EDIT: I've added on here that you don't get any proof of cancellation requests you've submitted.

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