I registered a domain online through GoDaddy. At that time, I also signed up for the smallest (Unix) shared hosting package, figuring I could always upgrade later if needed. A friend had passed along a coupon code, so my total went from $17 and change to just over $15. I figured all good.
I haven't owned a website since high school - around 5-6 years now - so I was still kinda rusty on the whole start-up process, since I'd only done it once so long ago. I do vividly remember that it takes some time for a newly-registered domain to propagate. Last time, it took about 24 hours; I expected as much this time around, as well. As such, I never even bothered to log into my new GoDaddy account after manually attaching my domain to my hosting plan (because, apparently, this is not an instantaneous action).
One day later, I try to connect via FTP using my login details. The connection fails. I try again a few more times, then deduce the domain had not yet propogated. I figure this is normal, especially considering I had registered the new domain not quite 24 hours prior, and try again the next day with the same results. I resolve to wait one more day before I contact customer support.
The next day, I was out all day, and I never thought to check to see if I could connect. Today, it dawned on me that I had failed to check, and I figured my domain should definitely be working now. I try again 3 or 4 times, but receive the same results.
I now realize something must be wrong - either something went wrong during registration, or something is wrong with my account. I hunt down my customer ID number and password, then log on to GoDaddy.com. I attempt to login and... nothing. So, I try again. This time, I get an error telling me:
Your account has been locked. Please contact customer service at (480) 505-8877 for more information.
Strangely, this doesn't worry me. I assume that because I have a dynamic IP address, GoDaddy must have flagged my account for attempting to log on from multiple locations, and perceived this as an attempt to hack the account or... something. I locate my phone, and dial the number from the error message. And I wait on hold. For 42 minutes.
So, 42 minutes later, a woman with a very pleasant demeanor answers my call. She introduces herself as "D****, Rep ID# 13459," and asks for my customer ID number, my telephone PIN, and my e-mail address, which I relay to her. After a brief pause, her attitude suddenly drops from sweet customer service rep to Angry Lady on a Mission to Destroy Me:
Woman: What seems to be your problem>
Me: Well, I tried to login to my account just now, and I received an error stating my account had been locked, and to call this number for help.
Woman: Your e-mail address email@example.com, right?
Me: Yup, that's correct.
Woman: Next time, check your e-mail before you call this number.
Me: I.. what? I'm sorry, it's just, the error message said to call this number...
Woman: *pff* What error message?
Me: The one I received when I tried to log in to my account.
Woman: And what did this "error message" say, verbatim?
Me: It states, "Your account has been locked. Please contact customer service at (480) 505-8877 for more information.
Woman: You need to check your e-mail.
Me: I checked my e-mail, I have it open right in front of me, I don't see anything from GoDaddy besides my two initial sign-up e-mails and my receipt from PayPal.
Woman: Check your SPAM folder.
Me: It's empty.
Woman: That's because you must have emptied it.
Me: No... actually, I created this e-mail address just to use with my new domain, I've only had it for four days.
Woman: I don't know what to tell you, I can't help you, you need to check your e-mail.
Me: Ma'am, I have my e-mail open right in front of me; I have three messages in my inbox, no messages in any other folder, and nothing that indicates why my account is locked.
Woman: I can't help you.
Me: Do you know why my account was locked?
Woman: It's in the e-mail.
Me: Okay, but would you mind explaining it to me?
Woman: It's explained in the e-mail.
Me: But.. I didn't.. I don't have.. Okay, could you resend the e-mail?
Me: Is there... someone who can?
Me: So, I'm supposed to check an e-mail I never received, that you won't resend, that you won't connect to someone who can resend it, and you won't tell me yourself what's going on... what am I supposed to do?
Woman: (barking) CHECK. YOUR. E-MAIL.
Me: I'm doing that right now, ma'am, there is no e-mail to speak of.
Woman: Then I can't help you.
Me: Can you unlock my account?
Me: Can you unlock my domain?
Me: But I own the domain.
Me: So can you unlock it?
Woman: Are you going to transfer it?
Woman: Then no.
Me: Can you cancel the account?
Woman: Because it's locked.
Me: Can you cancel my billing information?
Woman: No, you need to access your account to do that.
Me: I paid through PayPal.
Me: So what if I cancel my billing through PayPal?
Woman: Then we'll charge you with a chargeback fee.
Me: Because I cancelled my billing.
Me: Because I cancelled my billing to an account you locked with no explanation, that you won't unlock, that I can't use, that you won't help me figure out how to unlock so I can use, you are going to charge me with a chargeback.
Me: And that doesn't sound ridiculous to you?
Woman: If you're going to be rude, I will terminate the call.
Me: What? I... Okay, look: is there anyone else I can speak to about this?
Me: Anyone else I can speak to at all?
Me: A supervisor?
Me: A colleague?
Me: You're the only one in the office?
Me: Are you for real?
Woman: Excuse me?
Me: Nothing, thanks for your, uh... time.
Woman: Yep. *disconnects*
So now I'm perplexed, angry, and upset that I must have committed some terrible, unspeakable crime that would cause them to lock my account and treat me this way without even explaining what I did.
I resolved to fix the billing issue, even if it meant I had to deal with a chargeback, and figured I'd start by challenging the transaction through PayPal and later fight the chargeback, if necessary. I log in to my account, locate the payment to GoDaddy, and notice something weird: there are two transactions to GoDaddy for the same exact amount. Upon further inspection, the second transaction was not a duplicative charge, but a freaking refund. GoDaddy had refunded my payment the day after I first signed up!
I'm happy for a moment, because this means the billing issue has already been resolved, but then I realize that GoDaddy still has my domain name in their system, and I can't register it anywhere else. I decide to call GoDaddy again, mostly because I'm a glutton for punishment, and see if they won't accept my measly $7.99 in exchange for the release of my domain name if I promise to go elsewhere for hosting.
I call the same number again and pray with all my might that the previous woman was being sarcastic when she said she was the only one in the office. After 26 minutes on hold, my prayers are answered, and a pleasent-sounding gentleman answers the phone. I feel a waive of relief, then snap back to reality when I remembered that D**** was nice at first, too - until she looked at my account details. I brace myself for a similar situation with this guy, who gave his name as "L*******," Rep ID# 3..5..something something something..pretty sure there was a Q in there..
This time, after giving my details, I skip past the whole "my-account-was-locked-and-no-one-wants-t
I ask what they do with registered domains on locked accounts. He say nothing - they're attached to a locked account, and nothing can be done. I ask what happens when the domain name expires, and he tells me GoDaddy then retains ownership. What?
I give up at this point and thank the guy for his time, then hang up.
I've done quite a bit of Googling, and discovered that this issue happens quite a bit with customers; some posts I've come across are as recent as yesterday, one that someone posted just today. In most of those cases, the affected individual eventually traces the locking of their account back to something they did wrong, but four of them were the same as me - new customers, never used the account, received a refund, received no e-mail, and received no explanation.
I have no idea what else to do. I received a full refund, so it's not like I'm out any money. And since I technically haven't paid for the domain, I can't claim ownership of it (unless there's a rule where domain names are a form of intellectual property?). The billing issue is null because GoDaddy refunded me, which I assume means they won't be charging me monthly, either.
I just want to know why my account was locked the day after I opened it, when I hadn't even had a chance to log in, and maybe an apology from D, the woman to whom I first spoke. Besides her rep number, I called her from my work phone, which auto-records every inbound and outbound phone call on that line, so I have an .mp3 file for each phone call (which I completely forgot until the pop-ups that come about 15 minutes after a call ends, so I don't even know if they're legal recordings, since I never told either rep that either call was being recorded).
So! That's the predicament I'm in right now. I'm about ready to drop the issue, except I spent a long time coming up with that domain name, and I've already designed an entire layout based on that domain name, and I really like it - I don't want to change it just because GoDaddy arbitrarily decided to close my account.
If you have any suggestions, I would be much appreciative. Otherwise, thanks for allowing me to vent, and if you made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read :)
Edit: Re: the legality of recording the calls - a friend of mine said I live in a "one-party" consent state, and that only I have to consent for the calls to be legal, and beyond that, right before I was put into the queue and again right before I spoke to both reps, a recording played that said, "This call may be recorded for quality assurance." According to her, that counts as consent, because the reps are aware the calls will be recorded and conset to it everytime they take a call. I'm thinking that the consent only applies to GoDaddy recording the calls.. IDK. Thoughts?
Thank you for your comments so far, by the way!