Ace of Space / Messed up big time!
Thought you've found the right web hosting company? Think twice. This article is based on a true story. What appeared to be a simple issue of secure certificate installation turned into a "nightmare" that cost my Company thousands of dollars in financial loss.
In early January 2006 we decided to update our Digicert secure certificate so as to reflect our new company name and address. I contacted Ace of Space, my former web host, about the steps I would need to take to get the new certificate installed on their servers. The company representative guaranteed me that once they had the certificate, they could install it in a matter of one hour or two at the most. Well, not quite. I had to wait for one day for a CSR-which is no more than a string of encrypted code-to be generated and another day or two for the certificate installation, after which my shopping cart became non-functional. Funny thing is that the shopping cart had been working fine until then.
One of the major problems with Customer Service nowadays is that Customer Service is simply NOT LISTENING to their customers. My instructions to Ace of Space were clear from the very beginning: I needed the certificate to work on the "www" directory but guess what? They ignored my request and issued a CSR for the wrong URL! After talking to Digicert (the certifying authority), I called Ace of Space's "Customer Service" (quote and quote) only to find out I would have to fill out a trouble ticket online - By the way, be aware of companies who don't provide direct tech support and instead make you go through layers and layers of trouble tickets!
After countless phone calls and trouble tickets, my certificate was finally installed by Ace of Space, but now the problem was that the shopping cart was acting erratically, giving an error message that invalidated the certificate itself. I immediately called Digicert who promptly troubleshooted the certificate and found nothing wrong with it. Promptness is a sign of good Customer Service; Digicert has always surpassed my expectations whenever I needed them! They are a model company of what customer service and tech support should be all about: timely, thorough, courteous, and reliable.
So now I'm back to Ace of Space and almost to the point of having to beg to speak with a Manager or Supervisor. Their CS rep said I couldn't talk to his boss because he was "busy" so he (the CS rep) offered to relay my message to the guy. I sat down and waited for a resolution that never came. Next time I called, I decided I better get to the company president. When I asked for his mailing address, I was told by the same Customer Service guy that he was not allowed to give me his boss' contact information. I always wondered about companies who place their Management in ivory towers...
I don't know how, but my complaint ended up on the President's desk. By that time, I had already decided to transfer my three websites to a web hosting company that really "means business" - believe it or not, this is Ace of Space's slogan! Thanks to their inefficiency I had lost three days worth of online orders!
One would think that once a company messed up big time, they would let you go once you've had it with them. Once again, Ace of Space failed. In an email of January 20 (see below), their President warned me that Godaddy-their affiliate registrar-would give me a hard time to transfer my websites. Other than this apparently friendly email, Ace of Space DID NOTHING to ensure that my websites got transferred in a timely fashion:
We certainly wouldn't object to you transferring your domain. In fact, we really have no control over that because domain name registrations are handled by an affiliate. (...) This particular registrant (goddady) has turned out to be one of the more challenging registration companies I've ever had to deal with. Which is why, since I took the helm, we've registered all new domains through a different company.
(Email signed by Ace of Space's president)
Later, when I asked Ace of Space for some sort of compensation for the financial losses resulting from their mess-ups and threatened to go public with my story, I was warned by their President to "consider the possible legal ramifications before posting such commentaries." I dropped my request for compensation and decided to proceed with the story publication.
Subsequent attempts to get a refund (for services that I was no longer using) have all been denied by Ace of Space. They continued to charge our corporate credit card even AFTER the websites had been transferred. Eight disputes have been filed with Visa, all of which were ruled in my company's favor.
UPDATE: Someone from Ace of Space's attorney office faxed us a copy of a bill requesting payment. We faxed them back asking to discontinue any such communication in the future as it would be construed as harrassment. We never heard from them again!