Web hosting is a service that has a vast base of users and owners. Like all services, this also has its share of problems and customer grievances.
Like all companies, web hosts too have their own systems in place to handle complaints. In case you are facing issues with your website, the person to contact first would be the web hosting service provider, since they are best equipped to handle your website-related crisis.
Like all businesses web hosting companies don’t want negative publicity, so it is likely that your concerns will be addressed immediately and will make things easy for you. Try to reach an amicable agreement and if all complaints are not looked upon or dealt with properly, then other options need to be looked into.
So, is there actually like say a government office where you can go and file a complaint and have a bureaucrat handle it? The answer is an unfortunate ‘no’. There is no one body which deals with web hosting discrepancies. The telecommunications ombudsman does not cover web hosting services in most countries. However, the picture is not grim as is made out to be.
There is some recourse available to bail out customers in difficult situations. The foremost recourse that crops up when looking at where to lodge complaints about web hosting is the ‘Better Business Bureau’ or popularly known as the ‘BBB’.
The BBB is a non-profit organisation focussed on improving marketplace trust and comprises of 112 independently incorporated local bodies in USA and Canada. The organisation stands for commitment to resolve consumer grievances. Generally, web hosting service providers seek an accreditation from the Better Business Bureau for providing quality products and competent services. It does not however mean that the web hosting service providers are evaluated and endorsed by the organisation.
There is also the recent online complaints list.com, which was formed by people seeking to empower individual clients and businesses with fair opportunities to speak out against exploitation from false and hyped up advertising, and companies which generally have poor and substandard business practices. Some of the web hosting service providers have a tendency to bait and switch and the complaintslist.com has been formulated with the single minded idea of one complaint which can be viewed by the world wide users and thus utilising the power of easy accessibility of information. In simple terms, instead of a complaint being filed away, it is now available on the internet for the concerned customers to view the complaint and make an empowered decision.
In case, the web hosting service providers are outside the gamut of the BBB or complaints list.com, then a probable solution would be to look for a Fair Trade or Consumer Affairs department in your respective state to lodge a formal complaint about the service provider you are having a problem with.
When dealing with web hosting service providers always read carefully the service documents, disclaimer notices and terms of service agreements. Check for refunds in case of cancellation. In case of doubt, exercise caution before you go ahead and sign up. There are several web hosting service providers who make tall claims regarding the useful features and services they provide. So, how does actually one come to know whether their promises are for real or not?
There are several online consumer forums and discussion threads which usually provide answers to your queries and complaints. There are a blogs and website too, which provide reports on users’ first hand experiences and the whole lot of problems and situations they have encountered in dealing with the web hosting service providers. These blogs and forums also can provide information on a number of the currently best service providers, with their pros and cons, and a reality check on the features and services they provide.
If the search for actual names to take your complaints to is proving frustrating, then have a look at blogs which list out and categorise the most common complaints of customers as sales complaints, technical complaints, resource and customer support, refund issues, functionality problems, stability issues and how to deal with them. Dealing with bad and shoddy web hosts requires patience and knowledge of how and whom to approach. If you are with a free web host service provider, just switch hosts and move on, because general bashing only gives a link to them and helps them in their search engine optimisation.