I had a call a couple of days ago from Phil in customer service at Netfirms. Apparently, someone noticed that not only did I move my wine club’s website off Netfirms after only 2 months of a 12-month contract, but I documented the entire debacle on this blog in language that was not at all complimentary to Netfirms. Phil called, he said, to give me someone human to rant at about this; to give him a ton of credit, not only was he very calm and professional about the entire thing, but he didn’t try to make excuses as to why their performance sucks. He even expressed some frustration over the permalinks issue (which was a functionality issue, and not my main reason for leaving), saying that it had been fixed about a year ago, but now is no longer working.
I explained that I was really looking for some sort of refund, since I believe that they misrepresented themselves in terms of their server performance and stability, especially around MySQL and WordPress. He thought that probably wasn’t possible since we were past the 30-day refund period (which I hadn’t even known existed, or I would have exercised it), but promised to have a chat with the billing department. I asked for the name of the VP of customer service (it’s Sandra Yick, based at their Toronto headquarters) and said that I’d be writing her to help resolve this.
Whether invoking the threat of escalating to the VP, or whether Phil just did a great job of acting as my advocate, he called me back later the same day and said that they were providing a refund for 10 months of the contract. Today, a credit came through for an amount that is apparently 10 months worth of hosting less two domain registrations (one for the year extension on my existing domain when I transferred to them, and one “free” domain that they encouraged me to register when I first joined, without explaining that I’d be stuck paying for it if I left even though I didn’t really want it in the first place). It’s about 65% of the amount that I paid, but considering the lower cost of hosting at either 8i or GoDaddy for a year, it’s enough to cover my hosting elsewhere. This doesn’t pay me back for all my own time and frustration that went into this, of course, but paying for the alternative hosting provider that I was forced to switch to is probably the best that I could hope for under the circumstances. Thanks, Phil, for being so helpful with all this — you were a star.
So if you’re a Netfirms customer and you’re unhappy with things, I have three words for you: talk to Phil.