123-reg on twitterYesterday I tweeted that I wasn’t very happy with 123-reg auto-renewing a .com domain name for 2 years without my say so – and I just received a phone call from their customer services team to see if they could help resolve the issue.

It wasn’t the auto-renewal I had a problem with, it was the length of the renewal.

I’d kinda already worked out what the problem was before the phone call… when I register a .com I always do it for 1 year, which 123-reg can see in my account. 123-reg’s auto renewal system then re-registers it for the amount of time you originally registered it for. However, in this instance, I was transferring the domain from another registrar on behalf of a client, so I didn’t actually register it with 123-reg. I did however, pay £9.99 at the time of the transfer, which includes 1 years registration. 

Because 123-reg didn’t have a record of how long I’d registered it for, they did a renewal for 2 years. Which I don’t really think is on, because that’s not the minimum you can do a .com for – the minimum is 1 year. They didn’t have my permission or any indication that I wanted it for 2 years/any more than the minimum, they just did it and took the money. Under their thinking, they could have done it for 5 years or 10 years and I would have been fuming.

As it happens, the domain is for an established business and so chances are the client will be happy with a 2 year renewal – but times are tight at the moment, and it’s not a time where businesses want to be spending more than they expect to.

123-reg said that they couldn’t refund me the 2nd years renewal because they’ve already paid it to register the domain so they don’t have it to refund/they can’t undo the registration. But I said that if the client wasn’t happy with the 2 year renewal, I’ll be contacting them and asking for a refund for the 2nd year out of their own pocket. You can’t just spend other people’s money without their permission! 

I was very impressed however, to get a call from 123-reg. They assumed the problem was with the auto-renewal and so were ringing to explain to me how to stop that happening which was helpful of them (if that had been the problem). 

This is an example of a company using Twitter to positive effect. And it’s also an example of the power of Twitter – if I’d written a blog post about it, 123-reg wouldn’t have seen it and rung me! Or if I’d issued a support ticket I would have got an email back. But by posting it in a very public domain that they are aware of, they wanted to resolve the issue quickly – and are probably hoping I’ll tweet a follow up – which is what this is!

Twitter does play a dangerous game for companies too however – I feel in this instance I’ve raised the issue and am now explaining it so others don’t have the same problem, but I have seen people blast companies repeatedly (eg. for not replying to 5 emails they send in one night whilst the business is closed) and in doing so giving the company a bad profile which isn’t really deserved.