Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Online Scam Warning - BEWARE! and take note, dear friends...

I just had a very near miss getting scammed by this online web hosting site called "Hostia", "Freehostia", also known as "Liquidnet", "chocolate", "supernatural", and several others. It supposed to be free,  but you have to pay for a domaine name ($10 per year - not too bad). Then they tell you they can protect you from identity theft, spam, etc. for another $10 (per year) which I paid, since I am new to this whole business ( I am trying to set up to conduct online art classes) and not too savvy, I admit. The first hint there was something wrong is that even though they are supposed to be in the web hosting business their website really really sucks! In fact, they have a so-called log-in area where you are supposed to put in your username and password. So that makes it look legit, right? But guess what. There is no way to generate a user-name or password! There is no "create account" option anywhere on the site! So I thought that would occur in the purchasing process, but n-o-o-o-o-o. So I look on my paypal receipt which gives the contact information and I called the "company" to ask how to get my username and password. It said to call their' pre-sales and customer support number noted below". The generic answering message thanks you for calling  "web-hosting" sales and customer support (notice- no company name!) and got I a guy who was the absolute worst jerk annd biggest asshole I have ever had the misfortune to deal with by phone- ever, ever!  -- and by my age I have dealt with plenty.  He refused to allow me to speak. I would barely say one syllable and he would talk over me. Then, yelling at me, he demanded repeatedly "Who is this? Who are you?" But as soon as I tried to answer he yelled over me again. I ended up in tears. It is so damn frustrating and shocking, trying to talk to someone who is demanding answers but won't let you speak! (In fact, it sounded to me like he had a middle eastern accent, and I have noticed that middle eastern men in customer service jobs tend to have a problem dealing with American women. I can only guess it's the "subservience thing".)  Anyway, I tried yelling over him to stop yelling and let me answer; he yelled even louder; so I called him a vile name and I hung up.  I called back, hoping to get someone else, and guess what - same guy - 6 times in a row!  So I called Paypal.  The people there were VERY helpful and supportive. Here's something new I learned too, which you should be aware of: Paypal protection only applies to shipped items, not to services.  But I have been a longstanding customer with a pristine record, so they refunded the money to me anyway. I am sure the fact that I called within an hour of making the transaction helped, as well.

Sadly, I wasted my whole day looking into setting up an online classroom to teach art techniques. The only ones I am aware of use NING - and it functions so badly I have vowed I will never use it again (after the current class is done). PLEASE LEAVE ADVICE IN COMMENTS if you know of a good classroom platform that is free or cheap!  I was thinking I would use Moodle, but you have to get it through a site that hosts it, and that's where my day went awry.  Too bad I am on these meds. I seldom would say this (as my close friends and family will attest) but I could use a good stiff drink!

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