APlus.net – Don’t buy your domain from them!

I generally don’t recommend or (as in this case) tell people to avoid a particular vendor. Generally, my comments are kept to tutorials and simple to complex configurations, or stories about my failures so that others might learn from me.In this case, I pretty much want to rip APlus.net a new one!

So here’s the story.

A year ago, I wanted to register utos.org as a domain which is currently used for Utah Open Source and its non-profit website. Anyway, I couldn’t find my current registrar Total Online Solutions interweb address anywhere and I needed to register this site. I’d just had the epiphany about how to help Open Source grow in Utah.

Problem was, I needed to register it now, so I hastily went down the list of possible registrars and didn’t want to go with the big guys, GoDaddy.com or NetworkSolutions, etc. After perusing the list for a short time, I came upon APlus.net. I’d heard of them before, and had thought that they might be a good fit, and of course, the price was right. So I signed up for the account and registered my domain, along with an alternate I ended up not using.

This is where my trouble began…

One week or so after I registered the site all was well. The dns was resolving and everything was working well. It could have been faster, but I wasn’t in the biggest of hurries to be honest. APlus.net did a fine job letting me delegate my domain. A few days later, I received a phone call:

“Hello”, I said.
“Hello, Mr. Savage?”, in broken English, “I am calling from APlus.net”.
“Yes?”
“Well Mr. Savage, I am calling to check with you on your new domain purchases and want to make sure everything is to your satisfaction”
“Yes”, I said, a bit annoyed, “its fine”.

At this point I obviously wondered why I’d answered the phone, but since I thought they might give me a free year of registration or something, I stayed on the line.

“That’s great to hear Mr. Savage, is there anything we here at APlus.net can do for you?”
“No, I’m fine. Things are working well”
“Thank you Mr. Savage, have a nice day then”
“Goodbye”

I thought it odd, who’s ever heard of a salesman calling about a domain registration? I mean, how hard is it to delegate your domain and familiarize yourself with their tools. Everything was pretty straightforward. I brushed it off as no big deal, thinking that was just part of their service.

Two weeks later, I received a similar phone call. I won’t repeat it to you. I kindly thanked them and asked how many calls I was going to get. The man didn’t know.

A month went by before the next call came. Like I said, who calls to see if you are satisfied with your domain? I mean really? I was annoyed and asked the gentleman to have his office make sure not to call me again unless there was an emergency. He said he would and indeed, I’ve not received another call since.

But this is not why I am recommending you avoid APlus.net

My real problems started May 15, 2007. The day after I got the notice to renew my domain.

You see, I’d rediscovered my original registrar several months ago and had decided that I wanted all of my domains under one roof. So I set out to transfer it to TOSDomains.net. This is where the trouble started.

As it turns out, and many of you probably know, an EPP key is required to transfer a domain from one registrar to another. And so I contacted APlus.net to obtain this (what I thought would be randomized from previous experiences) EPP key. I was happily given an EPP key that was in fact, not random, but generated and based upon my password. I asked the gentleman about this and he said they regularly generate EPP keys this way. I took the code and proceeded to begin the transfer over to TOSDomains.

Three days later, I recieved an email stating that my transfer had failed due to an invalid EPP key. Knowing that the original EPP key looked fishy, I contacted TOSDomains to ask them about this and to have them re-initiate the transfer. They confirmed what I had thought about the EPP key, that its usually a bunch of random characters and not usually something so easily identifiable. But I went ahead and retried the transfer anyway.

Another failure. Surprise, surprise! At this point, I have approximately 15 days left on my domain registration. I’m betting at this point (if you’ve read this far) that you know what’s about to happen.

Sure enough, I contact APlus.net and am told that the EPP key I was given is indeed incorrect and they will generate me another one. After waiting about 5 minutes for the newly generated EPP key (which should take about 5 seconds), it was literally one keystroke different from my previous EPP key. Again, when I asked why it wasn’t random they stated that this is how they generate the EPP keys.

At this point, I am working on a support ticket over at TOSDomains, where I ask the folks there to resubmit my transfer request with this new EPP key. 5 days pass. I get a failure email. No surprise really.

I try one more time and then I give up, figuring that there’s nothing I can do. Then the real fun starts.

Last week, I started getting emails saying that I need to renew and they don’t have my credit card. So I call them again, mind you, I’ve already tried to transfer this domain 5 times at this point. I really just want it to work and feel that I shouldn’t have to renew my domain.

“Hi, I am a bit confused. I tried 5 times over the past month to transfer my domain to another registrar without success. Now I am getting notices in my email telling me its going to expire. I’d like to transfer it, but no matter what I try it fails. What can you do to help me?”

“Sir, I can regenerate the EPP key for you. The EPP key should let you transfer your domain.”

“Yes, I know all about this EPP key. Your going to provide me with a key that’s close to my password and its going to fail. I’d like to get this transfer done but its unlikely it will happen before my domain expires. I’d like you to extend my registration period so that I can transfer my domain.”

“Sir, the only thing you can do to extend your registration period is renew your domain. You’re domain is expired and on hold. I can’t take it off hold.”

This is where I start to get really upset!

I proceed to tell this man what I’ve tried, how its failed. He tells me again that he has no authority to authorize that charge. Of course he doesn’t its a whopping $8 charge. I continue down the path with him, informing him that I don’t see how I should have to renew my account just to transfer it when I’ve been trying for over a month to do just that.

I, of course repeat this to his manager, who also can do nothing for me. Boy I feel like a broken record explaining myself over and over. At one point I ask them why they even bother keeping records when people call in because they don’t ever read them. I get frustrated, mad, tired, defeated, angry and upset all at once. The guy relents and tells me its okay to try the transfer again…and of course, proceeds to give me the same EPP key for the 4th time!!!

Ah well, maybe they’ve fixed their system. So I contact TOSDomains and ask them to clear out my transfer so I can start from scratch. I get a response the following day stating that its been done. In the meantime, however, my domain has been shut off. No one can get to it now. Great!!

I’ve received two emails in the same timeframe stating that my credit card on file isn’t valid (because there isn’t one on file) and that the domain will be released in the next 5 days. Idle threats I am sure, but only if I can get this damned domain transfered. So last night, at 1am EDT, I make my last call to APlus.net

I won’t go into all of the details here. Suffice it to say, I did end up having to pay $8.17 to renew my domain so that it wouldn’t stay offline. I again talked with two different people who claimed they wanted to help me. I again received the same EPP key I’ve been given the past 5 times. And I spent a good 40 minutes on the phone trying to explain to people who barely speak English how I am not responsible for the domain transfer failing.

I’ve started the transfer over again. Who know’s what will happen this time. But there’s one thing I do know. And that is….

I’M NEVER DOING BUSINESS WITH APLUS.NET EVER AGAIN.

AND I’M GOING TO TELL ALL MY FRIENDS TO AVOID THEM AS WELL.

Maybe they’ll get someone else’s business, but they’re not getting mine or my friends if I have anything to say.

Cheers,

Herlo

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7 Responses to APlus.net – Don’t buy your domain from them!

  1. Yep, kinda reminiscent of the late night call to Dan-Pentium-Bug about the processor bug. I am in the middle of exactly just exactly the same exact scenario, except for the ( ugh )

    I hired another rack i found in my discussion group – looked to be more secure and informed. Started trying Friday night and dogged it off after a few hours because fa8298b8 ampersand gmail dot com was inserting cc-to’s in the headers without me asking it to. Told everybody and went home and slept.

    Saturday I work all day and nothing comes in – the domain name management software at what appears to be a commercial-grade hardware site comes back with errors and I ( out of time and having pumped adrenaline for about a day with only some code to show for it ) put up the following at the kayo help desk with high priority:

    ——————————-
    I have a ticket open which the accouting department has replied to – tagged at low priority.

    Twice I have tried to manage the domain name belvcomp.com and move it over to hostforweb because of inability of the other supplier to do it’s job.

    Friday, I started working on this and it all got fouled up – so I left it alone until Sat. As of Sun mid-day no one had replied on either end so I sent some emails and got asked by the other end something along the lines of here’s your auth code: EPP key: *************** and you are on your own. Cease communications.

    The transfer failed:

    Errors occurred while processing your request. Please make the following corrections and resubmit..

    This is an unsupported top level domain (TLD) for this process.
    There are no valid entries in the Domains field.

    So now I got my canoe cross-ways in the creek and am out of time – I need damage-control.
    ——————————

    sensibility of domain names do not mean a great deal to me, I would rather use a random string, but when someone who is supposed to know what they are doing tells me to screw it to the wall and the new rack will not take the transfer authorization code, it just makes for a situation that leaves one wondering if the prior method was equally valid.

  2. Andrea Dickson says:

    I’m in the midst of trying to transfer domains from Aplus – they keep sending me the same stupid email over and over, with incorrect information (“Just change your domain passwords, and use the password as your transfer code”). They eventually get around to giving me a false EPP key. It’s been going on for DAYS.

  3. Andy Miner says:

    I would disagree with the original post on the transferring of domains from Aplus.net

    I had a couple spare (misspelled)version of my main domain registered for a couple years with Aplus.net, and yes the sales calls did get annoying, but they did ok for holding my domains. When I finally got my act in gear last week to transfer the extra domain names to my “regular” provider, all I had to do was log in, change my domain password (their name for AUTHIFO) and then submit that along with the confirmation number to my normal host. Within a few hours the request was submitted to ICANN and 3-5 days latter the transfer had been completed. The entire process was quite painless. Just make sure you start the transfer AT LEAST 10 days prior to domain transfer freeze that occurs in the 30 days prior to domain renewal/expiration.

  4. David Cohen says:

    I am going through the exact same issue as Herlo. These guys at Aplus.net must be taught that they cannot hold our domains and other property as hostage.

    When I first signed up with Aplus last year, I signed up for a 2 year Windows SQL plan, which I was advised was a special price from an online representative. When I signed up a week later, the prices were all changed. I complained and was told that the package had changed, but they couldnt honor the rate they quoted me. So I decided that the xfer was already made, and other items were setup for this new hosting company that I decided to leave it there for 1 year. Well that one year was up a month ago, and they have autorenewed my package, against my request not to do so.

    So here we are today, and I am 1 month into this autorenewed billing, and have failed 5 times with the EPP key to get the domain transferred. First they generate one and tell me to wait 30 minutes before trying it…then they tell me to wait 60 minutes on the next one…this last one they told me to wait 24 hours to try it. What utter bull.

    I think its time someone informed Aplus that what they are doing is lying, being dishonest, not doing business fairly. I wonder how VISA and Mastercard like doing business with companies like this…hmm…

  5. Luis says:

    I had the same experience with them. I bought a domain name from them but had multiple domain names somewhere else. I tried to consolidate by moving the domain to be with all the rest. Transferring from aplus.net failed a couple of times when I tried. They claim the EPP is the same as the password that you set but it does not seem to work when transferring. I’ve transferred domains from other companies before without a problem but aplus.net seems to want to hold on to their customers.

  6. Logan says:

    Wow its good to see this is not just happening to me.

    Luckily i got two my domains transferred which were never being hosted and they were about to expire.

    Now i’ve been trying for two weeks and getting all the stories you have been getting. I think ICANN needs to get involved.

  7. nomad says:

    Aplus sucks really bad, stay a way from them if you know whats good for. They will tear you apart $1 by $1, over charge, poor customer service, very messed up control panel. Never again.

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