Automatic Renewals and Long-Term Electronic Contracts Pitfalls
FORT WORTH, TX, January 16, 2018 /24-7PressRelease/ — Businessperson Ron Sturgeon has a soft spot for all dogs. So much so that about three years ago he brought together a group of business owners, dog rescue advocates, veterinarians, dog fanciers, and dog breeders to try to make dog breeding better for the dogs.
The all-volunteer group eventually called itself The National Alliance for Dog Breeding Reform (NADBR) and created a professional web presence including a nationwide index of dog laws.
“We hired Green Technology Services and Gary Green to provide hosting for the site,” said Ron Sturgeon, Founder & Former Senior VP of NADBR. “We chose them because they had provided services to one of our officers, they believed in our cause, and they offered a discount of business hosting to us,” said the Fort Worth-based entrepreneur and business consultant.
“Eventually, we moved our site from Green Technology Services‘ server to mine after advising we no longer needed hosting,” said Sturgeon, who didn’t recall having any contract after almost 3 years.”
Green Technology Services produced an “electronically signed agreement” for hosting for one year with an auto-renewal clause creating annual bills of nearly $1200. “We had been a reliably good client and used very little customer service and paid on time, so I asked them if we could negotiate on the final quarterly bill since we hadn’t had a site hosted by them for 9 months,” said Sturgeon, who had no idea that there was a contract provision running in annual increments.
Sturgeon added, “This experience has convinced me that long-term auto-renewing hosting agreements are bad for any entity, but particularly bad for nonprofits.” He also advises shoppers for web hosting to make sure they print out that “electronic contract” and save it, if they do indeed sign it.
“Ultimately, I paid the bill because I don’t want anyone to say I didn’t keep my end of a bargain,” said Sturgeon, after Green quickly responded, insisting on payment. “I was, however, motivated to write a review that I hope will make Green Technology Services rethink the practice using agreements that auto renew if notice isn’t given in a set period,” said Sturgeon.
He is quick to add, as an entrepreneur, he understands that hosting companies have to make a profit and have policies that leave both parties satisfied that they have gotten fair value in the exchange.
He invited others to share their opinions with Green Technology Services by giving them feedback on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pceagleeye).
“I would like to see hosting with auto-renewals go away,” said Sturgeon, “Or, at a minimum, clients should be notified that their contract is about to renew.” And if an electronically signed contract is executed, the site should email it to the client at time of execution for later reference.
“Anyone shopping for business hosting should read the fine print and put a reminder out there in their calendar to let them know that they are in the notice period because not every hosting company will give them notice of the start of their 90 days or of the auto renewal,” he said.
“Better still, read the hosting agreement and pick a host that doesn’t do this sort of ‘you’re-renewed-unless-you-told-me-you’re-leaving-three-months-ago stuff,'” said Sturgeon. “If you own the IT or hosting business, make sure your policies serve your long-term customer satisfaction interests and make people want to do business with you,” he added.
About Mr. Mission Possible
Ron Sturgeon is an innovative business person with a 35-year career that includes founding and selling several businesses to Fortune 500 companies. Through Mr. Mission Possible, he consults for small business clients on a variety of issues from venture formation to succession planning. He is a frequent speaker to trade associations and industry groups on topics related to entrepreneurship and business success. Learn more about his consulting at http://www.mrmissionpossible.com or by calling (817) 834-3625, x232.
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