Do not use Network Solutions for Domain Registration – They Suck

This is an open letter/post to all of those who are thinking to use Network Solutions to purchase their domain name(s). Its also an open letter to the Network Solutions Managers, Owners, Shareholder etc highlighting the absolute failings and poor customer service I have received from Network Solutions.

Before I start, let me say without a doubt, that Network Solutions SUCK. I have spoken to their customer care representatives and spoken to their managers and the service on a business level simply, sucks. I will never ever use or recommend Network Solutions again and will do whatever I can to put off people using Network Solutions. If I ever win the euromillions lottery jackpot I will allocate a few million of it to take down Network Solutions or put such a dent in the PR that they will have a really hard time.

To begin, I have recently been asked by a client to consolidate all their 400+ domains names into their godaddy account (also not the best registrar but thats a another story) as they have been using various registrars over time to register different domains and they are finding it hard to keep up, so having all their domains in one place allows them to work more efficiently to manage their domain names.

The client gave me the Network Solutions login credentials to initiate the transfer from Network Solutions over to Godaddy, so I logged in, and performed my usual tasks when transferring a domain name.

1. Changed the registrant and contact details and contact email for the domain name to mine so that I would receive the EPP transfer request.
2. Unlocked the domain name from within Network Solutions control panel.

I have done the above thousands of times throughout my domain management career.

Within 30 minutes I received this automated email saying that the admin contact had been changed.

ns-change-of-admin

So to ensure that my details were in fact registered as the admin, I did a whois check on the Network Solutions web site and confirmed my details were updated and subsequently requested the EPP code.

I waited 24 hours for the EPP transfer code from Network Solutions. It never arrived. I checked my spam folder on the server, I checked the spam/junk folder on my computer, the email from Network Solutions was nowhere to be found.

So to be sure, I whitelisted networksolutions.com on my server spam filters and requested the EPP transfer code again.

Same thing. It never arrives. Usually this type of thing arrives within minutes, maybe a few hours, as its usually on an automated system.

By now, 4 days have passed so I realised that perhaps I should raise a support ticket with Network Solutions and ask them whats going on. So I proceeded to raise a support ticket inside the Network Solutions control panel on 20/8/2013 to received a replay a few hours later saying:

Dear Craig Edmonds, I apologize for the delayed response. Based on your inquiry regarding the domain {DOMAIN}.COM, please be informed that only the Primary Contact in the account can request for domain transfers. In order to properly assist you, we need to first authenticate the Primary Contact?s account access as you have submitted this request as a non-listed contact. Since this information is sensitive, please inform the Primary Contact to call our Customer Service Department at 1-888-642-9675 for immediate assistance.

If you believe there is an error, please refer to the records in our WHOIS database to view the Account Holder information for this domain name registration: http://www.networksolutions.com/en_US/whois/index.jhtml. I hope this has resolved your issue. If you have any other questions about this issue, please contact our Support Center and refer to Service Request # 1-692334072.

A Specialist will be happy to further assist you and ensure that we completely resolve your issue as quickly as possible. Thank you, BENJAMIN045 Technical Support Specialist Network Solutions US/Canada: 1.866.391.4357 International: 1.570.708.8788 (c) Copyright 2013 Network Solutions, LLC. All rights reserved.

Their response is saying that only the “Primary Contact” in the account can make the request. For those who dont know, domains names have several contact types: 1. Registrant Contact 2. Administrative Contact 3. Technical Contact 4. Billing Contact.

I was listed as the Registrant contact and the Administrative contact so was not 100% clear on what “Primary Contact” meant because when transferring domains, its usually the “Administrative Contact” that is the primary contact for a domain and thats where the EPP transfer code goes. However it seems this is not the case with Network Solutions, they seem to have their own rules.

So I called up Network Solutions from Spain to the US number they provided in their response in order to clarify what “Primary Contact” meant. After 15 minutes it was explained to me that the “Primary Contact” is the name and company details on the Network Solutions account, not the domain name and in order for me to receive the details, I would need to EITHER:

1. change the details of the “Primary Contact” on the Network Solutions account to mine and then request the code again
2. send in a signed statement on corporate letterhead and a photo id of the named contact on the “Primary Contact” details

Only then could I request the EPP Code, so I went with item 1 and items 2 would require me to make several phone calls and emails adding more time to the already prolonged process.

After visually confirm that my details were now in place on the “Primary Contact” within the Network Solutions control panel, I proceeded to request the EPP transfer code again which arrived after a few hours.

WOOOOHOOO! Progress!

ns-auth-code

I was glad that it was so smooth so proceeded to login to my clients Godaddy account and initiate the transfer. I received confirmation from Godaddy that the transfer for the domain had started and that I would need to wait for the request to be approved by Network Solutions.

However, and this is where the real problems start, around 72 hours after initiating the transfer request, Godaddy sends me an email telling me that Network Solutions has denied the transfer request and that the process is now cancelled. As the registrant and administrative contact, I never received any confirmation or authorisation request from Network Solutions asking my permission to transfer the domain, Network Solutions simply denied the request and terminated the transfer process.

ns-godaddy

So all the work I have done so far has been for nothing. So I thought perhaps it was a mistake so initiated the transfer request again with Godaddy, double checked inside the Network Solutions control panel that the domain name was indeed unlocked and I was indeed listed as the registrant and administrative contact (just in case I missed it). I also did a whois check again to make sure.

Lo and behold, 72 hours later the domain transfer was denied again. At this point I am starting to get a bit annoyed so contact Network Solutions again via an expensive international phone call and am told that when someone logs into the Network Solutions control panel and updates the who is contact email address, the domain name is automatically locked. This lock is not the normal transfer lock as the domain actually appears in the control panel as being unlocked,. No, this is an internal lock put in by Network Solutions to prevent outgoing transfers.

I was then informed that I would be updated by ticket and a few minutes later I received the following.

Thank you for contacting Network Solutions Quality Processing Department. We are committed to creating the best customer experience possible.

We have received your request to remove the Transfer Lock on your domain name(s). In order to remove the lock we must first validate you as the rightful contact on the account.

· Since your name is registered to an organization please supply a signed statement requesting the lock be removed from the applicable domain names. Print the request on Company Letterhead, or provide a Business License, Company by Laws, or trademark papers. Please also include a photo copy of your state issued ID or Passport. The signature on your ID should match the signature on the request.

Please fax this information to 570-708-0171. Upon receipt, validation will occur and the lock will be removed within 24 hours.

Do not reply directly to this e-mail, if you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Service Department. For your convenience, we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 1-888-642-9675. If you are calling from outside the U.S. or Canada, please call 1-570-708-8788.

I called them back and explained that its a ridiculous request as the details they are asking for can easily be forged therefore negating any credible request, however I was told that is their policy and the only way to get it removed would be to send in the documents they are requesting.

So I succumb to their request and decide it probably best just to comply, make the effort to raise the documents, find a fax machine and send them the details to Network Solutions and then move on.

So I proceed to create the letterhead, write the fax with the request, take my passport and proceed to the nearest copy centre to get a copy of my passport and send the fax and passport copy (as I do not have a fax machine as its 2013 and there is a thing called email which I use on a daily basis).

The guy in the copy centre tells me that the number receiving the fax is not working. So I ask him to try and again, same issue. I ask him to try a third time thinking “third time lucky” and still the fax would not send. The guy in the copy centre explains that maybe I should try later, so I return back home.

A few hours later I go to a different copy centre and ask them to send the fax. Same thing. Fax number is not working. So again I ask the lady there to try and try again. Same result.

I live in Marbella, Spain and its the month of August which is high summer here and its sweltering. Sweat is pouring off me, I am annoyed, hot and bothered as I am not able to send the fax to Network Solutions, so return home again to give Network Solutions a call to ask them for another number or email address I can send to.

So, once again, I make an expensive international call to Network Solutions to speak to someone who I explain the situation to and if he could kindly give me another number so I can send the documents, only to be told that its not his department and that I need to phone another number. 10 minutes of my life I cannot get back.

So I call the number 001-877-307-1435 and speak to a Network Solution “Customer Call Specialist” called “Aaron” and explain the situation again and he puts me on hold for a bit, comes back and explains what I already know and I explain again that I cant send the fax, so he says the magical words to me “No problems, we can do it over the phone, I just need to verify your security questions in the accounts”.

I am like…”errr what security questions?” I told him this is my clients account and do not know where the questions are. Aaron says more magical words “No problems, what I can do is verify you by calling you on the number listed in the Primary account contact details”. This would work as my number is listed, so one call, and Aaron was going to get the lock removed. BRILLIANT!!

So whilst I was waiting for his call I looked inside the Network Solutions control panel for security questions. I did actually have to do a google search “where are the security questions inside network solutions control panel”…and finally found them and changed them to ones that I know.

Unfortunately though, I had my damn iphone on “do not disturb” mode, so did not hear the phone when Aaron called so a few minutes later i picked up my phone and noticed some missed calls. I was like “FFF************CCCCCKKKKK”.

So another call to Network Solutions and luckily I got straight through to Aaron and i explained that my phone was on silent however I can answer the security questions but he said “Its okay we will do the phone verification again”. So I hung up and waited for his call and received the call no problems and he told me that “I have manually verified you now so within the next 48 hours the lock on the domain name will be removed”.

We discussed the EPP code again and he said it will be resent and I asked Aaron if I would receive a notification that the the lock would be removed, so that I can then initiate a transfer at Godaddy again. He confirmed that I would. I thanked him thinking that, that was that.

30 minutes after speaking to Aaron, I receive the following email:

Thank you for contacting Network Solutions Quality Processing Department. We are committed to creating the best customer experience possible.

We have received your request to remove the Transfer Lock on your domain name(s). In order to remove the lock we must first validate you as the rightful contact on the account.

· Since your name is registered under an individual account please supply a signed statement requesting the lock be removed from the applicable domain names along with a photo copy of state issued ID or Passport. The signature on your ID should match the signature on the request.

Please fax this information to 570-708-0171. Upon receipt, validation will occur and the lock will be removed within 24 hours.

Do not reply directly to this e-mail, if you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Service Department. For your convenience, we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 1-888-642-9675. If you are calling from outside the U.S. or Canada, please call 1-570-708-8788.

Sincerely,

Lori G.
Quality Processing Specialist
Network Solutions
registrar@networksolutions.com

You HAVE to be kidding me right? I just spoke at length with someone at Network Solutions about this and was told the domain would be unlocked, in addition the account is regsitred to my company NOT an individual….so I simply put it down to a system error on their end and awaited the email confirmation that Aaron promised me.

Thats was 27th of August, its the 31st of August today. More than 48 hours.

So I create yet another a ticket (because you cant reopen closed tickets) inside the Network Solutions Control Panel explaining the situation AGAIN and feel that it would also be better to also back it up with a phone call, so make yet another call to Network Solutions and speak to “Fershell” and explain the situation, only to be told that I need to fax the documents. I did explain that the fax number they are giving me does not work,s o after a few minutes of being on hold she tells me that I can fax the documents to hosting@networksolutions.com.

Errr..in order to email these documents, I would need to scan them right? I dont have a scanner. Fershall explains that I can only either send them by fax or email, there is absolutely no other way, so fortunately, being the owner of an smartphone I had a bright idea to take a picture of the documents with my iphone, email the pictures to myself, download them and then include them in an email to Network Solutions.

So thats what I did and called Network Solutions again and managed to get through to Fershell. He asked for a contact number and he would call me as soon as he finds the documents I had mailed.

So within about 2 hours I get a call from him saying that he has received the documents. So I say “great, so the domain name will be unlocked within 24/48 hours?”.

Fershell tells me “no, sorry, its a holiday on monday next week so the earliest it can be done is tuesday”.

So I waited three days and received the notification from Network Solutions that the domain had been “unlocked”. I then proceeded with the transfer as normal and my client now has it in their account.

So what should have taken only a few minutes, took DAYS to sort out as well as time wasted with me trying to send faxes, send emails and costly international calls to their support team.

I will never, ever use or recommend Network Solutions to anyone.