Why the CEO of HostMetro took personal revenge on me
Host Metro is a web hosting company. They have good prices and a fun logo. I have now reached the end of the positive aspects of the company.
This article is about why the CEO of the company choose to personally and intentionally screw me over. During this experience I had about 25 different conversations with HostMetro employees and spent about 7 hours trying to resolve my issue. This article is a warning to others considering using the company.
I used HostMetro to host multiple websites. About three weeks ago I received an e-mail from a person trying to access one of my websites informing me that it was down. I FTP’d into my account and found out all my files had been deleted, not just for that site but for many other websites I host with the company. The last time I had tried to access my account on hostmetro.com or accessed my account though FTP was a month before the files were deleted. So there was no way I deleted these files.
I had a previous experience with Host Metro that was extremely similar to this experience. At that time they were able to send me log files that showed every time I did anything on my account. So I knew the company had logs that proved I had not tried to access my account during the time period that my files were deleted.
Also, from my previous experience, I knew that they kept back-ups of files but charge $39.99 to restore the back-ups.
Since they had proof that I did not delete the files, I believed the fair thing for the company to do was to waive the fee and restore my files. The company disagreed. They wanted me to pay. Besides e-mailing, I also called the company a few times and got a message that their phone system was under construction and that I should call back later. I started to suspect a scam.
After going back and forth with the company about this issue, I realized they were not going to help me in a fair and reasonable way. At that point I decided to leave a negative review on a website about what I was experiencing.
I had previously asked for a manager to contact me but that never happened. Soon after I left the review, however, I got a message from a manager named Tim A. He said he was just about to restore my files but decided not to after learning about the review.
He said they wished I had tried to receive help on the issue directly from their staff instead of leaving the review of my experiences. However, the only reason I left the negative review was because I tried to get help from the staff and they would not help.
At this point they stopped responding to me for seven days. Three times I called in (finally not getting the ‘under construction’ message) and was told I would be contacted that day about the situation. All three times, nobody contacted me. The same thing also happened multiple times through their support chat service.
I completely gave up and decided I would just pay the fee. But then I still could not get anybody to respond to me to help me pay the fee to get my files back. For about two weeks I tried unsuccessfully to pay the fee and get my files restored, a service they say they offer on their website.
Eventually, eight days after the aforementioned e-mail from Tim A, I was able to talk to him on the phone. I called and this time he was actually there!
He informed me that he was about to restore my files but the CEO of Host Metro personally told him not to restore the files. According to Tim, the CEO saw my [truthful to the best of my knowledge] review and ‘took it personally’. The CEO also did not like the [truthful] negative tweets I made about the company. Tim informed me that now the CEO was going to make it worse for me: he was not going to let me get my files back at all, even if I paid.
After six more days of waiting for a response from my previous support ticket, while making regular attempts to contact the company, I got an e-mail from a manager named Mark O’Donnel informing me:
We will not sell you any backup. You are no longer our customer and we will no longer do any business with you.
Later Mark O’Donnel said in another message (apparently prompted by the negative review I left about the company):
Our attorney will be receiving all transcript of this and we will be looking into a defamation lawsuit.
I do not believe that anybody at HostMetro intentionally deleted my files. I also do not believe that they were intentionally trying to scam me. It may have been an issue with their server. However, I believe that they dealt with the situation horribly and that they treated me unfairly and unethically.
According to their terms, they do not give refunds. However, after canceling my account, the company refunded me my unused balance while also reiterating that I would never get my files back. Interestingly, the refund was more than the cost to restore my files. I appreciated the gesture, though it seems odd to refund my money instead of just fixing the problem. Their business practices make no sense to me and seem to be based on anger and incompetence.
So the moral of this story is to always back up your own files.
I’d love it if you could ‘like’ and share this article. I want as many people as possible to know about my experiences with this company.