Escrow.com, the Escrow Service from Hell
Consider this a case study of what your company should not be. How not to handle feedback from customers. And, perhaps, how to know when your company should be shut down for the greater good.
Please ignore grammar/spelling, written in blinding fury.
Ok, here goes a little story.
I was attempting to buy a domain and we decided to use their “concierge” service, here is a timeline of events:
7/28 — Transaction created.
7/29 — They inform me they have received my wire.
8/1 — They ask if it just the domain or the website also. We answer. They ask me information about the registrar I use. I answer.
8/3 — I email them asking about the status of the transaction and what we were waiting for. No answer.
8/4 — As I got no response, I email them again asking the same question. No answer.
8/5 — I call them. I tried to confirm that they are actually receiving my emails, because I’m getting no answers. The guy tells me they currently have more requests then usual and some cases seem to have fallen trough the cracks, but he reassures me they will take a look at our case.
8/6 — Receive emails:
“Dear Seller, Please forward the email from Godaddy containing the transfer codes needed to initiate the domain name transfer to our account.”
“Dear Buyer, We are still awaiting the transfer codes that were sent to your Sellers by GoDaddy to be forwarded back to us so we can initiate the domain name transfer at this time.”
Seller asks to which email should he forward the email?
8/7 — I ask them to answer the seller.
8/8 — The seller informs them he still has not received any emails from Godaddy and asks how long should he wait.
I call them again. I tell her I’m unhappy with how long it is taking for them to respond to emails, she informs me they don’t work on the weekends and that they promptly answer all emails. I tell her they need to answer the seller’s questions and figure out why he is not getting the emails from Godaddy. She claims they are working with the seller, even though the seller is informing me he has not received any additional instructions from them.
At this point I’m noticeably frustrated and ask to speak with her manager, she at first says their is no manager, then says the manager is in Manilla, and then inexplicably puts me on hold. I remain on hold for a few minutes and then hang up and call back. I try to explain my frustrations to the next person, but don’t get any further. I hang up in frustration.
8/9 — I call again. They say they are working with the seller and can’t deal with me until then. Again, I’m frustrated with the lack of actual support. The answers amount to just restating the fact that they have sent the codes.
The seller forwards me an email they sent to him after my phone call, they answer his question from 8/6 about where to forward the email and resend the codes again, asking him to check his spam folder.
8/10 — Seller sends email to concierge:
“Hi Concierge, Thank you for your reply. I haven’t received an email from GoDaddy. I ve also checked the last days my spam inbox and there is nothing in. Can you please contact GoDaddy? This is already a week that we are waiting.”
8/11 — I tweet to them and their CEO:
8/12 — Seller sends another email to concierge:
“Concierge? Are you still alive? Why does it takes so much time?”
Finally get a response, still not addressing the issue:
“As per our previous email from 8/8/2016 that you were cc’ed to, we are waiting for your Seller to send us the Godaddy transfer codes so we can initiate the domain name transfer to our account.”
Then their manager, Brian Tharp, emails both me and the seller reiterating exactly the same thing:
“Dear Seller, Please follow up with the Godaddy transfer codes so we can initiate the domain name transfer to our registrar. If we do not receive these codes, we cannot initiate the domain name transfer.”
The seller responds:
“That s the all problem. GoDaddy has not sent any code.
You have to ask GoDaddy to initiate the procedure. Am I right?”
The manager responds and resends the codes:
“We requested the transfer last week and have never received the forwarded email that Godaddy has sent you. We just had Godaddy resend you the emails.”
A lot of activity and quick responses that day. I guess, the tweet worked.
8/17 — The seller informs me he has still not received the codes and that he has informed them. I tell him it is better if he calls them as they always tell me they have to deal with him first.
8/18 — Get an email informing us that they are resending the codes.
8/23 — I email concierge again:
“Concierge, Why has <seller> still not received these security codes? Someone in your department needs to get on this, we are a month into this transaction and we cannot get past the first step. It is ridiculous.”
I call them to try figure out why the codes are not arriving. The first person just tries to get rid of me as usual, telling me they are working with the seller and can’t deal with me until then. I tell them we are waiting for a month and we are not getting any support and that I need to talk to someone that can get this resolved. They tell me they will get someone from the “concierge” team to talk to me, who knows who I was talking to before.
For what it is worth, the woman who they transfer me to after all this was relatively helpful. She states to me the reason the seller might not get the emails are if the domain is private or if there is an ICANN block ( Google the seller’s registrar does not support ICANN blocking for .io domains ). I guess that by “private” she means that the domain is registered by proxy and then I realize that they are sending the transfer codes to the WhoIS registered email — I had have never transferred a domain so I had no idea where they were sending the transfer code emails. I do a quick WhoIS lookup and the domain is registered by proxy. So after close to 4 weeks into the transaction and their “concierge” service repeatedly resending the code, I find out they are sending to the proxy email.
I inform the seller and he immediately changes registration information. The seller informs the concierge that the the WhoIS registration is now public and that they should resend the codes.
8/24 — Email from concierge:
“We have already re-sent the transfer ID’s. Can you please check if you have received these from GoDaddy in the email address that you registered for this domain name?”
I respond asking them to resend them again, because by saying “already resent” it seems to imply they resent the codes before he informed them the WhoIS data was set to public.
8/27 — Concierge responds:
“I have check both our concierge and support inbox, and we have not got the additional codes.
Could you please check again and confirm? If you still have not received it from Godaddy, we can trigger another email request from Godaddy.”
Seller is on vacation for a few days but attempts to reply back to them informing them that he has not received the codes, gets a delivery error. I attempt to send them an email and get the same thing:
“Some recipients of firstname.lastname@example.org might not receive your message. We will attempt to deliver your message to the following recipients, but they failed to receive some other recent messages.
Below is a sample of recent errors we received when trying to mail these recipients (these are not errors from your message.)
co…….@legacy.migration.escrow.com: The recipient server did not accept our requests to connect. Learn more at https://support.google.com/mail/answer/7720
[legacy.migration.escrow.com 22.214.171.124: socket error]”
8/29 — Seller informs me he still has not received a response and is planning to call them when he gets back from vacation.
8/30 — I call them again. I inform them we are getting delivery errors when sending emails. The woman says that they are getting emails so that can’t be right. This was a common and frustrating theme while dealing with their support staff and their manager, Brian Tharp, you tell them something is wrong and they just deny it. She tells me they have received our emails. Already frustrated that even though they got our emails they again have not responded in days, I asked her to confirm if they resend the codes after he set the WhoIS to public and she confirms that they sent codes twice after his confirmation.
Now, I tell her that they need to look into this, possibly contact Godaddy and see if they have some records of these request emails and some records on why they are failing. She reiterates that they sent the codes and the seller needs to talk to the registrar to make sure that the domain isn’t locked. I tell her that we have done those things, everything should work and that they need to look into it from their end. This doesn’t get anywhere. At my absolute wits end at their unwillingness to actually look into the issue, I tell her to cancel the transaction and “shut down the company” and hang up.
8/31 — Brian Tharp, the manager, emails us in an attempt to address our frustrations. He mentions the number of times they have emailed us and the number of times they have talked to us and again informs us that they need the codes to proceed with the transaction. What follows is a chain of emails where Brian defends the service they provided by stating that he has “reviewed the [email] logs” and that he even listened in to some of the calls but had to leave because of “profanities towards our reps”. It’s clear where the other reps get their defensive, dismissive style.
They have now initiated a transfer to return my funds and graciously have waived their fee for the A1 torture and time wasting that they provided in abundance.
In conclusion, I don’t recommend them.
9/3 — Just received my funds back. The reversed wire arrived $68.25 short of the original escrowed amount. Counting the $25 outgoing wire fee, the transaction that achieved nothing other than waste over a month of my time cost me $93.25.