The GoDaddy certificate rip-off

In March we purchased a package from GoDaddy. The purchase package looked in part like the following:

QTY ITEM                                            PRICE
1   .COM Domain Name Transfer - 1 Year              $2.24
24  Premium Hosting w/ PHP / PERL- v2               $287.04
1   Turbo SSL (2 Years)                             $0.00

Getting the included certificate was a large part of the incentive for choosing this package and vendor (GoDaddy), but we didn't get around to using it right away. Today, after a bunch of much-needed server maintenance we were ready to set up and use the cert. I went to our account info to find that GoDaddy claimed we had no credit for an SSL certificate. Figuring it was a simple error I cheerfully called customer support.

I was surprised to be told me that since we had not used the certificate for 60 days, we could not have it. I asked why and thee gentleman on the phone went on about how we didn't pay for the certificate, anyway. I scoured our purchase receipt and did a few likely text searches on the huge GoDaddy customer agreements and I found no notification of the 60 day forfeiture. I pointed this out to him at which point he became defensive, saying it had to be in the documentation somewhere and at any rate there was nothing he could do to help me. He kept telling me that we had not paid for the certificate anyway. I told him that even though the invoice shows a $0 line-item for it, it was part of a package deal, and so in paying for the whole package we had paid for the certificate. He kept repeating, as if a mantra to make me go away, that we hadn't paid for the certificate. I explained that I could understand if we were now given a certificate that expired March 2008, and thus forfeited the unused portion of the two-year duration, but he insisted there was nothing that could be done. I asked to speak to someone who might be a bit better authorized to deal with the situation, and he was very reluctant until he finally passed me to his "floor supervisor".

This gentleman told me that since I had not used it for 60 days, the certificate counted as an "unused product". He said that he couldn't restore it to our account because it was "free" and so there was no money to refund and re-purchase. I asked him whether he was willing to restore the cert form a customer service point of view, but he was facing a system limitation because of the $0 line-item. In short I was kinda giving him a way out. I would have been at least a little mollified if they were technically hamstrung rather than obstinate about playing "GOTCHA! 60-day forfeiture", along the lines of a particularly rough game of Calvinball. Strangely he refused to really admit it as such. He kept insisting that the problem was that we had "never paid for a certificate". I imagine they're trained to never admit any sort of fault. I only have so much time in the day so I left off the matter at that point.

I guess my main point is to be careful when dealing with about undisclosed limitations on their offerings. I think the 60 day "unused product" limitation is a poor policy in the first place, but I'd understand better if it had at least been disclosed. As far as I can tell, it had not been.

I'll go ahead and purchase a certificate form another vendor. I shall not do any business in future with I'm sure other vendors will be more costly, but honestly, a few extra bucks per domain-year is well worth the principle.

I hope this note saves anyone else such a surprise.

[Uche Ogbuji]

via Copia