Blacknight suspends site against explicit instructions

I’m furious. A client’s domain was suspended by Blacknight despite my explicit instructions to the contrary on Friday.

I received a call from Blacknight on Friday saying the site was due to be suspended. I told the Blacknight representative that the domain had been transferred out of my control in July and that I needed to contact the site owner to clarify the situation. I then specifically instructed her not to suspend the site until I could clarify the situation.

On Saturday afternoon the site’s owner contacts me to say the site is offline. AAAAAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What’s worse is because the site was suspended on a Friday, it can’t now be re-instated until Monday afaik.

24 thoughts on “Blacknight suspends site against explicit instructions”

  1. If it was the domain name to be suspended and not the hosting then it wouldn’t be under Blacknight’s control – it would be the IEDR.

    To be fair, the standard suspension process is to send email notifications … and if they are not responded to then the domain would be suspended.

  2. Tom

    Michele isn’t on holidays is he? Seriously though – maybe it would have been a good idea to find out from Blacknight what happened before blogging about it? You’ve got a big readership and maybe that brings with it some responsibilities – like getting both sides of the story before publishing?

    Disclaimer: I’m a happy Blacknight customer – their customer service isn’t perfect but generally they’ve been very good.

    des

  3. Ed, that’s true. My quibbles are twofold – one, no emails were received by me to warn me that the site was due to be suspended and two all this occurred several months after I transferred control of the domain away from my account.

    Yet on Friday morning I received a call to say the domain was to be suspended. I said it isn’t under my control anymore, don’t suspend it until I can confirm who the domain is controlled by. I wasn’t told that this is an automatic process and that it would be suspended anyway. I found this out on Saturday.

    Des, I know exactly what happened at Blacknight. I had several emails back and forth with Paul Kelly over the weekend and it was after the discussions with him that I put up this post.

  4. Tom

    OK that sounds fair. Question though – if the control of the domain is not yours – what has this to do with you? (Not being rude just not understanding clearly). Seems that Blacknight went above and beyond by phoning their contact instead of just suspending when they didn’t get a response to their emails. It happened that the contact info was out of date and they contacted you instead of new owner. Then you (because I assume you’re a lovely guy) decided to follow up with your old customer to see if all was ok and asked them to hold off. Is this correct? If so what was their reason for suspending in the end? Did they have the option of holding off? (maybe the only way to hold off was to renew for another year and they didn’t want to do that?)

    On the email front – if you transferred control why would have got emails? am i just not getting this 🙂

    des

  5. Tom,

    Are you the Admin C on the domain name in question ? The IEDR would have sent mails to the registered AdminC that the domain was going into the MSD process.

    If you are the AdminC. Bold You should be in the customers name
    If you are not the AdminC what authorisation do you have to prevent the MSD process ?
    When registering the domain did you use a _VALID_ E-Mail address ?.

  6. To be honest Des, I can’t answer all your questions ‘cos I don’t know fully myself (neither do BK afaik) but I’ll do the best I can with the knowledge I have right now.

    if the control of the domain is not yours – what has this to do with you?

    When the BK rep rang me on Friday morning she told me that the domain was under my control, not the other reseller’s. Whereas I have an email from BK dated late July saying that the domain has been passed to the other reseller so I was confused.

    When I put this to Paul over the weekend, he said that the domain was moved to another server and DNS control given to the other reseller but the billing wasn’t moved!

    Then you (because I assume you’re a lovely guy) decided to follow up with your old customer to see if all was ok and asked them to hold off. Is this correct?

    Well, nobody has ever accused me of being a lovely guy before 😉 but I tried to contact the other reseller to see what the story was. I knew they didn’t want the site suspended. I didn’t manage to contact the other reseller but I left a message for him. He tried to call me back but missed me (I was in a meeting) and he left a message for me!

    But we were ok, because I had told BK to hold off on the suspension process – or so I thought.

    However, what I discovered over the weekend is that the suspension process is an automated one and the only way to stop it is to pay the outstanding bill. On discovering that on Sunday morning, I paid the bill immediately (had I known that on Friday morning, I would have paid on Friday morning).

    No reminder emails were sent out to the person BK tell me is responsible for the billing of that domain (me).

    On Friday morning, I asked for the suspension process to be halted until I could clarify the situation (‘cos this was the first I had heard of that domain since I transferred it and as far as I knew it had nothing to do with me).

    The BK rep failed to tell me that the domain would be suspended anyway (if she had, I would have paid on the spot and sorted out the details later).

    The domain was suspended.

  7. Ed,

    frankly, I don’t remember who was set as the AdminC when the site was registered. I can only assume it wasn’t me as I didn’t receive any warning emails (if I had, the domain wouldn’t have been suspended).

  8. This only shows a lack of organisation on your part tom. If the domain has been transferred away from you, why are you even involved in this process? It seems like you are trying to blame everyone but yourself for a sloppy mistake. At the end of the day, if you where so concerned about this domain then you should have taken the hit on behalf of your “client� and paid the bill.

    Tom, I do understand your situation but I’m sure this could have been avoided.

  9. Jason, I’m not sure you read the post and comments fully.

    I’m sure this could have been avoided as well. It could have been avoided if BK had completely transferred the domain away from me as they told me they had done in June.

    It could have been avoided if they sent me any emails telling me that there was an outstanding invoice.

    It could have been avoided if they sent me any emails saying that the domain was in danger of suspension.

    It could have been avoided if they told me on Friday morning that the domain was going to be suspended.

    When I discovered that BK felt I was still responsible for the billing of the domain, I immediately paid the bill (Sunday morning).

    Where is my sloppy mistake in all that Jason? Apart from trusting BK when they said that they had transferred the domain away from me.

  10. Tom,

    Since you have taken this to a public forum. I will make a public statement in relation to this case.

    In our defence an invoice for the domain was generated on the 6th of July with a due period more than 45 days from this date.

    You e-mailed our _technical_ people asking us to transfer control of the domain name to another reseller, not mentioning billing or outstanding invoices etc. Our technical team did exactly as requested, moved the domain to the dns management of another reseller.

    The end user gets the e-mails from the IEDR. They do their best to ensure that the end user gets this e-mail, so they e-mail sales/info/accounts@ the domain along with the registered e-mail address of the admin contact. We play no part in this process. We basically tell the IEDR we are not renewing the domain because our client (Tom) has not paid us for it and they do the rest.

    Blacknight take great care in informing our customers of this process. The ball may have been dropped on Friday by not explicitly telling Tom the domain would be suspended unless payment was received immediately. This wasn’t for one reason or another made clear to Tom when he was called Friday morning. Despite this, the fact remains that the invoice hadn’t been paid for, we had never been asked to move the domains billing to anyone else nor we were asked to cancel the outstanding invoice on your account. The actual expiry date of this domain name was the 12th of August. Had this been a .com domain it would have been suspended immediately.

    Regards,

    Paul Kelly
    Director
    Blacknight.

  11. Tom, Did you make a formal request to the IEDR in writing (faxed) to completely transfer the domain away from you? Or did you as I suspect ask for the ownership/DNS of the domain to be moved (these are two different things).

    If you asked them to move ownership of the domain over to your client then you are not entitled to receive outstanding invoice notices. Nor are you entitled to danger of suspension notices, your client is responsible for handling these notices.

    More than likely they notified you on Friday as a last ditch attempt to save the domain from being suspended. In theory they did not have to do this, I would say this was more out of curtsy.

    On Friday when they notified you, as I said before you should have paid the invoice immediately or contacted the owner directly and informed them to pay. They should have already received multiple notices. Ask JMCC from whoisireland.com about the procedures that are in place for expiring domains.

    This is how the IEDR work. Blacknight shouldn’t be responsible for paying for your or your clients expiring domains. If they did this for every domain they would be hard pushed to make any profit at all.

  12. Paul, thanks for the response.

    You e-mailed our _technical_ people asking us to transfer control of the domain name to another reseller, not mentioning billing or outstanding invoices etc.

    That’s true and since you are being pedantic, I also did not mention moving the domain to another server in my mail, and yet your technical people did see fit to do that.

    Actually, if you want to be completely pedantic, I did not initiate this process. I was contacted by the other reseller who wanted to take control of the domain. He had talked to BK and they advised him that I needed to send an email saying I was ok to release control of the domain. I was happy to do that.

    The end user gets the e-mails from the IEDR. They do their best to ensure that the end user gets this e-mail, so they e-mail sales/info/accounts@ the domain along with the registered e-mail address of the admin contact.

    See now Paul you are changing your story. On Sunday morning you told me I should have been sent 3 emails from Blacknight to my tomandpilar address – no emails were received.

    Had I been informed, at all, by anyone, that the domain was in danger of being suspended, this would not have happened.

  13. Jason – you say

    Blacknight shouldn’t be responsible for paying for your or your clients expiring domains. If they did this for every domain they would be hard pushed to make any profit at all.

    Of course not and as soon as I discovered that Blacknight held me responsible for the invoice I paid it. But Blacknight should inform people that they have outstanding invoices and and are in imminent danger of suspension, not simply suspend the service with no warning whatsoever.

    There were no emails notifying me that I had any outstanding invoices with Blacknight and as I had an email saying the domain was transferred to another reseller, I had no reason to believe there was any issue pending.

  14. Tom

    See now Paul you are changing your story. On Sunday morning you told me I should have been sent 3 emails from Blacknight to my tomandpilar address – no emails were received.

    I think you misunderstood what Paul was trying to explain to you.

    You should have received several warning emails from our billing system regarding the outstanding invoice for the domain.

    The IEDR in turn would have sent warning emails 2 Fridays ago to the admin-c of the domain as well as to a number of generic / role email addresses on the domain such as sales@ info@ etc., when the domain was initially marked for non-payment.

    Michele

  15. Jason/Paul/Tom

    My take away from this is that BK did something good and something bad. They did their best to prevent the domain from being suspended, however they would not be expected to pay to keep it going. The bad part was the communication of this to the customer, I think it was unfortunate but not a hanging offence.

    On the billing/DNS topic – they are handled seperately. I’ve had the situation where I’ve had the domain but not the billing and it was confusing. I guessing there are situations where this makes sense but I think BK might want to rethink their procedures around this area as it seems something slipped through the net.

    des

  16. All of this leads me to believe that the new reseller that the domain was moved to should also take some blame for the problems. Maybe they didn’t take an active role with this expiring domain? I would be fairly p’ed off myself if I was in this situation, however your client did make the move away from you and that leaves the responsibility with both the client and the new reseller. There seems to be a lot of confusion around this whole issue, it may have been a better idea to talk to both your client and this reseller before laying the blame solely on Blacknight.

  17. Michele,

    no, I understood Paul perfectly – he told me that Blacknight had sent out emails to my tomandpilar address notifying me that the invoices were outstanding. I told him no emails were received and asked him when they were sent and to what address. I am awaiting an answer to those questions. I don’t expect to get one because no reminder emails were sent.

    Who was listed as the Admin-C of the site? Again I received no notification that there was any issue outstanding.

  18. Tom

    The Admin-c for a .ie would normally be the client. The IEDR would have notified them of pending suspension. You can check the admin-c by doing a whois lookup on the domain in question.

    Michele

  19. Tom,

    I wasn’t trying to be pedantic. We do get 100’s of requests per day and we have found that if we do _exactly_ as requested we can’t be accused of doing things we were not asked to do. This is what we have learned from past experiences.

    Miscomunication in relation to the e-mail situation. Two seperate things at work.

    1) Our billing system, sends an invoice to our customer, it then follows up every 7 days with suspenion notifications.

    2) The MSD process is handled by the IEDR. As mentioned before these e-mails are sent to the admin contact and sales/info/accounts@ the domain in question.

    The notices of non payment to you are handled by us. Two completely seperate processes and not “directly” related. i.e. our processes and the IEDRs processes don’t cross paths.

    It does appear that our wonderfull billing system didn’t send these notices out, I have checked as to why and as of yet I can’t see any reasons for you not getting them. It sends them to all our other customers as I’ve literally 10’s of thousands of suspend notices in my Mail Client.

    As you are aware Tom, we supply a “snapshot” of your account 24/7 via our billing system. I don’t believe that the you not receiving the warning e-mails from us is a any reason to blame us for the domains suspension.

    To close, I believe we have acted as professionaly as possible with regard to this issue. This is all I wish to say on the matter in a public forum.

    Regards,

    Paul

  20. Paul,

    you have a billing system which doesn’t send out reminders of outstanding invoices? And this doesn’t concern you?

    In a professional organisation, when there is a fuck-up like this you identify the cause of the problem and you publish a corrective action – an action which will be taken to ensure a similar event doesn’t happen again.

    Instead of this, Paul, you fall back on your normal policy of blaming the customer.

  21. Hi Tom,

    I have Googled Blacknight for various reasons over the last few days and each time your blog has come up (this and other posts). As a result of reading it I would not do business with you. You come across as a slight buffoon who can’t get his act together and are blaming someone else.

    Just my 2c

    Ruairi

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