So recently I went through another fiasco with HostGator, which I’m also blogging about at the moment. It was actually a mistake on their end, that they admitted to. Prior to them realizing that there was no error to begin with, they insisted that the only way to get my site unlocked was to signup for SiteLock.
So I did. I never received the follow-up with the scan results. The only follow-up I received was from HostGator and never received another email invoice from SiteLock again. I honestly assumed the services were never performed and that there weren’t anymore invoices since then.
SiteLock Cancellations Can Only Be Made By Phone
Even though it’s not mentioned in their Terms and Conditions, (quoted below) the only way they’ll let you shut off an account is by the phone. That’s an inconvenience for someone like me who has to drive all the way into town from the mountains in order to get reception. There terms would make you believe that it could be done through email or other means:
Billing/Automatic Renewal. Customer’s account will be automatically charged each subscription period in advance until cancelled. As long as Customer’s website qualifies for the displaying of the Company’s logos/images, Customer may continue displaying the seal for the remaining period. Customer agrees that subscription based Services will automatically renew at the end of each subscription period, at the then current list price for the Service, unless Customer sends notice of Customer’s request that the Services not renew. Such notice of non-renewal must be sent to the Company at least thirty (30) days prior to the end of Customer’s current subscription period.
SiteLock’s Discreet Billing and No Emailed Invoices
You know those shady companies that get you enrolled in a service? Probably through a free trial offer that will earn you a discount on something else? You all know you’ve done it before; you do it for the discount and tell yourself that you’re going to unenroll right away because it’s not something you really need or want. You forget all about it, until one day you look at your credit card statement and wonder what all these weird recurring charges coming from a strange place are.
You finally do some research and realize it’s that service you’ve subscribed to. It’s got some misleading name that doesn’t include the company or service. That’s probably very smart on the company’s end, because you might mistake it for an important service subscription instead of being that stupid thing you forgot to cancel. You do some further research and find out it’s that stupid service that’s been draining your money discreetly for months without any Invoice or Payment Received notices that would flag your eye?
That’s what SiteLock reminds me of. I finally looked at my Paxum transactions and noticed this suspicious transaction:
POS Signature Purchase International, SECURITY415-390-2500 A, 877-2579263, AZ
I started thinking ‘What the hell is that?’ and scrolled through the transactions to see if there were anymore. There were several recurring charges, all for $70. At this point I’m ready to report fraudulent activity, but figured I better figure it out first. That’s when I Googled the charge and found out it was SiteLock.
Go To Cancel The Services To Avoid Recurring Charges
So I’m thinking; ‘Okay, I’ve lost enough money over this bullshit, I need to cut this off ASAP!’. I log into my SiteLock account for the very first time. I don’t see anywhere to cancel the account. I send a support ticket (which I still haven’t gotten a follow-up from) expressing that I’d like to cancel my services and asking for instructions on how to close the account.
I look through their Help section. It is incredibly bare-bones and the only thing comparable to shutting down an account is how to add/remove users from the dashboard.
At this point I Google; “Cancelling SiteLock Services”. It brings up absolutely nothing. Nothing. This is looking more and more like one of those scammer companies mentioned above. Shady companies don’t want to make it easy to unsubscribe from services. They don’t want to give you easy to use instructions.
The only location anywhere on their site where I found was in their billing and auto renewals section, referenced above. Their company policy was also contradicting their claims that all requests must be made via phone. As per their guidelines, a customer only has to indicate that they want the services stopped. They even use the word ‘Sends’ instead of ‘Calls’.
I Hate Companies That Don’t Send Invoices When Charging
It’s very rare that a reputable company does not send a triggered email whenever an invoice is generated or payment is captured. I bet you if there was an issue with the auto-billing, I would have received an email letting me know, but as long as the discreet billing is happening and they’re getting paid, why bring it to attention? It’s just like those shady trial schemes mentioned in the analogy above.
I’m so glad I checked my Paxum account and caught this before they managed to get more money out of me.
Other SiteLock Customers Give Bad Reviews
At this point I do what I always do; I sent emails to all my contacts within the company stating that I want the services cancelled. I also got onto social media to Tweet at them and post to their Facebook. I wasn’t surprised to see that people on social media were unhappy with the company’s support and shady billing practices as well.
Twitter was the first place I went, and these were the top two tweets I seen when searching for @SiteLock (which isn’t even their official Twitter handle). Content Gal Noreen Compton isn’t a big fan of them not sending invoices when they take your money. That Casual Dude Guy also got forced into getting SiteLock from HostGator. I wonder if his incident is similar to mine (I’ll link to it once the blog post is ready).
Maybe there’s this HostGator / SiteLock conspiracy happening, where HostGator puts restrictions on a random account, tells the client that in order to unlock it they must sign-up with SiteLock, states there was nothing wrong after the fact and hope the stupid chums like me neglect to cancel the services. If that’s the case, HostGator is a bigger thug than Putin!
There Facebook was also filled with horror stories of the service. These chats were not quite as focused around my beefs with the company, but it shows that there’s a wide range of issues that SiteLock clients are disgruntled about.
Further Googling and checking out the blogsphere brings up more bad reviews, including issues on their billing and cancellation. Many of those posts I found while Googling how the hell to cancel their services in the first place. Seems as though bloggers do what I’m doing now; They share their experiences with the rest of the world so people can know what to expect when dealing with companies.
Seems like another big beef was with the support of the company, which for the record, I still haven’t gotten a response back from the SiteLock support messager / feedback thing. Maybe it’s because it’s being handled by the employees I reached out to personally and there was no need for a generic follow-up. Maybe their support does suck.
I’d Only Use SiteLock If I was Extorted By Hosting Provider Again
The only way I’d use SiteLock again is if I was extorted by my hosting provider again. Stay tuned, I’m writing the blog post on HostGator suspending my account by error and forcing me to register with SiteLock even though it wasn’t necessary in the first place.
One the blog post is written, I’ll link to it from this article, because
Alleged Former SiteLock Employee: “Completely A Scam”. “Stealing Soooo Much Money”
Ah, yes. I love the blogsphere. This was a comment left on a blog post about experience with SiteLock. Whether this was a real former SiteLock employee or an internet troll, one will never know. Given all the negative feedback, it seems there’s a lot of people not happy with the company and how they operate. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was nothing more than a troll.
On the other-hand, their invoicing, billing and account cancellation policies, as well as having zero instructions, does mimic those of shady companies that want people to neglect the monthly rebills. If I was working for a company like that, I’d probably quite due to ethical reasons too Going as far as to call them a Complete Scam though? I’d only go as far as to say they need some more legitimate invoicing practices.
You get to decide for yourself. Either way, don’t expect an invoice from them. And if you’re wondering who the strange company in Arizona is that’s taking your money; It’s SiteLock.