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Judge slaps Fasthosts for rubbish kit and support

Damages and costs for all-round uselessness

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A county court judge has awarded a disgruntled Fasthosts customer almost £1,500 in damages and costs, after the Gloucester firm failed to meet its uptime and customer service guarantees.

Hampshire consultancy UK Mobile Media was prompted to take Fasthosts to Southampton small claims court yesterday by a four month period that saw its dedicated servers suffer 22 per cent downtime. It was paying about £15,000 annually for its dedicated infrastructure, used to offer clients services such as mobile email.

The claimant's managing director Matthew Rahman told the judge that Fasthosts had repeatedly ignored support requests.

Fasthosts did not appear in court to defend itself, but submitted a document that said: "We feel that we have made reasonable efforts to ensure prompt resolution of the problems reported." The judge felt differently, however, and awarded UK Mobile Media £1,212.68 damages and £220 in fees and loss of earnings. Fasthosts has until 15 September to pay.

Rahman told El Reg today that the worst problems occurred between October 2007 and January 2008 when a repeated hard disk failure caused periods of up to 72 hours offline for some of UK Mobile Media's clients. "It was something you would ordinarily expect to take 15 minutes to replace... we lost significant custom through it," he said.

"We made a big mistake [in using Fasthosts] and we've learned a big lesson. I certainly would never recommend anyone relying on them for anything important to their business." Rahman said other businesses hit by poor reliability and support should consider action against Fasthosts.

Fasthosts declined to comment.

The hosting firm was founded by schoolboy entrepreneur Andrew Michael in 1999. He sold out to fellow budget operator 1&1 Internet for £61.5m in 2006. Fasthosts has since made repeated security, technical and customer service gaffes but boasts it is "still the no.1 for UK hosted websites".

UK Mobile Media has switched to another hosting provider. ®

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