FTC: Hey, Network Solutions, time we had a chat about 'refunds'

Hosting house agrees to play nice after complaints over 'money back' guarantee

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reached a settlement deal with web hosting provider Network Solutions over the latter's handling of customer refunds.

The FTC had filed a complaint against Network Solutions arguing that the biz had been stiffing users on refunds given under its "30 Day Money Back Guarantee."

The regulator alleged [PDF] that Network Solutions withheld money from customers, as much as 30 per cent, when they cancelled their hosting plan within 30 days.

The "cancellation fee" charged to customers varied on the package purchased; canceling a one-year package would cost $34.99, while backing out of a 10-year plan would carry a $179.90 fee.

The FTC went on to accuse the company of burying links to its policies at the bottom of the page, and not properly notifying users of the cancellation fees.

Network solutions cash back offer

Where does it say you'll shaft me on the refund? Waaaay down at the bottom?
(Click to Enlarge)

The settlement order [PDF], published on Tuesday, puts the complaint to rest, and saddles Network Solutions with additional requirements for clearly stating the terms of its "money back guarantee."

The agreement includes outlining the policies in concise language to customers, making sure users are aware of any fees or service charges on their refunds before agreeing to the service.

Should Network Solutions not adhere to the terms of the 20-year settlement agreement, it could face civil penalties from the FTC of up to $16,000 per violation. The settlement will now go through a 30-day public comment period before the FTC will decide whether to make the order final. ®


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