back to article GoDaddy told off for reeling in punters with 'misleading' prices

Hosting biz GoDaddy has been slammed by a Brit advertising regulator for "misleading" punters with the lure of cheap deals. The first complaint was made regarding the outfit's advertised £2.99 per month "basic" hosting package. The monthly price was thought to be misleading by complainant Ashley Rumbold because it had to be …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe we should raise a petiton

    to give the ASA some actual powers, such as fining 1% of turnover for misleading ads.

    That way, the most prolific lies will be those told by the marketeers when looking for new jobs.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Maybe we should raise a petiton

      Hopefully, they'd get some better cases then. Showing annual fees as monthly is standard and not really worth getting wound up about.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Maybe we should raise a petiton

        It's the fact that they said monthly, then only when you actually went to sign up did it tell you it was an annual fee.

        If it had simply said equivalent of X monthly if paid annually, it would have been fine.

        1. Donn Bly

          Re: Maybe we should raise a petiton

          Ah, but they DIDN'T say it was "monthly". They said it was "per month", and there is a rather large difference between the two.

          The adverb "monthly" implies a recurring cost on a schedule of one month.

          "Per" not only implies division of a large number, in strict form it is explicitly stating it. It does not, however, in an of itself imply the payment schedule. That is when when "per" anything is used, you MUST read the fine print in order to know what you are committing.

          If I rent a vehicle that states the cost $100 per day, that does not mean that I have to stop in every day and give them money. Whereas a "daily charge of $100" explicitly means they they are going to charge me each day.

          1. Hawkeye Pierce

            @Donn Bly - Re: Maybe we should raise a petiton

            Sure, but if when you go to rent your $100 per day vehicle, they ask you for $365,000 because the minimal rental term is one year, you'd be a bit p*ssed off - which is equivalent to what happened here.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: @Donn Bly - Maybe we should raise a petiton

              I'd be very pissed off if I was being charged 10x too much, yes.

              But when I find the actual terms of the deal I have the right to walk away, and I would simply exercise that right and not go crying to teacher.

              I don't know why Go-Daddy are singled out because a lot of old style web hosters try that old cheese.

      2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

        Re: Maybe we should raise a petiton

        Showing annual fees as monthly is standard and not really worth getting wound up about.

        It's psychology isn't it? You see a lower number so get drawn in. Somehow the thought that it's a better deal sticks with you even after you've multiplied by 12 to get the annual fee.

        A bit like those ads you see offering "all that for just <x> pence per day"...which is actually quite a tidy sum once you multiply by 365.

    2. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

      Re: Maybe we should raise a petiton

      Hopefully 1% of worldwide turnover but enforcing that.....

  2. WonkoTheSane Silver badge

    It's not the misleading deals that offend

    It's when they immediately reserve the domain you just checked for availability on their site, so you can't buy from anyone else.

    1. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: It's not the misleading deals that offend

      It's when they immediately reserve the domain you just checked for availability on their site, so you can't buy from anyone else.

      Someone I know was pitching a TV programme idea to a broadcaster. The idea was apparently being debated about being picked up but the broadcaster liked and registered the .com of his company name for themselves. I told to persue them if he was bothered but he thought they might drop the prog if he did so.

  3. adam payne Silver badge

    Naturally, GoDaddy denied it had misled anyone: it said customers could configure their order in the cart to select the annual service term that would equate to that monthly price

    That's the point your advert doesn't say anything about an annual service and that is why your advert is misleading.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    GoDaddy ... isn't there an elephant in this room?

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      But you'll get your own dough-main.

  5. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Wider picture

    ISP and hosting services have been getting away with misleading pricing adverts for years and it's considered acceptable. Whenever a service is advertised in big print as being at a very low price but the smaller writing says it's for a short period at the start of an annual contract it's misleading.* Otherwise why would they do it like that?

    *They may be charging 10p a month for the first three months. But since the customer is committed to the contract all they are doing is redistributing the annual cost.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Wider picture

      "and it's considered acceptable"

      I don't personally know anybody who considers it acceptable. They tend to consider it a sleazy tactic that is done by sleazy companies. Which it is.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Wider picture

        Err. By the regulator's official view of what is acceptable, I meant.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Symantec do a similar thing with Norton renewals. They currently offer £50 off if you renew online viz £19.99 instead of £69.99. Only if you follow the link to the T&Cs do you find the catch. You are signing up to a recurring automatic renewal at full price next year and onwards.

    If it looks too good to be true - it probably isn't true.

  7. JakeMS

    Well...

    It's GoDaddy and to be fair I wouldn't touch them anyway. Everytime I'm with a fellow business owner and their ads come on I immediately say "Don't even consider them, it's nothing but trouble".

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Well...

      True. GoDaddy is pretty infamous and is already on a lot of people's lists of companies you should never do business with.

  8. mark l 2 Silver badge

    The host who i use to host my VPS only change $9.99 per year for shared hosting so that makes Godaddy seem expensive anyway. I only pay $35.00 per year for a KVM VPS with 2 cores, 2GB RAM and 50GB of SSD based storage which i link is pretty good value.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Mark, please share. I want one.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gow*nk Godaddy, You B*stards!

    All of a sudden this year, they started to add 20% tax on all orders from the UK, assumed I was a Ltd company rather than an individual (sole trader) and no matter how many long conversations I had with them, they refused to remove this charge: they said it was because of UK laws... so I moved my hundreds of domain names to Namecheap, who don't charge 20% tax despite being also based in the US of A.

    Oh, and their server farms are killing the planet.

  10. ecofeco Silver badge

    These guys?!

    These guys are still in business?

    They make Facebook look good. God help us all.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Heart Internet are doing this too

    Example: https://www.heartinternet.uk/web-hosting shows the Starter Professional package available for £2.66 per month, plus "BILLED MONTHLY" in capital letters.

    Then you click "BUY NOW" and you then find that you can't pay monthly at all. They want you to pay for a year up-front, plus £10 "set up fee".

    1. dr john

      Re: Heart Internet are doing this too

      Heart Internet was bought by a company that was then bought by...

      GoDaddy.

      They own so many other companies, you never know you are dealing with them.

      I was very happy placing clients with a small hosting company for about 10-12 years, then it was bought by a bigger group, but still okay. Then they were bought by a much much bigger group.

      And then GoDaddy bought them!

      But you don't know that you are working with GoDaddy as the smaller companies still keep their old names.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Welcome to U.S. marketing practices

    In the colonies unscrupulous large companies are allowed to make absurd marketing claims until the Federal Trade Comm. receives enough complaints to investigate. Then depending on politics the criminal corporation may get a slap on the wrist after bilking consumers out of millions annually or they may just get told to discontinue one of many deceptive and often illegal practices. Large corporations consider a million dollar fine the cost of doing business when they are reaping tens of millions annually from consumer fraud.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Welcome to U.S. marketing practices

      The UK version ( UK commentards are only too familiar with this) is that a campaign is occasionally ruled illegal some time after it has already ended. And that's all. More often than not the the merest excuse is sufficient to find that "oh no they didn't mislead the public" because obviously no one would really believe that claim and anyway they had the truth on the bottom of the second page in yellow print on a pale green background".."

      There are some very tightly defined adverting rules. But these don't seem to apply to business models invented later than about 1980.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

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