Update 2: They agreed to charge me the yearly $168, and put the rest up for investigation.
Update: Last night, they tried to run my card again for over $4,000.
Earlier this year I wrote about CI Host, and their incredibly mismanaged company. Quite a few months have gone by, and it's time for an update. Nobody ever bothered to call me back, and much has gone on since then. The first thing I did was to report the problems with CI Host, (now X7 Hosting,) to the Better Business Bureau. After weeks of them not responding to the letters from the BBB, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I called CI Host directly to see if they got the notices. After transferring me to some managers, I got someone to assure me that the issue was being taken care of. This was obviously a lie to appease me for a while. After a couple more weeks, the BBB told me there was still no response to my issue. I left that alone for a while and decided to see if X7 hosting would be any better.
The first step was the transition process. After the data was sent to X7 in Canada, they failed to transfer my databases correctly. Every site I had running on the server was built on the open source CMS called Drupal. This means that all my sites are database driven and therefore were all down. After calling X7 and waiting on hold for over an hour, someone answered. I tried to explain the problem, and after 2 days of waiting, calling back, and waiting on hold for a total of 6 hours, I finally had my sites running again. Total down time for all of my sites came to about two weeks. After this, I had to deal with other database problems on some sites that had forums. These databases were pointing to a specific location on my server that hosted all the content and themes. After my hour on hold I was able to voice my concerns. They assured me everything would be working within 24 hours. After 24 hours, I had a forum, but my other content had disappeared. Instead of changing the url mistake in the database, they moved all the directories to a new folder that corresponded with the database. This is the exact opposite of what they were supposed to do. Now all my other content was broken because they were in different directories. X7 had modified my data and directory structure without any thought of the consequences. I waited on hold an hour to tell them what happened. After 24 hours, this hadn't been fixed. I contacted them again and waited another hour on hold. After three days, it was working.This had pretty much pissed me off, so I decided to begin moving sites to Godaddy.com. In order to move my databases, I had to export them from X7. This should be as easy as logging in and exporting, but instead, I had to deal with another bag of worms. I went to the log-on area and tried to gain access to my databases with no luck. So, the first step would be to call them, which requires an hour hold time as usual. After 3 hours on the phone with multiple technicians who don't understand the information I'm giving them, I got access to my data. Godaddy had all the tools I needed to import my data, and I was up and running with them in under 30 minutes. When calling X7, you have to talk to a proxy. You give them the information and they forward it to a technician. The technicians don't talk on the phone. These proxies don't actually know what you're talking about and they just write everything down. That's the problem. They end up writing down technical information incorrectly and once it makes it to someone who would understand, it's misconstrued. Once, after a long phone conversation, they ended up connecting me with CI Host's original tech support line, which still operated for other types of services in Texas. Luckily, I recorded the conversation and it got back to X7, who tried to make things right. Finally, I had everything working somewhat, and I could get back to my work instead of doing X7's job for them. I had no idea who this company was, or what was going on internally, but I tried to trust them so I could get back to business. This was apparently a bad idea. The first problem to crop up after the transition was my server space. I already had about 30gig or so on the server, but my account was able to handle about 80gig. I wasn't even sure what the plan was at the time, because CI Host never sent me any updates about my account standing. I figured if I went over my storage they would tell me. After 10 years of service, I had only paid about $160 a year. When I began uploading content to my new X7 server one day, it gave me a warning that I was over my disk quota. I called in and waited 30 minutes to talk to a technician proxy. The proxy was able to look up my account information to find my original data plan and make a correction. I now had my 80gig account back. I continued to use alternate servers and only upload jpegs from my security cameras on a regular basis. I was tired of using their service and was very pleased with Godaddy. When I called Godaddy for support they answered right away and would always be knowledgeable. They were not technician proxies. Space on this X7 server shouldn't be an issue, because it hadn't been for 10 years. Plus, I had decreased my usage. After a few months with no incidents, I got an email from X7 stating that my DNS servers needed to be changed from CI Host to X7. That was something I never thought of, and was good advice. However, I hadn't talked to my domain provider in years because I had renewed the domain for 10 years. 5 years ago I called and switched the server information from my original business partners to mine since he had nothing to do with the company anymore. I knew I had to get these DNS severs switched, so I put it on the top of my to-do list. The next day I drove from Dallas to Oklahoma City to work on a gig. When I got there, none of my sites were working. They had hardly given me any notice, and CI Host had already powered down their DNS servers. I was panicking because I had about 20 websites completely down. I tried to call my domain registrar, but I hit a snag. They said they had my original business partner's name on file ONLY, and I couldn't access it. I had to have his mother's maiden name. It was already midnight, but I had no choice. I had to call him. He answered in a groggy voice and I quickly got his mother's maiden name. He only had 3 hours before he had to get up for work. I gave the name to my provider and they said it was wrong! They told me the only option was to get a fax of approval from my old partner and get it switched. The process was going to take about a week. I couldn't wait that long. Something in my mind told me to try MY mother's maiden name and it worked. They somehow had her name, but none of my information. This problem wasn't X7's fault, but they could have given me more than one day's notice. After 24 hours, my sites were back. I went months without receiving a bill from X7 or updates on my new service. I figured that once the transition was complete, they would offer a comprehensive run down of what they were actually providing me, as well as an invoice. I was curious as to what their rates were. I had tried to log in to their site, but the main website only said, "Coming Soon." This morning I got a notice from X7 that my credit card on file had been declined. I guess they had all the card information from CI Host. I looked at the total amount and it was over $4,000! I looked further and it stated that this was for a month's worth of service. They never sent me a run-down of services, never got my signature on anything, and never sent me and invoice, but they were eager as hell to just willie-nilly run my credit card for $4,000. Apparently it was for raid hosting, which I never signed up for. In my rage, I dialed them up and waited 30 minutes for someone in billing. I told her I had a ridiculous bill and that they needed to fix it. She proceeded to tell me that the large amount was for overages. I was livid. How could I nearly stop using a server and then go over my disk space? I told her this was BS, and that I never got a statement or anything that outlined their packages. She told me that I only had an 8gig account, and that I was using 1.5 terabytes of space. Really? Google offers more space than that for email for free. She told me that there was an account manager online that would tell me that. "Funny," I said, "...every time I've gone to the site it said 'coming soon.'" She said it was finally up and I could look at it. When I went to the site and clicked on usage it just sat there spinning and never loading. I let it sit there to see if it would eventually come up. In the mean time I told her about my previous horrors and that if anything, they owed ME money. She didn't understand how bad the management of CI Host was, as stated in my last article. She told me that I needed a statement of service from CI Host to prove what my old account standing was. I told her that after waiting on hold for at least 10 hours over the last few months, she needed to call CI Host and take care of it for me. It's a problem on their side with their business and their management. Why should I be the one correcting it? She told me that they don't even offer 80gig packages and the highest is 40gig. I told her that I would be happy to delete files, if someone would just tell me what my plan is. I have no records of anything, nor have I ever signed a contract with them. She agreed to contact CI Host her self and figure it out, but some of the amount would still stand because they don't offer a plan that big. I told her that somebody at that company must be able to recognize that there's a problem and reverse these charges. I said, "They've messed with my files way too much to think I owe them money like this." If I had 30gig on the server to begin with, and it was ported to the new service, how would I have an 8gig plan? She proceeded to tell me that X7 doesn't modify files, they were moved over exactly like they were. I knew that was a lie based on previous experience, but I wasn't going to get into that. We hung up and after 45 minutes, the account manager came up with my account information. It said that I had 80,000 MB. That's 80gig, not 8gig. It also said I had used 115gig of space, not 1.5 terabytes. These numbers make a big difference. it sounds to me like the billing department is off by a decimal place, which makes a HUGE difference. I investigated more and found even more problems. With the migration, they had moved my public files into a master folder called "public." This folder contained all my content. They also made a folder called "public.bak" which is a replica of everything that was on my CI Host server at the time of migration. This was doubling the space on my server and I was getting charged for it. After 6 hours, I hadn't heard from the woman in the billing department, so I called back. After a 20 minute hold I asked to talk to her, but she was on another line. The woman I talked to wasn't able to access my account for some reason and tell me what my disk usage limit was. She assured me I would get a call back, but so far I've heard nothing. I don't know about anyone else, but I don't have $4,000 to throw away on a server that has a few thousand 56kb jpegs on it. This is something X7 needs to resolve in the correct manner by acknowledging their mismanagement and mistakes through this conversion. I don't have time to fix all their problems. It's up to them. I will NOT pay them $4,000. I will see them in court before that happens. I would rather spend $4,000 on putting together a class-action lawsuit against them. I've heard stories from many others about CI Host / X7 problems and I'll go down fighting. They have a chance to resolve this situation the right way and not turn it into a PR nightmare. At the moment, nobody has contacted me back. I'll post updates when they do.