After spending quite a bit of time exploring an alternative web host, I chose HostGator. The reviews were kind, the price was reasonable, and they were having a sale. Seemed like a good time to start migrating my 10 domains (soon to be 11) over to new digs.
I was quite pleased with the speed of the transaction and the ease of managing my settings with cPanel, when I received this message from them:
Thank you for your order with HostGator.com!
In order for us to continue with the account setup, please respond to this ticket with a scanned copy of a Photo ID such as as a passport, or drivers license. In addition to a photo ID, please include a scanned copy of the credit card that was used in your account purchase (assuming you purchased a hosting account with a credit card). For security purposes you can mask off all the digits of the card number except for the last 4 digits.
We sincerely appreciate your cooperation here, and look forward to working with you.
HostGator.com Sales Team
Really? In order for the privilege of receiving 3 years of their service, pre-paid, I have to agree to provide HostGator with digital scans of (1.) my personal identification and (2.) the payment card?
Flabbergasted, I called to see what I could do. A polite gentleman named Phillip seemed quite unprepared for my discomfort. The most that he could say was that my transaction had been flagged as suspicious. He excused himself for a moment to get help from a higher-up, but when he returned the news was the same. There was no over-the-phone information I could provide, nor any other explanation I could give to satisfy him. It was my personal information in their custody or no service.
Congrats HostGator. You’ve now beaten Scotiabank as the company who lost my business the fastest. Better to find out now than midway through our 3-year commitment, I guess. It wasn’t going to work.
Bright note: I was pleased to have been offered an exit survey: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend Hostgator to…”
I think she was about to say “friends”. Perhaps “friends and family”. “Friends and colleagues” would be better still. I’ll never know now, because I hit zero too fast.
Anyway, high hopes + vague policy + no flexibilty = bad experience. If you value your privacy or a webhost that can give a straight answer, keep looking.