Yahoo Small Business — Bad Experience!

Whew, what a day. I called Yahoo (case 5607533) this afternoon to get an authorization code to transfer a domain that I registered with them on April 1, 2006 to a new registrar. When I registered the domain, I registered it for two years and I also purchased a years worth of hosting services which I let expire in April of this year.

An agent named Anthony answered right away and asked what he could do for me. I explained that I wanted to transfer a domain and he proceeded to ask me a series of questions to verify who I was (yay Yahoo – I appreciated this) and then gave me an authorization code to initiate the domain move to my new registrar. So far, so good!

I’ve learned enough through the years to never let a person who is helping you on the phone go until you’ve verified the information they give you is good information. Keeping the person on the phone isn’t always practical, but in this case it was, so I tried to initiate the transfer and immediately received an email telling me the transfer failed due to an invalid authorization code. I explained what had just occurred to Anthony and he told me that the code was valid and that I would need to call MelbourneIT if I was having problems because Yahoo was just a reseller and because I was no longer being serviced at Yahoo since I let my hosting service expire earlier in the year.

Well, I don’t do so good with passing the buck, so I started digging in. First of all, whether Yahoo is the reseller or not, isn’t my problem, I registered the domain with them and telling me, sorry, it isn’t our problem is grossly inappropriate! To make matters worse, MelbourneIT is in, you guessed it, Melbourne Australia, so telling me that I need to call them means I need to make an overseas call on my own dime.

By now I’m getting frustrated and Anthony had one mission and that was to get rid of me, but I wasn’t having any of that. I suggested he contact his second or third level support team again to see if we had the wrong code or to let me speak to a supervisor. All he could say was, “there’s nothing else we can do for you, you have the authorization code”. I made it clear that I wasn’t going anywhere and that he might as well get his supervisor. To appease me he put me on hold and then came back saying that his supervisor suggested I go to inww.com (an alias for the same MelbourneIT site) and initiate the transfer from there. What Anthony didn’t know was that I was on the MelbourneIT site while I was on hold and was reading their pages about site transfers (which were all about inbound transfers by the way) and found nothing that indicated I could initiate the transfer from their site. I told Anthony that I thought this was a good –get rid of me tactic– but it wasn’t going to work because I had already been reading about transfers on the MelbourneIT site. He suggested I login with my Yahoo credentials, which –of course– failed and as you might have guessed, Anthony was again, at a loss. In a moment of desperation he said, “the only other suggestion I have is to release your account which will transfer control over to MelbourneIT and you can then transfer the account anywhere you want”. Now we’re talking, this would get Yahoo out of the picture and should get me to a place where I could initiate the transfer myself; so I agreed and within seconds, received an email from MelbourneIT telling me the account had been released to my control and that I would be responsible for the domain’s management via the MelbourneIT web site.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think Anthony was doing his level best, and I don’t blame him for this experience. That said, there was a break-down somewhere. Perhaps in the agent training or maybe it was with Anthony himself, I don’t know, but I should have never been told to go somewhere else. The key to excellent customer service is to own the customer’s problem, not pass them around and especially to a company in another country!

In the end, I had to call MelbourneIT where, after holding for about eight minutes, I spoke to a chap named Adam who was very helpful and who helped me resolve the problem within two or three minutes (total call duration 9:55).

So what’s the moral of this story? Well, you draw your own conclusion, but for me, I’m done with Yahoo and as far as I’m concerned, they owe me for a ten minute overseas call to Australia.

Now that I have that off my chest, I feel much better :)

~GT~

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