The Dreamhost Nightmare

I attempted to sign up for DreamHost web hosting and had the absolute worst customer service experience I have ever none.

I had been hosting with GoDaddy and had found their hosting to be inadequate. I had also been hosting through DreamHost using my friend Jeff's account. I had experienced some pretty serious service outages with DreamHost and was weary of hosting professional sites with them, of which my clients demand. But, I saw the 97 day guarantee and decided I would try it. As Jeff pointed out, it may have been the server I was on and not necessarily the service. I figured that, if I had problems within 3 months, I would cancel the service.

This process began on Saturday, December 9 at 2006 at noon. I registered for an account, prepaid for a year of service and received my confirmation emails. To my own detriment, I ignored these emails. After 2 hours, I emailed support because my account was setup, I could login to the panel, but could not perform any maintenance on my domain. There was a message saying my account had not been approved.

Keep in mind I already had a web ID through Jeff's account, DreamHost had already obtained my information and I had domains hosted through there which listed my contact information. The credit card I used was in my name, was not expired and I had plenty of money.

I received an email from technical support saying I had to print out their authorization form, fill it out and, after making an imprint of my credit card using a crayon or pencil, fax it to their long distance number. Are you joking???

So, I filled the form out and faxed it to their number, paying $1.25 for the fax. After another 3 hours, I emailed technical support again and asked if they had received the fax. They responded saying they could not read the name on the credit card and that I would have to fax it again. I chewed them out pretty good, let them know that I was who I said I was and offered some proof. They said they could not deviate from their authorization procedures.

Staples was closed and I didn't have access to a fax machine (but who really uses those in this day and age anyway) so I had to wait until the next day. On Sunday, December 10th I faxed the new copy. Several hours later my account was still not activated and I emailed them and told them not to bother and not to charge me. I had gotten my account fully setup with HostGator in about 15 minutes with no trouble at all.

Here is the worst part. During my correspondence, I asked if I could use another payment method and they said yes, I could use PayPal, but I would waive my guarantee!!!!! Have you ever received a fax and noticed the quality of the fax? Imagine a credit card "imprint" using a crayon or pencil. The imprints I faxed were completely legible when I faxed them. You draw your own conclusions.