When Assurance Is Not Enough

If there’s one thing I’ve been adamant about since I’ve started my site along with other projects is this: You are either in business – or not. Period. And once you’re clear on that one point all – and I do mean all – your criteria for decisions on what, where, and how to go about things must change. i.e., If you’re in business you need to do this, if you’re in a hobby or vanity business you may not need to do that.

However, again, I can not stress this point enough: If you are in business – some things you can not leave to “assurance” you must have “insurance.”

The difference between the two will be realized at the worst of possible times for many who thought “Well they said” matters. And when your money or repute is on the line. “What they said” can cost you plenty, and maybe far more than you ever dreamed when they do the exact opposite of “what they said.”

To help illustrate this I want to share in real-time a situation I myself have found myself in and how I had an “assurance” but could not get an “insurance” where I responded accordingly. Even though at the time many might have thought “Oh you’re just making a mountain out of a mole hill.”

It’s for this exact reason I wish too show just how fast that proverbial pile can mount at the most inopportune times.

I had hosted my original .com name and others on a separate platform for years. I have had other WordPress™ sites for nearly as long. I always kept the two separate for differing reasons of down the road expansion ideas etc. For you can do somethings on one and not the other and so forth.

However, as of late my footprint or reach has become far too large and I had the overwhelming fear that I could at any time spike in traffic where my allotted bandwidth would be exceeded. And although my bandwidth was relatively high, in a spike I could incur what I deemed as massive over-charges. The scale and the amounts were huge. (just to be clear I’m talking thousands of dollars not a few hundred.)

Many people would love to have this issue, but trust me, when it becomes very real, love isn’t the word that comes to mind. And with that I contacted my host and asked very pointed questions. e.g., “If I were to have a spike over my limit can I limit the amount over in which it is allowed?” “If I can not can my site be set to shut down as in not be available until I contact you and set up a high limit plan?”

Along with describing my why’s: “The reasoning behind these questions is this: I do not want to incur overage charges on the possibility where I get spiked for either one of my articles goes viral, or – I get a spike in site hacking such as a DDNS and the like.” In my case these had become valid concerns and needed to be addressed.

To make a long story short the responses came back after multiple emails where I was told to rest “assured” that if such happened they would “work with me.”

Also, I was “assured” that in the case of such an event that they were very “generous” on first time issues and would help me resolve these issues should they arise. What I could never get them to do? “Insure” me by stating they would shut down my site at my limit till I contacted them. Or, that they would only allow X amount of usage over my limit to insulate me.

No – all I could get were the equivalent of “assurances.” In a business – that’s not acceptable in some cases. And in my case I had to make a decision, so, I moved my site where these issues were resolved.

Which brings us to today.

As I write this, I have now had nearly 2 months of week after week, after week of emails with (my prior host) their support team that keep apologizing to me for the “frustration they know I feel” that someone has not responded to my request so I can access a domain name I have registered through them.

I have no access, can’t do anything with it, it’s an important name, and although I was a very happy customer of theirs for nearly a decade with their web service they have chosen to not only disregard my requests but in effect are holding a business name that I own hostage where I can’t gain access to it. All the while I have been told by support that this issue has been “escalated” to the highest of priorities.

So here’s my take away point for you to consider and why I say what I say: What if this was in reference to a bandwidth issue where my original concerns were?

In a bandwidth issue my billing information such as credit card or other is on file and can (and more than likely will) be charged immediately. Even if you had “assurances” they wouldn’t.

Then what? Dispute the charges? Could you? Would it stand in a small claims court? How would you prove you didn’t owe them? Would your credit get dinged because they throw you (or sell you) to a collection agency?

Without a clear provable statement of fact between you and the other party where you can produce “I have it here in writing they said they would not” all the assurances in the world will do; is leave you to “rest assured” you’re going to have some very big if not costly headaches down the road at the most inopportune times.

Make sure you know what you think you know, and have the proof, that all of you, are on the same page. Because the “assurance” you’ll have a leg to stand on when it comes to your money is far different from “insurance” when one of you is going to have to pay for that leg.

© 2014 Mark St.Cyr