Fasthosts Domain Registrars – a Warning

I have an account with Fasthosts, one of the largest hosting providers in the UK, they also provide domain registration services for most of the common domain types, .com, .co.uk and the like. They used to be called UKREG and you can see  traces of this name on their web sites. I have over 80 domains on my account (including this one) and have been happy with the service that I have received for many years. Until now.

On the 29th September 2010 I received an email warning that a domain that I have on the Fasthosts account had not renewed automatically. This despite at least 3 previous automatic renewals having taken place without problems. When I went to the new, so called improved, control panel at Fasthosts I discovered that the telephone contact information had been lost somehow despite having been there for about 6 years previously.

During August, on or around the 17th as far as I can make out, Fasthosts switched over to a new shiny all singing all dancing control panel. During this change they imported their database from the “old” system to the new one. in doing so it seems they lost a large amount of information, particularly telephone numbers, company numbers and the like as well as corrupting the registrant’s name(s) in many cases.

Upon checking several other entries on the new system, I discovered that many of the entries had invalid or missing information including Company and telephone numbers being lost, registrants names being corrupted in the control panel display.

I decided to check the Nominet “Whois” service and found that many registrations were also corrupt there as well. To make matters worse, many Company registrants had been granted privacy somehow when this is strictly against Nominet’s terms.

I have raised the matter with Fasthosts support several times since. To say the least they have been unhelpful and in my opinion are just shrugging the responsibility off to the client.

I would seriously suggest that anyone who has a domain name registered through Fasthosts or any of their resellers should check the registration now, before it is too late and their domain does not renew.

Every Penny Counts – Update

Following my last post, I sent an email to our local MP, David Burrowes outlining my concern. To his credit, his office replied promptly as below. Needless to say, I am not holding my breath whilst waiting for the reply but well done David burrowes MP for taking the matter further.

Dear Mr ******

I am writing on behalf of David Burrowes MP who has asked me to thank you for your email of 11th January regarding your concerns about the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).  Please accept my apologies for the delay in replying.

Mr Burrowes was concerned to note the issues you raised and the problems you encountered whilst trying to gather further information about claiming your state pension.

I can confirm that Mr Burrowes will be forwarding a copy of your email on to the DWP to ask that they address the points you raise.  Mr Burrowes would however appreciate you sending him your postal address details so that he can send you a copy of any reply he might receive from the DWP.

Thank you once again for taking the time to contact Mr Burrowes and he will let you know when he receives a response.

Yours sincerly

Rebecca Chard

Constituency Caseworker for David Burrowes MP

Every Penny Counts – Wasting of taxpayers money in small ways.

Hello everyone!

This is the first post to our new blog and we hope that you find it interesting. Email us if you want to comment or possibly join in.

The subject today is “every penny counts” and describes one small way that arose recently where it was obvious that taxpayers money, i.e. yours and mine, is being wasted.

The story starts on Monday the 10th of January 2010. I received a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) dated the 29th December 2009 saying that it was time to claim my State Pension. I am not due to receive this pension until late April 2010 and so was pleased that the bureaucratic system seemed to be working to help me in plenty of time.

The letter said quite clearly: “Claim your State Pension” and gave a phone number (0845 30 01 084) that I should phone going on to say “You can claim your state pension now…”

Having gathered together the information required, I duly telephoned the number given only to to hear that:

a) the number had changed, it is now 0800 731 7898 and

b) that there was “no need” to claim my state pension now, it seemed that I could wait until 2 months before hand, i.e. late February if I wished. However, I decided to proceed as I was fully prepared.

I dialled the new number and received the same recorded message to the effect that there was “no need” to claim yet but I persevered because I wanted to get it finished having spent some time already.

To cut a very long conversation very short, I was told that I could not claim my state pension at this time and I had to wait until 2 months before the due date to claim.

My questions for the bureaucracy are:

1) Why send a letter that gives the wrong number to call? It would be a trivial act to change it to the correct number.
2) Why send a letter nearly 4 months early when you cannot claim until 2 months before? Surely it would be better to send it out 2 months before the claim date?
3) Why is it that the recorded message is phrased in bureaucratspeak? The phrase “you no longer need…” implies that one could make a claim now if one wanted – in fact you cannot, you have to wait.

As I see it this is a typical example of how small wastes of money can add up to very large sums. Given that the population of the UK is around 60 million, there are probably nearly a million of these letters going out each year. Each letter probably costs around £1, not that this money could be saved but it could certainly be deferred for 2 months. The next waste is the money paid by us for the wasted phone calls. 0845 numbers are not free, cheap maybe unless you are calling from a mobile, but not free. OUR money being wasted because no-one can be bothered to do their job properly.

More money is wasted by the government itself as they have to pay for the (maybe 1 million) phone calls to the 0800 number. My guess is that the wasted cost to the government is around £50,000 just for the 0800 calls that will have to be repeated at a later date.

For the cost of maybe 1 days work by a civil servant (who is probably paid less than £50,000 a YEAR) this money could be saved.

In todays straightened time, every penny counts – how many other wastes do you know about?