I receive the following email from Burlee.com, “We can definitely arrange a way for you to procure any data from the site. We can get back to you tomorrow concerning their retrieval.”
They indicate that maybe the WebStats script I was using to capture visitor referral information (Burlee doesn’t offer this feature) might be the offending script.
I really can’t believe what happened next. It’s really adding salt and vinegar to the wound.
Just a few hours after receiving notice that my account was terminated, I receive the following email.
“Yes, we can provide you with FTP access to download your site… Your site has been removed, though we can retrieve the copy off of the tape in our archive.. Due to the large volume of such requests for data, it is necessary to charge $99.95 for the engineer’s time.”
Can you believe this? My Web site has been off-line for four days. They haven’t been able to find out exactly what the problem was. They have withheld eight month’s worth of hosting fees and now they want to charge me $100.00 for access to my files!! I feel good knowing that I don’t treat my customers or run my business this way.
I decide to pay up and fight for compensation later. I want to download the site files and transfer it to the new hosting company in exactly the same manner to see if there really are problems.
Wednesday 21, 9.00am.
Burlee still haven’t sent me the details of how I can retrieve my files, so I email them, again. One piece of good news I receive is that Internic has accepted my domain transfer request and should be activated within 24 hours.
Still no news. Again, I email Burlee.
Finally, Burlee.com notify me that I now have FTP access to my site files. I quickly retrieve the files.
I transfer the files to my new hosting company and set up the site again. It has been almost 4 full days, since my site first went off-line.
The Internic records are updated and my site is transferred. The DNS updates take time so most people are still unable to visit the site. I send a note to Burlee advising them that I have finished transferring my files and again request more information concerning the errors. If there really are problems with my site’s CGI scripts, I do not want to saddle my new host with them.
Finally, I am able to log onto my site!! I check my stats, but it seems that not many others are able to do so yet.
I receive an email from Burlee.com with an attachment.
“Here is a copy of parts of the PERL error log which may help you to debug your scripts. Please note this is just a sample.”
The error log they gave me started from the date I signed up with them. It shows errors on pages that never existed within my site. There were errors that occurred during the setup phase of my site. Nothing very unusual about that. There are no references in the error log to the CGI script that “might” have caused all the problems.
The next step is to send a note to the President and Owner of Burlee Networks requesting a refund of my outstanding hosting fees and the FTP service charge. I will explain the whole story in detail and see what happens.
Check next month’s eBoz! newsletter for an update!
Why Did I share This Story With You?
I have shared this story with you for several reasons. Firstly, it has acted as a form of therapy for me. It feels good to let my frustrations out by sharing this experience with you. I have tried to be as precise and accurate as my memory permits. It has also taught me some lessons about using and selecting hosting companies.
On the surface, I got the impression that they were a professional and honorable company to deal with. Their Web site looks professional and they have a whole page of client testimonials.
But after this going through this nightmare, both I and Michael Wong of eBoz! decided to investigate Burlee.com more closely. This is what we found.
In their customer’s testimonials page, they list fourteen letters. Eleven of those only list the person’s initials, with no links to the client’s site. The other 3 have links, but I did a bit of digging. It turns out that 2 of those sites that they link to, are registered to none other than, Mr. William Maris. Guess who Burlee.com is registered to?
Another thing which I find quite curious and interesting is this. Burlee display 4 top host awards, from some popular web host index sites. All awarded by Web sites that have no obvious connection to Burlee, except for the fact that Burlee advertises in all of them. Coincidence?
A Few People I Need To Thank
Finally, let me thank a few people who were very supportive and helpful during the difficult times we had with onlineorders.net a couple of weeks ago.
Thanks to eboz! editor, Michael Wong, and Anaconda partner Adam Stanhope. Both of which where extremely supportive and encouraging. They were always available with an open ear.
And finally thanks to the fine people at Futurequest.net – this is the most accommodating, friendly and supportive web hosting company I have experienced. Each Futurequest customer is truly treated as family. I have three sites hosted by Futurequest and can strongly recommend them.
As I surf the Internet newsgroups I have found that other’s have suffered the same fate as I did. Usually this happened at hosting companies that offer unlimited transfer and/or unlimited disk space. It makes me wonder if at times sites that become too popular are shunned by the hosting company. I don’t know if there is more than meets the eye concerning my site, but it sure has taught me a thing or two.
Obviously I cannot even remotely recommend Burlee.com to you. I am appalled by their non-flexible attitude and their unwillingness to assist a paying customer. Don’t let this happen to you. You have been warned! Choose your hosting company wisely.
This article is the copyright, April 1999, of Keith Teicher, www.onlineorders.net [http://web.archive.org/web/20050529093814/http://www.onlineorders.net/]. Onlineorders.net is an informational site designed to aid those wishing to add e-commerce capabilities to their web site. It contains lots of information and articles on shopping cart programs and credit card merchant accounts.
So, What Do The CGI Experts Say?
I also asked Burlee.com, Daniel of Chatologica–the producers of WebStats, and Brian Wilson of Perl.com, the following question:
In your expert opinion, can a CGI script cause such a major crash on the server it is installed on, that it warrants a host to terminate the account?
Here’s what they had to say.
Dear Mr. Wong,
Thank you for your e-mail.
It is against the policy of Burlee Networks to comment on private client information to those other than the client. The actions of Burlee Networks are governed by the terms of our hosting contract. These terms are clearly detailed on our Web site. Burlee Networks acts in accordance with the terms of our contract for the protection of our data network and our clients’ Web sites. We do not comment on specific incidents involving our clients for reasons of privacy. I hope this helps explain our position and actions.
* Guess they’re still ducking the issue, then–Michael.