From the annals of bad customer service: ServerBeach

In trying to compare server hosting companies, I tried to get an account at ServerBeach. I filled in my name, address, credit card info, etc. and submitted it. I was told it takes 24 hours to provision a server.

That’s not surprising because they may have to go physically set up a machine and then install an OS on the machine, which takes a human, so I waited. The next day they called and, because I was unavailable, they left a voice mail asking me to call them to confirm my credit card info. I called back the next day and the customer support person, a “Beach Buddy”, was unavailable so I left him voice mail. I didn’t hear anything for another 48 hours when I got this email:

Hello Troy,

I apologize but since I have not heard back from you, I have denied the order and have ceased the provisioning process. If you would still like to do business with us please call 1-888-840-9091 and speak to one of our Business Development Consultants.  Thank you for your time and considering ServerBeach.

Fernando Rodriguez Jr.
Customer Care
ServerBeach -For Geeks by Geeks

WTF? He did hear from me, I left voice mail. I replied telling him that I did return his call 2 days ago:

I returned your call on Saturday and left a voice mail, waited patiently and I never heard back. Now you just go cancel the order.

He replied, telling me that he didn’t even listen to his voice mail before deciding I hadn’t called him back:

Hello Troy,

I apologize, I have not been in the office today to listen to my messages.  If you do not mind, please email me a photo of your ID and Credit Card used to place the order.  We request this of you as a precaution against identity theft.  It is for your protection as well as my company’s.  Thank you for your time and for your understanding.

Fernando Rodriguez Jr.
Beach Buddy | Customer Care

This company makes it difficult to become a customer under the guise of protecting them. It’s not true, it only protects them, not me. Credit card thieves buy real goods, they don’t steal credit cards so they can host a web site. ServerBeach does this so they don’t waste time setting up a server they may not get paid for, not to keep my identity safe. They should do it, but they should do it quickly and they shouldn’t pretend they’re doing it for anyone but themselves.

I tried to explain all of this to another customer support person, but he couldn’t understand what went wrong, insisting that it was because I refused to call them and provide them with the info they need. The original customer support emailed me again with the reason this problem occurred:

I did explain that I was not in the office today and in my haste on Friday I apologize for not posting our office hours in my correspondence with you. Something I am rectifying in my signature now for future correspondences with any client.

He thinks the problem was that I didn’t know his office hours, not that he didn’t check his voice mail. In other words, it’s my fault, not his.

If ServerBeach is this bad at handling new customers and the sales part of the business, I can’t imagine they’re very good at solving hardware and software problems for existing customers.

FWIW, of all the hosting companies I signed up for, only one, Rackspace, required such a double-check. But Rackspace called within 5 minutes and my account was ready to go 15 minutes after requesting it. ServerBeach waited 24 hours and then another 48 hours.

4 thoughts on “From the annals of bad customer service: ServerBeach

  1. Hi Troy, my name is Rajan and I’m with ServerBeach and PEER 1 Hosting. I’m terribly sorry to hear about your experience with us. We quite obviously failed you, as well as living up to our promise of delivering truly excellent customer service. This really sucks. I would like to arrange a follow up with you from Dax Moreno, our general manager of ServerBeach. Please email me at rsodhi@serverbeach.com with details on how we can reach you. Thank you for your time.

  2. Funny, when I was trying to resolve it with your customer service people, they just insisted that it’s my fault and kept insisting that I fax (!) a copy of my credit card and photo ID to you. I don’t have a fax (it’s 2011, not 1992) so I couldn’t do that. I then got a final “go screw yourself” email from Fernando:

    Hello Troy,
    I understand your frustration, but this is our procedure and I must follow it. I wish you good fortune and hope you get good service from anyone you choose to do business with.

    Thank you for your time and for considering ServerBeach.

    Fernando Rodriguez Jr.
    Beach Buddy | Customer Care
    toll free: 1-877-770-0266

    I appreciate your attempt to resolve it 4 days later after you find this blog post. 4 days is better than 5 days, but what would happen if I had a problem with a server? Would I have to argue for a week to convince the tech support staff that they need to fix something?

    I also got a phone call from Dax Moreno, but as far as I’m concerned, the sign-up process is part of the interview process and ServerBeach failed. As Fernando says, I wish you good fortune.

    1. Reading through the thread, I understand your frustration, Troy. Of course, I would love another shot to earn your trust. The feedback you’ve provided has been very valuable and I’m taking it to heart. Dax is reviewing the process and how we can make the sign up process much easier and more responsive. As I said earlier, we failed here. If you ever reconsider, we would love another chance to be your hosting provider.

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