Automated billing is not the way to go!

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  • Updated 8 years ago
Even though my renew of my account isn't until January 2013, because it's the holidays, on November 18 2012, I authorized a renew name:
Renew domain: Annually First Payment: $15.95 AUD (Thereafter: $15.95 AUD annually) 13th November 2013
Registration information privacy for Annually First Payment: $10.95 AUD (Thereafter: $10.95 AUD annually)

But, without authorization I get a Paypal bill for $108.90, why?
Then a bill for $134.90 to Paypal. why? Automated billing is the lazy business why of dealing with customers.

Helena Griffiths
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HG Pottery

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Posted 8 years ago

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Photo of Gop


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Hello Helena,

I hate giving access to businesses for automatically accessing my funds and I think that many people feel similarly. Auto-billing can certainly be the lazy transaction method but I think that there is another level to this also. With so many accounts that Yola appear to have and then to need to manually follow up on delinquent payment would be a very large task probably demanding a significant increase in staff to follow up on these. That would undoubtedly increase the over-heads and that would need to be offset.

We've seen on this forum a noticeable number of unintentional lapsed accounts and these are associated with non-auto billing. Users get very frustrated and some devastated that their accounts have lapsed or that their domains have lapsed and hit a sudden and in some cases un-redeemable death. It's quite likely that a non-auto-renewal would increase this situation more.

Non auto-renewal generally works for customers who are diligent and track everything. I think that this is a decreasing number of subscribers generally, not with Yola specifically, so I'm guessing that a non-default auto would really increase the numbers of disappointed customers. Yola do offer the non-auto payment method for people who wish to do this specifically.
Photo of Monique


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Thanks Gop! I was writing my reply and you beat me to it! Thanks for noticing the distress of customers who lose their domains and have their sites go offline. I wish it were true that this were a "lazy" transaction method. The fact is the "lazier" it appears, the more hard work is going on behind the scenes to get it working right.
Photo of Monique


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Hi Helena

Our billing department would be happy to clear up any questions you have regarding charges you have received. I will ask them to email you privately to explain the charges.

Thank you for being such a diligent customer and renewing early! However, I would like to respond to your comment that automated billing is not the way to go, and that it is a "lazy way of dealing with customers."

1) Automated billing is standard practice for web services for the simple reason that the continual availability of a website is critical to anyone's business. Just see how frantic and upset people get if their site goes offline for any length of time and realize that they are losing business as a result! Secondly, and most importantly, when a domain name is not renewed it can be difficult or impossible to retrieve. A best case scenario involves waiting weeks or months for the domain to be cleared through the registry before it can be repurchased. A worst case scenario involves never getting that domain again because someone else has snapped it up, either for their own use, or to sell back to you at an extortionate fee. Now imagine that you have spent months promoting your site, driving traffic to it, putting your domain name out there on your printed and electronic communications, and consider the cost to your business for losing a domain name which could have been automatically and effortlessly renewed for a very small fee. Myself and the rest of the support team have personally dealt with too many of these cases and wished there was something, anything, we could do to help the customer and there just isn't. Holidays, missed emails, tight schedules, any number of issues can cause someone to overlook the renewal date for their domain and suffer really serious consequences as a result. Even one such case is enough to make me believe that automatic billing for web services is the best idea ever.

2) Yola does not use automated billing because it is a "lazy" solution or involves less effort. Quite the contrary, the amount of development work in maintaining a reliable and secure automated billing infrastructure is vastly more than simply having customers renew manually. It took us a number of years to build this system and we still work very hard to maintain and improve it.

As someone who worked for Yola during the time when we had manual renewals I have mixed feelings. Selfishly confess that I miss manual billing because it was so much less work for our engineering and support team. But in terms of making sure that our customer's sites always stay up and that they never have to go through the grief of losing their business domain name, I am extremely grateful to have this in place. It gives me piece of mind to know that we have matured to the point that we are inline with industry best practice and are doing all in our power to ensure uninterrupted service to our customers.

We realize that there is some adjustment involved for customers who are used to manual billing. However, we hope that in time the advantages of this system will be understood. We are also continuing to work to make it a clearer, more streamlined process for all concerned.

I hope my reply goes some way to explaining our billing practices. Jackie will be emailing you shortly to assist with your specific query.