Billing is probably the most touchy of web hosting issues that has to occasionally be dealt with. When it comes to billing, a web host has the understanding that the customer will pay their dues no matter what the situation. Poor record keeping simply isn’t possible in their minds. To the hosting company, all employees are doing their jobs 100% of the time, and all confusion is caused by a lack of understanding by the customer. There’s also a lot of people out there who like to scam the hosting companies out of their monthly dues in order to get free hosting for awhile. The companies now have to take measures to prevent this, and often their actual paying customers may suffer from it.
One thing that must be done is for the customer to keep the payment records to their hosting company as far back as when they first signed up with them. This way, documentation can be submitted on the off chance that a host’s payment system fails to note a payment made by the customer. You may find that this type of resolution system is very annoying while trying to run your business, but it has to be done. Any business owner should practice good record keeping throughout all functions of their company anyway.
Resolving payment issues will probably take quite some time because most tech support staff is not trusted to handle accounting matters. It’s best to continue payments throughout the time it takes to resolve the issue, and be granted that a future payment be waived or that a refund check be issued. This way, your account never becomes suspended and your business does not get temporarily shut down. It may seem wrong to keep paying a web host an unfair amount of money, but paying an extra $10 for a single month that is likely to be refunded anyway is a lot better than loosing business for an unpredictable amount of time.
Many webmasters make the mistake of switching web hosts due to a single billing issue. They then attempt to move their website to another location, thinking that “Okay, now I’m not getting screwed over for $10 anymore”. What they don’t do is think about the fact that they’ve never dealt with any other company before, and they have the same chance (maybe even a better chance) of encountering a problem with the new host in the future. In the meantime, they now have to go through all the trouble of moving their website, databases, and changing around their configuring in order to match the new host’s needs. After all is said and done, the site may be down for enough time to loose more than $10 worth of business anyway.
Though you may feel like a web host demanding unfair billing charges is wrong, don’t take out your anger on your business. Some things just happen. Radical steps should only be taken if the problem becomes repetitive. Otherwise, it’s not worth the effort or the consequences that may result from taking extreme measures.