I wrote this on 5th August worrying that this may be my last post to this site – barring some miracle happening.
My hosting account so far for the past 5 years has been www.godaddy.com. (Even though this blog has been active only in the past 6 months I had the domain name for a while now and had my own personal photo gallery etc on it). My bank for the past 4.5 years has been www.hdfcbank.com. So far no issues with them. Every month GoDaddy posts a transaction for my monthly hosting amount, it shows up nice & neat on my credit card, HDFC pays GoDaddy, I pay my credit card bill and all of us are happy.
Aug 2nd: GoDaddy tries to post a transaction for my monthly billing for my hosting account to my credit card. HDFCbank denies the transaction and GoDaddy sends me a nice little emails telling me that they were not able to get their payment for the month. I was a bit surprised since my credit card is never close to being maxed out (as far as I have known) and no where near being near its expiry date. I didn’t think too much of the email till the next day when it struck me that there is something more to it than that.
Aug 3rd: A call to HDFCBank gets me in touch with my first “Hell-line” assistant – who can only mumble something about verified by Visa being required since August first and that I should go enable it on my credit card before I make a purchase online and when I make a purchase I have to go convince the vendor to also go register online for secure access/verified by Visa as well. I blow my top since I have had this crappy Verified by Visa authentication enabled on my card from around October last year and all it has done is confound me with one additional field to fill in on the Airtel Website when I pay my broadband bill. When I ask why something has changed suddenly the “hell-line” person has no answer. He refuses to get me in touch with a supervisor who could answer this question and tells me to first check with the vendor if there was a problem on their side ! I give up after having had enough for the day. I had missed work being sick with fever and this added to my feeling sick.
Aug 4th: Another call to another HDFC credit card “hell line” person who is not able to even mumble anything about the verified by Visa but mumbles something else that their own systems were having issues over the past few days. But regardless I should still talk to my vendor and convince them to get on Verified by Visa. I yell a bit at the person and then I remember some spam mail I kept getting from someone from HDFC who was marked as my “Relationship” Manager – since I was a reliable sucker for the past 4 years dutifully dropping my money in their bank and generally wasting my time. The Relationship Manager was shocked to hear from me but recovered quickly – however she was more the relationship kind only and needed an email with everything explained in simple terms for her to send someplace else. I did that and crossed my fingers.
I checked several times through the day, whenever I could if the GoDaddy hell line could be reached – but always had a wait time of over 20 minutes. Didn’t feel like blowing ISD rates just listening to music so sent a support incident using the GoDaddy contact page. Plus fever still hadn’t gone and was trying to rest a bit.
Suddenly my fevered brain thinks I may be able to use PayPal. So hobble over to the computer and do the initial part of the Paypal account creation. Am stuck when I try to link my credit card – since the authorization Paypal does with your card to verify it – was denied by the bank again ! So no luck and back to square one.
I tweet about this and get some friends on FB asking details – but it is very clear no one has faced this recently/till now.
I come across yet another link on the net talking about this http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/rbi-tightens-online-card-use/364772/. I try being patient since I sent out emails to GoDaddy and to HDFC. I go for work for the first time after being a patient down with fever for the 3 days prior to today and somehow manage to last a long long hectic day. Come back home at 10 PM with fever and a nasty headache again !
I had given my gmail address in the contact form on the net – but strangely the reply comes to my hotmail account since that was what was used years ago signing up for hosting. Guess what a standard Level One type answer here:
Dear Sushil Cherian,
Thank you for contacting online support.
Please ensure to update your payment methods on file as one of the credit cards is expired. We would recommend updating this information and then contacting your financial institution directly if the issue continues.
To manage the payment methods for your domains or services, please follow the directions below:
<whole page of instructions follow on how to update my credit card on file – and so detailed I wanted to repeatedly beat my head on the nearest wall>
I blow my top – first then calm down and nicely write up a reply (without capital letters or swear words – I promise) telling them that the card mentioned as being expired is just listed in my account (among 2 cards listed there) as an old card that was used 2 years ago- it was not used in the last 2 years. The card I am talking about was the one that was used till July 2009 with no problems and which has not yet expired and of course will not expire for several months more. I again politely ask about Verified by Visa.
HDFC Bank : No update from them at all till now.
I begin to get a bad feeling about all this and start emailing all my key friends who have web hosting and ask for suggestions of alternative web hosting – since I think there is just a few days before I have to move all my data off and start afresh. I get reccommendations from Ajith Edassery (www.dollarshower.com) , George (www.wheelosphere.org), Danesh (www.daneshzaki.com) and Fas (www.motorbeam.com). Thanks a lot – all of you for patiently answering my several questions.
Got this email from Go Daddy Support:
Dear Sushil Cherian,
Please note that in order for a product to renew with the correct payment method, the product must be assigned to that payment method. To make sure a product is using the correct payment method to renew, you will need to update it within your account.
To change the payment method for domains and services, follow the directions below:
First, log into your account:
• Go to the Go Daddy Account Login Page
• Log in using your account username <lots more useful info and steps follow filling another page. Stuff that just made my eyes bleed !>
I come home from work early since I felt the need to visit the doctor again. Still worrying about the issue with the hosting – The plan that had vaguely made sense of paying by the month leaving me the luxury to move to another better host at moments notice seemed to have backfired on me ! Doc when visited asks me to take rest and do a blood test for Typhoid !
I went for the blood test, came back extremely tired and want to just sleep. I do so and when I woke up after a long nap I remembered I had one other credit card that I have not used till now – which was not Verified by Visa ! I jump up from my sick bed and feverishly type in the card details into GoDaddy renewal manual transaction page. I renew my hosting for all my domains at one shot – and sit biting my nails with my fingers and toes crossed while the transaction goes through. Finally it does and gives me a receipt number ! I almost kissed the screen !
5 PM – spent most of the day sleeping – when I get a call from an unknown number – thinking it may be someone from work I answer to hear someone from HDFC Bank asking about my card transaction that had failed. Of course I had to explain the whole detail till I started feeling sick again and of course they ask for a screen shot to be emailed. I do that. That should keep them busy for a minute. Of course there is no support request number for follow up etc – to ever prove I had called them on Aug 4th etc.
No typhoid – just needed some rest – I got the rest and am feeling much better now.
So whats the reason for this post – well it just is that the RBI new directive just means nothing if it comes in the way of your trying to transact online – with a vendor outside India who just doesnt care. So from now on – we can forget buying stuff from online stores outside India with our credit cards. If we do – we need to use cards that are not verified by Visa or Secured by Mastercard ! Which again defeats the good old RBI mandate. It may soon become easier to trade in goats and sheep than to use a credit card for an online transaction.
HDFC still has no answer – may never have , GoDaddy still thinks my card from 2007 which I possibly couldnt have used for the past 2 years is still the cause of the error. Glad I had a card from another Indian bank that went through !