NewsgroupDirect: My Experiences

2019, Jun 15    

The usenet landscape has changed dramatically in the last decade. People at one point were willing to pay 20 USD a month for the premium speed/retention of Giganews. The price of 5 USD monthly is now considered excessive. Nowadays it has become a quick race to the bottom along with consolidation of the remaining players left in the business. The rise of the reseller has become the new norm. Giganews, Astraweb, Supernews among many others are either gone, consolidated or are shells of their former selves.

I’ve never been one to purchase yearly subscriptions to usenet providers but this is where the competition truly rests especially on Black Friday. I decided to make the switch from my previous provider to test the waters with a yearly promo that would decrease the cost every year 10% for 5 years and also provide vpn access. This seems like a nice deal until they offered an even more limited promo hours later for a 6 month promo that was actually cheaper. This leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Credentials are received quickly except for the vpn ones. I emailed regarding vpn access and was provided credentials to Ghost Path a day later.

I had no real issues until mid May 2019. The “Too Many Connections” errors started appearing when my total open connections were nowhere near the maximum provided limit.

Sunday nights are the real test. I will tolerate some fluctuation on this day but when the specific US server cannot achieve anything faster than 1 kB/s while the German and Netherlands servers have no such issue is quite alarming. I kept seeing this issue until I sent off a support email asking for some information about the issue.

24 hours later the response was a typical everything is working fine at this point in time. They either can’t or won’t check the actual stats of the server at that point in time. This reeks of pure laziness.

I respond highlighting the poor support, slow speeds and connect limit errors. I am also asking for a refund as this is not what I signed up for.

The response comes back over 48 hours later containing yet again more misunderstanding of the issue at hand, refusal of a refund and closing the ticket outright.

I’ve had enough at this point. I find the owner of company on Reddit and send him a message expressing my concerns along with my ticket number.

A response is received very quickly back asking for more information. I respond saying that all pertinent information is in the ticket and to refer to that.

5 days pass since my last message.

I send a followup stating that the owner clearly isn’t interested in this situation given the lack of response of this time period.

A response is received 24 hours later that I will be contacted by a representative that day.

I respond stating that the only resolution is a refund as clearly requested in my previously closed ticket which should have been processed on the owner’s behalf days ago.

Later that day I noticed that I could not login to their usenet servers anymore. I try to login to the website portal and find my account purged. At this point it’s safe to say that they have deleted my account. The only problem is I have no refund details on my Paypal account and no message from the owner or the company that a refund has been issued. All I can do is wait. So much for communication.

The next day around noon I receive a refund in my Paypal account that is close the same price I paid initially but in my local currency instead of USD which is what I paid with originally. Odd.

At this point I’m done. I just wanted out and I’m more or less whole given the situation.

I receive a message on Reddit 2 days later from the owner stating that I should have been refunded when I first started having issues. He further apologized and made it clear that if I had further issues that he was available. Kudos.

I’m glad to see this resolved but the customer service really needs to be addressed. I do expect less from this standpoint given the price but you need to draw the line somewhere. As far as I see, nothing is being done to address the actual server issues that I brought up in this post.