Case studies

Customer service fail: GoDaddy’s outrageous experience

Published January 25, 2019·Written by Wonderflow

customer service fail - the godaddy gate story of an outrageous experience - wonderflow

GoDaddy is the largest domain name registrar in the world with more than 18 million customers. In this video, through a negative personal experience with this enterprise, we are going to discover three key insights about customer service from a corporate perspective.

Today I will tell you the bizarre experience that I had with one of the largest domain registrars in the world.


Today’s video is quite different compared to the other ones, as I won’t be talking about theory but about a real story that happened to me.

I generally never talk about negative experiences as I believe that sharing positive stories is more inspiring for everyone. However, this time I really feel the need to share what happened as I find what happened pretty bad, and the way the company has managed the situation was a complete disaster.

You may be wondering which company I am talking about…it is Godaddy, one of the largest domain registrar in the world…but let me tell you the full story. Then I want to discuss the key learnings and also the possibilities may be for them to improve so that other customers won’t end up in a similar situation in the future.

On the 15th of October, I ended up on Godaddy while I was searching for a specific domain name that I am not going to mention in this video. I found out that Godaddy was actually selling that domain at a fixed price. The domain was listed as “premium domain”. If you read Godaddy’s description of a premium domain, it says literally:

At GoDaddy, Premium Domains are names that someone purchased, and then put up for auction on the aftermarket. You pay the seller’s price, and then the Premium Domain is yours.

So they clearly say that the owner of the domain put it up for an auction in the aftermarket, and decided a price for the sale. This price is usually higher than in other domains, due to their intrinsic value. Remember this, because it would be crucial for you to value if Godaddy acts in a fraudulent way, or not.

Getting back to us…I ended up on Godaddy to buy a premium domain. They were listing it for 3459 euros, with transaction guaranteed by Godaddy. Remember…they call it guaranteed!

I bought the domain for 3459 euros using iDeal as a payment method. For who don’t know, Ideal is the most common online payment method in the Netherlands, supported by most e-commerce platforms, including Godaddy.

Two weeks after the domain transfer has not happened yet, and I reached out to Godaddy customer service. They started an investigation that ended up on November 20th…yes, you got it right…20 days, It took 20 days.

They informed me that the seller didn’t want to sell the domain and that they were refunding the money. I immediately contacted them again to know more about this story…and if you still didn’t get how they operate, I will explain it to you now.

Their operators told me that they had no relationship whatsoever with the seller, so they pretended to have the right to sell that domain, while it was not true. They reached out to the seller only after I paid almost 3500 euros, and it took them two weeks to realize that he didn’t want to sell it. And now the seller wants much more than 3.5K

If you list a domain for sale, pretending that you have the right to sell it, and even guaranteeing the transaction, then I need you to respect the promise and I cannot imagine that this is a scam, instead.

So, lesson number one: Never buy a premium domain from Godaddy, as they may not have any contact with the seller and there are good chances that they fuck up your deal!

What happened afterward is even worse…bizarre, to say the least.

After some days I still didn’t see the 3459 euros back to my bank account, so I contacted Godaddy’s customer care. They informed me that since I paid with iDeal, they were not able to refund the money as they would do if you use a credit card, and the only way was to send a bank cheque via standard mail from the US to the Netherlands.

Let me repeat this. I paid with bank transfer, using ideal, and I am supposed to receive my money back with a cheque sent overseas, that would take weeks to arrive? Are you serious? In 2019?

For your information, cheques haven’t been in common use in the Netherlands for years already…just so that you understand how ridiculous this procedure is.

End of the story? I received and cashed a cheque of 3444€ only the 8th of January, three months after I made the purchase. I have received less money than what I paid, probably due to the fluctuation of Euros and dollars. Last but not least, I have been charged 35€ by my bank to cash the cheque.

To sum it up, it cost me 50€ and 3 months of time to have my money back…. Money that if Godaddy was a serious company, would have never left my bank account.

Let’s now try to find a way to learn from this, from a corporate perspective. I found three key learnings:


-One. never lie to customers, it will result in big troubles for them and much bigger for you. If you really want to lie, make sure your customer care operators don’t say the truth then!

-Two. don’t offer a service in a country where you are unable to offer a decent level of service. If you support a digital payment method make sure you can also refund clients in a digital way and not like in the stone age with a cheque.

-Three. If you are an executive at Godaddy you need to find a way to get to know when this type of experiences happen, create a communication channel and analyze what happens outside the company.

One unhappy customer will influence hundreds or thousands of potential ones…as it is happening with this video. Preventing bad things to happen is always better than working on engagement and trying to fix the situation afterward.

Learn about customer feedback, like ours, can benefit many different areas of a company here.

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