How to Avoid Web hosting and Design Scams like Cramming

The internet can be a fantastic tool for expanding a small business, but free web design and website hosting services aren’t always the way to go. There are web design companies offering free services that turn out to be anything but free. These dishonest web design and hosting services practice an illegal scam known as “cramming”.

Unscrupulous companies gain a client’s trust by offering free website design services and website hosting for a specific period of time. The client is told they will be able to cancel the free service with no obligation at any time. Some offer to automatically cancel the free service when the trial period ends, unless the client chooses to continue service for a low monthly fee. Others require cancellation to avoid monthly charges. The cost often seems too good to be true, and unbeknownst to those who fall victim to this scam, it is.

Dishonest web design and hosting companies gain a victim’s trust by promising a sign-up package complete with instructions for accessing, changing, and canceling services. Sometimes the sign-up packages never arrive. Victims of cramming discover they’ve been duped when they find unexpected service charges on their phone bills, and many times the unexpected service charges aren’t found until after the bills have been paid.

To add insult to injury, unscrupulous web design services guilty of cramming, slap together websites riddled with misspellings and grammatical errors. The websites appear unprofessional, and important facts and vital business information is often left out or misrepresented. No one will find a website created by a dishonest web hosting service because the websites are never promoted or submitted to major search engines. Chances are the small business owner wouldn’t want it to be found anyway.

Avoid becoming a victim of cramming by hiring trusted well-known companies. Don’t accept offers from questionable companies soliciting your business and tempting you with a free introductory offer. Search for web design companies that offer verifiable references and samples of their work. Initiate contact, and seek out web design services after careful consideration and investigation.

If you find yourself a victim of cramming, don’t pay for services you didn’t authorize. Immediately contact the billing company, and file a complaint according to company procedure. The law protects you, and unauthorized charges will be investigated.

In addition, victims of cramming should file a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC is dedicated to fraud prevention by helping consumers spot the warning signs to avoid becoming victims of cramming and other dishonest business practices.