InMotion Hosting recently released its new Backup Manager service which replaced its previous paid backup options and courtesy backup options. Frustratingly, InMotion charged its customers for this service after a 90-day trial unless they manually opted out.
InMotion sent me two emails about the service before charging me. Neither of the emails’ subject lines made it clear that I would be charged for an unexpected service unless I took action. Web hosts commonly send promotional emails and other communications that are unhelpful or unimportant. I assumed both emails from InMotion were of that sort, so I initially ignored them.
I expect many of InMotion’s other customers did the same.
The first email came in April and had a spammy title: “Your Account has been selected.” There was nothing special that caused my account to be selected. Every account like mine got selected. The content of the email also had a spammy feel:
Only in the fine print of the email was there an indication that I would, by default, be automatically enrolled for a paid service:
In May, I got another email. This email’s subject line was “Your Backup Manager is active! Here’s what you need to know.” The subject line didn’t have the spammy vibe of the first email, but it still was not clear that I was going to be charged for something.
The content of the second email was much more helpful for understanding changes InMotion was making:
The email went on to explain that users would automatically be charged for the service unless they manually opted out:
I think InMotion is right that backup service may be more appropriate for automatic opt-in than many other services. That said, I’m inclined to believe InMotion’s decision to release Backup Manager in the manner it did was largely motivated by a desire for more revenue. If InMotion had emailed me a few days before charging me with a subject like “Unless you opt-out, you will be charged shortly”, then I might feel differently.
I reached out to InMotion’s support team after being charged for Backup Manager. Fortunately, they agreed to refund the amount I was charged for Backup Manager. I expect InMotion knows that most people who were unexpectedly charged won’t bother to reach out for a refund. I probably wouldn’t have done so if I wasn’t running a business evaluating web hosts.