The personal website of Chris Coyier

Got Screwed Trying to Buy chriscoyier.com

Against all better judgment, when I got a shady-looking email offering to sell me chriscoyier.com for $200 bucks, I went through with it.

Now I know that email looks like total spam, but you know some of these domain registrars have no design taste whatsoever. I figured, sure, they have no taste and I am morally opposed to their whole business model, but hey at least I can get my own damn domain name back.

So I fill out their form (even coughing up my credit card number) and submit it. I get a confirmation, which made me feel a bit better.

There was text after I filled out the form that told me that my credit card would not be charged until the domain transfer has gone through. OK, sounds fine. Then a week or so goes by and I hear nothing. I check my bank records and no charge has been made to my account. Hmmm…

Then over a month goes by and still nothing, so I sort of forget about it.

Then I get a call from my mother a few weeks ago. They get some package in the mail for me, a bunch of weird coffee and a coffee maker. I completely don’t put two and two together. I figure I probably accidently checked some stupid box when sending in a credit card bill that signed me up for some protection plan and free coffee. (I get bills sent to my parents permanent address, if you are wondering how my mother factors into this). I tell her to return the package to the sender.

So I’m checking my bank records today, and I see I recently have a credit on there. It was actually that coffee company refunding my account for the coffee. Bizarre, since I never authorized any actual payment for that coffee, especially directly out of my bank account. So I’m poking around my statement in more detail, and I start to see all these weird transactions:

Fourty bucks to “EASY GRANT SUCCES00 OF 00800-4790979″… Uhm… I don’t think so.

There were several charges from this company, and a bunch of other one-offs from very bizarre companies from around the U.S.

SCH*SCHOLASTIC AT HOME 800-955-9877 ($9.95)
DRI*SMART CD CATALOG P ($45.99)

OK, at this point I realize that my credit card has been compromised. But how? I feel like I’m usually pretty safe about these things and it’s not like I lost the card, its right here in my wallet. Then I see it:

WEBNAME SOLUTION MONTREAL ($199.95)

Ahhh. There it is. Before this charge, nothing out of the ordinary. After this charge, the shitstorm begins. The bastards waited a few months, long enough for me to forget about it, and THEN charged me and likely sold my credit card information to some other bad guys.

I am not going to hyperlink directly to the company and help their search rankings in any way, but the name of the company is Webname Solution (webnamesolution.com)

So I call my bank who issued the card. A woman helped me who was extremely helpful and nice. She emailed me a dispute form, which I filled out and had notorized, which details all of the fraudulent transactions. I also canceled the card and she’s sending me out a new one. This will probably be a huge pain in the ass updating the many many online services I use that use that card, but oh well.

So what did I learn from this? Well it’s certainly the last time I ever fill out an online form that looks in the least bit shady. I am smarter than that. I also learned that I still have a fiery sense of revenge. Today, I truly feel like the person who is behind this “company” should be killed. If I knew who is was and was guaranteed to not go to jail for doing it, I’d do it myself.