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Joyent Drops Lifetime Account Holders

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the nothing-lasts-forever dept.

Businesses 443

New submitter samnorsk writes "I've long been a lifetime account holder of an old textdrive (now Joyent) cloud hosting account. I remember purchasing the account back in college for a few hundred bucks when I really didn't have the money to spend. At the time, I thought that the opportunity to have a persistent lifetime shell / web hosting account would be valuable. This would be a resource I could fall back on no matter what my current situation was. Now, I just received an email stating that Joyent intends to shut down my lifetime account. Quoting: 'We appreciate and value you as one of Joyent's lifetime Shared Hosting customers. As this service is one of our earliest offerings, and has now run its course, your lifetime service will end on October 31, 2012.' They do offer a 512MB cloud machine for one year, but presumably if we don't take that, we're done. In any case, our lifetime commitment would still be dropped in one year if we take that offer. How is it fair or legal for a 'lifetime account' to end when it is no longer convenient for the company? For reference, this was the original offer. In it, they state: 'How long is it good for? As long as we exist.'"

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443 comments

Just be happy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026119)

that they don't kill you.

Re:Just be happy (2)

sunking2 (521698) | about 2 years ago | (#41026213)

I think that comes with the 'still be dropped in one year' part.

Recourse (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026133)

Smells like a class action suit to me...

Re:Recourse (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#41026171)

Smells like a class action suit to me...

Sounds like the old clause: "Subject to change without notice" at work.

Re:Recourse (5, Interesting)

hobarrera (2008506) | about 2 years ago | (#41026261)

In many cases, judges have ruled that the changes cannot be so unbalanced towards one side. "No longer providing a service you have already paid for without any compensation" sounds like a case that would most likely result in this.

Re:Recourse (5, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 years ago | (#41026549)

I'm not a lawyer, but he may have a case. Joyent may in fact already know this and calculated it cheaper to settle on offering a lifetime account again --on a per user basis--. The idea betting on all other account holders shrugging it off. In the end, Joyent saves money.

Re:Recourse (3, Informative)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about 2 years ago | (#41026627)

\ Joyent may in fact already know this and calculated it cheaper to settle on offering a lifetime account again --on a per user basis--.

Given that all the responses on their forum say something to the effect of "contact support and we'll work it out" I think you may have a point.

Re:Recourse (3, Informative)

RandomUsername99 (574692) | about 2 years ago | (#41026299)

It doesn't say anything of the sort under their Terms of Service at the time, available through the wayback link.

Re:Recourse (4, Insightful)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 2 years ago | (#41026383)

Link is here [archive.org]

Agreed, nothing in the TOS talks about cancellation, and given the boilerplate nature of such things, me thinks they can cancel it if they want. Besides, how much money are you going to spend to fight them in court? Me thinks, not much.

And more importantly, how many other people are in your situation? Me thinks not many.

'Not Much' + 'Not Many' = you get to find another solution. And of course rightfully bitch about them publicly :)

Re:Recourse (5, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | about 2 years ago | (#41026567)

I'd file in small claims court for the original amount paid. If they don't send a representative you win a default judgement and send them a letter including the court document link. If they don't pay you turn them over to a collection agency (trust me NO company wants a collection agency showing up in a credit report).

ask for more than that (4, Insightful)

Chirs (87576) | about 2 years ago | (#41026643)

Ask for the original amount paid, plus money for your time and hassle setting up a new account and moving everything over to it.

Re:Recourse (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 2 years ago | (#41026585)

You can file a suit in small claims court for $10-$100 (depending on the state/county you live in). And I'd guess many of their customers are aspie types that would file a small claims suit against them.

Re:Recourse (3, Insightful)

Skapare (16644) | about 2 years ago | (#41026725)

If enough individuals file separate small claims suits, then THEY will be the ones wanting to consolidate into a class action.

Re:Recourse (1)

RandomUsername99 (574692) | about 2 years ago | (#41026755)

If they're selling you something as a lifetime subscription, that's a very specific thing that you're paying for. They have to disclose if that claim has caveats (for example, they can cancel it), not the other way around.

I can't sell you lifetime (as long as I'm in business) personal chef service for $5,000 and then, the next day, say that I'm sunsetting the service because it had 'run its course'. Same thing here. A class action is the way to go. You should be able to get a firm to take it on.

Re:Recourse (0)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#41026475)

It doesn't say anything of the sort under their Terms of Service at the time, available through the wayback link.

It says"

How long is it good for?
As long as we exist.

The original company no longer exists, and only half of the principals there of, are participants in the new owners.

Still, one wonders why he can't move all of that into a virtual machine and put the storage in his cloud. That is after all their current line of business is it not?

Re:Recourse (5, Insightful)

jimbolauski (882977) | about 2 years ago | (#41026623)

It doesn't say anything of the sort under their Terms of Service at the time, available through the wayback link.

It says"

How long is it good for? As long as we exist.

The original company no longer exists, and only half of the principals there of, are participants in the new owners.

Still, one wonders why he can't move all of that into a virtual machine and put the storage in his cloud. That is after all their current line of business is it not?

Unless a bankruptcy ruling released them from those lifetime commitments there is no way out, when you purchase a company you don't just purchase its assets you get everything including any commitments they made and any liabilities they have.

Re:Recourse (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026695)

IANAL: The original company may not exists, but at a lot of contract law has to do with how entities behave. If the new incarnation continued to honor the original terms for some length of time, then they may have actually become bound by the contract. It also depends greatly on how the old company became the new company. At the very least I would try to find a lawyer who is willing to give the situation a look.

Re:Recourse (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026451)

Sounds like the old clause: "Subject to change without notice" at work.

Wait'll Steam shuts down. Whether it's in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, if it's hosted in the cloud, it'll eventually go away. If it's hosted on your own drive, and copied to your backup drive that's in a geographically-remote location, it's yours forever.

Re:Recourse (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about 2 years ago | (#41026733)

If it's hosted on your own drive, and copied to your backup drive that's in a geographically-remote location, it's yours until Microsoft works out how to get proper trusted computing implemented on all new PC hardware and your last hard drive from your old computers packs in.

There FTFY.

More like Small Claims (1)

pepty (1976012) | about 2 years ago | (#41026595)

Probably win by default. Not only that but he'd actually get his money back this year as opposed to waiting til ~2015 and then have it go to the lawyers.

Re:Recourse (4, Interesting)

swell (195815) | about 2 years ago | (#41026715)

Forget class action- after attorney fees you will have little or nothing.

Small claims court is what you want. There are some huge advantages: 1- low cost to file. 2- attorneys are not allowed- only plaintiff and defendant. 3- if defendant does not appear, he will usually lose automatically. What's the chance that the CEO will come to your town to contest a $500 claim?

Sometimes there is difficulty collecting your judgement if, for instance, an individual skips town. This defendant is easy to find and easy to force payment from.

Usually you can only make them pay for actual costs. No 'pain and suffering' claims, etc. IANAL, check the rules where you live.

Have fun. If hundreds do the same you might actually be a nuisance to them.

Ask for a refund (5, Insightful)

qwijibo (101731) | about 2 years ago | (#41026137)

They're voluntarily discontinuing the service, they should be willing to pay the $499 back to those who ask for it.

Re:Ask for a refund (2)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 2 years ago | (#41026211)

This, right here.

If it is available or you have a copy, go over the original terms and conditions docs you got when you purchased it. Unless there's weasel-wording in there (there likely is), you can possibly take them to small-claims court for at least the money you initially paid.

Re:Ask for a refund (5, Informative)

ari_j (90255) | about 2 years ago | (#41026415)

From their terms of service [archive.org] at the time of the offer, remedies are limited to refund of the amount paid and disputes over $250 must be arbitrated. "Lifetime" is not defined but their offer clearly says "as long as we exist" and they do still exist. If it were me, I would go for the refund and be thankful for 6 years of free use.

Re:Ask for a refund (3, Insightful)

thesameguy (1047504) | about 2 years ago | (#41026501)

Do they actually still exist? I was under the impression the agreement was with textdrive, and textdrive no longer exists (having been bought by Joyent).

Re:Ask for a refund (0)

WRX SKy (1118003) | about 2 years ago | (#41026563)

Bingo. Wish I had mod points for you. His agreement was with Joyent. I do not believe the new owners have to honor that agreement as Joyent no longer exists.

new owner may need to honour preexisting contracts (4, Insightful)

Chirs (87576) | about 2 years ago | (#41026689)

I don't know how the contract law works in the USA, but I would expect that when one company buys another company any pre-existing contract agreements would still need to be upheld.

Re:Ask for a refund (1)

Formorian (1111751) | about 2 years ago | (#41026711)

Um Joyent still exists, textdrive no longer does. So if your $200 for lifetime with textdrive, fine company is gone. But some people paid $500 with Joynet, as long as that company exists shouldn't they either keep the lifetime or give back $500?

Re:Ask for a refund (4, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#41026739)

Usually when a company buys another company, they are obligated by law to assume company one's contractual obligations. For example Saturn Car Company may no longer exist but its parent GM must still provide warranty service & 20 years of stock parts under the law. (Ditto with Plymouth which does not exist but Chrysler... and later Daimler-Chrysler... must still continue warranty service & parts.)

BTW I wouldn't make a big deal about the refund. If the company refuses to refund $499, then negotiate a refund of half that, plus a free account on their current service. It's not worth the effort to goto small-claims court over a tiny $249. (Of course if they refuse to refund Any money then I'd file the claim.)

Re:Ask for a refund (1)

Formorian (1111751) | about 2 years ago | (#41026769)

Some people may have paid the original $200 for lifetime with textdrive, but some may have paid the $500 with joyent. As Joyent still exists the $500 people have a right to refund or continued service IMO. Those with textdrive, since that no longer exists (unless something was sent by joyent stating they would honor it until their company lifetime or yours, whichever is shorter) then no you shouldn't get your $200 back.

Re:Ask for a refund (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#41026313)

They are clearly playing the "my lawyers and bigger than your lawyers" card. They're the corporation so some dope, powerless individual isn't going to have any power, right?

Several people affected need to get together and pay a lawyer to write a letter...

Re:Ask for a refund (4, Insightful)

qwijibo (101731) | about 2 years ago | (#41026477)

If you have to deal with a lawyer or go to court, you've already lost. Going down that path suggests your time is totally worthless, as is your money.

I don't see why more people don't think of something as simple as responding with a polite request for a refund. Is it really worth their time to deal with bad PR and the deluge of hate emails/calls to their support people from a bunch of annoyed /.ers? Hint: it's really easy to waste many thousands of dollars on dealing with annoyed customers. There's got to be a limited number of people who have the lifetime product, so there's a finite amount that refunds would cost the company to get out of the deal with the least hassle.

Re:Ask for a refund (1)

cp5i6 (544080) | about 2 years ago | (#41026329)

Plus interest and time value lost and potential value of data stored now that the service you paid full price for is no longer available.

Re:Ask for a refund (1)

qwijibo (101731) | about 2 years ago | (#41026577)

The deal implies that you're SOL if they go out of business. In that case, backing up your data has always been your problem. I pay $20/year for 20GB of storage from Amazon. You can make up all sorts of reasons they're bad people, but why not get the $499 back, move on and go somewhere else. That's almost 25 years of service for more space from Amazon, so that seems like the path with the least wasted time.

Re:Ask for a refund (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026339)

no, he should ask for all the extra money he paid all those years believeing the account was secure for lifetime.

Re:Ask for a refund (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 years ago | (#41026355)

They're voluntarily discontinuing the service, they should be willing to pay the $499 back to those who ask for it.

Plus interest. If they only pay back the original sum they've converted the lifetime offer into an interest free loan, under false pretenses, for their benefit. And that's not even accounting for inflation.

Re:Ask for a refund (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 2 years ago | (#41026455)

Arguably, they can claim that the loan's "interest" was the years of service they did provide. They should definitely be on the hook for the original fee, though.

Re:Ask for a refund (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about 2 years ago | (#41026361)

The interest on $499 (say $20 / year) would pay for a better specified dedicated server [wikipedia.org] . The guys should demand get a full refund with interest.

They are a company (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026143)

They can do whatever they want. May not be fair, but life isn't fair.

Re:They are a company (1)

jythie (914043) | about 2 years ago | (#41026311)

There are limits to what a company can do, esp when it has agreed to provide a service and already received payment, which is the case here.

Re:They are a company (3, Insightful)

RandomUsername99 (574692) | about 2 years ago | (#41026411)

Wrong. If a company does not provide the goods or services that they sold you, in this case, a lifetime account, that's illegal in the US. There aren't even any shady "subject to change" clauses in the original ToS.

If I, as a company, were to sell you a lifetime of free car repair for $5,000 today, and then tomorrow say I was not going to do it anymore, even though I wasn't shutting down, simply because I felt that the service had 'run its course', then that would be illegal. This is no different.

Do you have the money to take them to court? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026147)

Cause if you don't, you're probably screwed. If nothing else figure out the interest on your original $500, take them to court for the new amount, get it back and basically have gotten all their services free since you signed up because of them voiding their contract.

Re:Do you have the money to take them to court? (2)

qwijibo (101731) | about 2 years ago | (#41026247)

It would be a small claims case, so not much to file a case.

However, the reference to something coming in February 2006 implies they've been in business for over 6 years. That suggests that if they're smart, they just refund the $499 to anyone who asks, or offer them double in future service credits. How long would $1000 worth of service credits last?

What are they thinking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026163)

Well that is some bullshit, pure and simple.

Class action (1)

Rinisari (521266) | about 2 years ago | (#41026175)

I smell a class action, if enough people rely on this lifetime service, and a loss of that service would demonstrably financially harm them.

Re:Class action (0)

multicoregeneral (2618207) | about 2 years ago | (#41026201)

All depends on how they defined lifetime. I don't know this case specifically, but I would be shocked if lifetime was defined as anything but "the lifetime of the product" or as long as we feel like doing it. Sucks, I know, but I doubt it's illegal.

Re:Class action (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026239)

Did you even read the fucking excerpt, it said clearly that as long as the company exists the lifetime offer is valid.

This is also reflected in the original ad which points out it's the same company as now.

Re:Class action (1)

scubamage (727538) | about 2 years ago | (#41026293)

If they clearly state "as long as we exist" as one of the selling points, then I don't think that they can wrangle out of it quite that easily.

Re:Class action (1)

cp5i6 (544080) | about 2 years ago | (#41026369)

create a new company and sell the assets to the new entity for 1$

done.

Re:Class action (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | about 2 years ago | (#41026655)

Except for the fact that _they no longer exist_. That seems a pretty clear way to get out of "as long as we exist"...

The original agreement was with Textdrive. Textdrive is now Joyent -- therefore Textdrive does not exist.

Re:Class action / "As long as we exist" = lifetime (1)

neurocutie (677249) | about 2 years ago | (#41026307)

'How long is it good for? As long as we exist.'"

I think this statement is fairly clear as to the definition of "lifetime". No they could re-incorporate, etc so that the old "they" no longer exists, but otherwise... I'd say that its time for a lawsuit, or at least start by having a lawyer-friend draft a simple letter that threatens a lawsuit...

Re:Class action / "As long as we exist" = lifetime (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | about 2 years ago | (#41026697)

RTFS:

"I've long been a lifetime account holder of an old textdrive (now Joyent) cloud hosting account.

The original agreement was with Textdrive. It is now with Joyent. This implies that Textdrive no longer exists.

Re:Class action (1)

wfolta (603698) | about 2 years ago | (#41026435)

The link points to the original offer, which does not qualify the offer at all. That offer does have links to a FAQ, an Acceptable Use page, and a Terms of Service page. The FAQ link is dead, while the Terms of Service is specific to one of the parts of the offer that was priced monthly and thus doesn't acknowledge a Lifetime Offer.

It does look like you got 6 years of bundled service for $500, which might be perceived as a reasonable value compared to the services individually on a month-by-month basis, though not perhaps by today's standards with the huge ultra-discounted web hosts. Sounds like an uphill battle.

Re:Class action (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 years ago | (#41026659)

It does look like you got 6 years of bundled service for $500, which might be perceived as a reasonable value

Only if one completely ignores the time-value of money. That's why loans come with interest rates.

Re:Class action (1)

SwashbucklingCowboy (727629) | about 2 years ago | (#41026403)

TOS specifically mentions that disputes go to arbitration. Don't know how binding that is in California.

Re:Class action (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 2 years ago | (#41026493)

Pretty sure that it's not binding in California. I seem to remember that California amended their consumer protection act to get around the arbitration thing. Though, to a point class action for such a small amount of money are useless. Small claims are better, you'll almost certainly get the full amount of the money back. And you'll recoup the filing costs as well. You don't need a lawyer, you can present all the information yourself to the judge. And on the upside, if they don't show, it's an automatic summery judgement against them. Chances are though if you file, they'll settle right away, simply to avoid court.

Good luck (2)

colin_faber (1083673) | about 2 years ago | (#41026199)

Reading the Ad offer, and actual ToS from the time this will probably be an uphill battle, consult your local lawyer but likely they'll point out the many ways they can wiggle out of this deal.

In other words... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026219)

"Thanks for helping us get off the ground by infusing us with large sums of money up front - now fuck off."

shame on you (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026237)

a "lifetime" deal is clearly too good to be true. you were dumb enough to fall for it.

also, don't you think you got your money's worth after 8 years? suck it up.

similar situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026241)

I had a similar problem happen with a web hosting firm that offered lifetime contracts and then got bought out.

I did what some others here have suggested and told them they needed to refund the money (or do some prorated refund) or I was going to get the lawyers of the organization I represented on them. This was a bit of a ruse since I probably couldn't of gotten my boss to go to our lawyer, but I figured something should back me up.

I got them to back off, but that was more private than this situation. There is likely to be a backlash on this one since it's managed to come up here....

Hrm... No disclaimers... (5, Insightful)

fruitbane (454488) | about 2 years ago | (#41026251)

Well, I read the archived FAQ and TOS and I didn't see any disclaimers. Technically, a company that lists something like a lifetime guarantee or lifetime warranty can get away with only warrantying or guaranteeing the product or service for its market life. Meaning my frying pan with a lifetime warranty is good for what the company deems the lifetime of the frying pan, modified by federal and local laws on what constitutes an acceptable minimum lifetime period. On the other hand, the ad you linked via the Wayback Machine didn't say lifetime, but rather the life of the company. If they've been bought and changed hands they could be considered a new company. Either way, I'd say there certainly seems to be the possibility that they could be legally liable for breach of contract. Just make sure if you decide to take them to small claims court that there's no activity in your own history with their service that violates their TOS and Acceptable Use provisions, because they can use that against you.

Re:Hrm... No disclaimers... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026389)

Yup, I read it too. Though they seem rather fleshed out on how to protect themselves and what is expected on the behavior of their users... there were no specific providisions related to that deal. In their deal, with a statment so broad as to say effective, "as long as we exist", well, the company screwed themselves there.
There are certainly ways to get out of their obligations, but first option to ensure a chance at their public image surviving would be to at least refund the money, offer credits, and ensure the survival of all hosted information for at least one calendar year from the decision date to allow time for users choosing to move on to migrate their data.
They got off the ground, great... now they need to live up to their claims or go back down to the bottom.

Answer (0)

Zouden (232738) | about 2 years ago | (#41026255)

a) They shouldn't have offered a lifetime account if they didn't intend to honour it (though they're not legally obliged to), but
b) You shouldn't have paid 'a few hundred bucks' for a service of indeterminant length and value.

Also, doesn't dropbox offer like 2.5gb for free? Why pay for a lifetime service if it's going to be superceded?
Would you have taken a "lifetime" dial-up account from AOL if it was offered?

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#41026259)

Charlie Bucket: But it didn't close forever, it's open right now.
Mrs. Bucket: Ah, yes, well sometimes, when grown ups say "forever," they mean, "a very long time."

When businessmen and politicians say "forever" they mean... remember your children's stories.

Re:Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026705)

And when my girlfriend said forever she meant a week lol.

OMGLAWYERSUESUESUE! (1)

scubamage (727538) | about 2 years ago | (#41026263)

Seriously though, for that amount your best bet is to take them to small claims court.

Watch your back (1)

joebok (457904) | about 2 years ago | (#41026269)

They are obviously saying that they are coming to kill you on 10/31 (and presumably anybody else whose service needs to be terminated). That is the only way out for them - let the rest of us beware of "lifetime" agreements!

Who's Lifetime... (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | about 2 years ago | (#41026275)

yours, or their business model's?

Ritual suicide at sundown? (1)

HangingChad (677530) | about 2 years ago | (#41026287)

Or maybe they're planning on sending some people with bats around to make sure his lifetime commitment comes a close on schedule.

That settles that... (4, Insightful)

rwven (663186) | about 2 years ago | (#41026295)

Well, I guess I know to stay away from this company in the future... Total fail.

In Lionel Hutz's words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026305)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NL_pRiXov7Q

Terms of Service, Additional Terms 1 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026327)

http://web.archive.org/web/20060203053316/http://www.textdrive.com/tos

"1. Indemnification. Customer agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Company and the employees and agents of Company (each an “Indemnified Party”) against any losses, claims, damages, liabilities, penalties, actions, proceedings or judgments (collectively, “Losses”) to which an Indemnified Party may become subject and which Losses arise out of, or relate to this Agreement or Customer’s use of the Services and Products, and will reimburse an Indemnified Party for all legal and other expenses, including reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred by such Indemnified Party in connection with investigating, defending or settling any Loss whether or not in connection with pending or threatened litigation in which such Indemnified Party is a party."

You got screwed.

Why should any company be loyal today? (4, Insightful)

Aviation Pete (252403) | about 2 years ago | (#41026337)

In the workplace we have learned to trust our employers just for the duration of the current project, if at all. Why would you now expect a faceless entity run by weasels to be any different?

I have learned this also the hard way. I once bought a Peugeot bicycle with a lifetime warranty for the frame, which duly broke a few years after. I first wrote Peugeot, and they pointed me at their French headquarters. I wrote them, even in French, and was referred to the bike dealer, where the circle continued. Long story short: I never got anything for my warranty besides the inflated price for the bike and the lesson what a lifetime warranty is *really* worth these days.

I will never again buy something again from Peugeot, but they sure couldn't care less. The government covers their losses anyway.

I don't use the word 'hero' lightly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026535)

This is the most blatant case of false advertising since my suit against the movie The Neverending Story.

wow, there's like some weird Phil Hartman resonance going on with the story submission queue today...

Re:Why should any company be loyal today? (1)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | about 2 years ago | (#41026561)

Long story short: I never got anything for my warranty besides the inflated price for the bike and the lesson what a lifetime warranty is *really* worth these days.

So, they gave you your money back, adjusted for inflation? And that money covered the price of the whole bike, and not just the frame? If so, that sounds pretty reasonable. What more could they do (other than perhaps compensate you for the time it took to get them to honor their warranty)?

Re:Why should any company be loyal today? (1)

itsme1234 (199680) | about 2 years ago | (#41026767)

I think he means he got to pay upfront a large amount of money upfront (original cost).

Re:Why should any company be loyal today? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026607)

I will never again buy something again from Peugeot, but they sure couldn't care less. The government covers their losses anyway.

In that case taxpayers ARE supporting Peugeot, like it or not...

Are you sure you even want to keep them? (1, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | about 2 years ago | (#41026357)

It sounds to me like they're struggling financially and are trying to convert all of you "lifetime" folks back into monthly paying members so they can pay their bills. My guess is that for a measly half a gig you could find a much better deal elsewhere and a lot of very annoyed people are probably going to do exactly that. There is a good chance this company won't exist in a year regardless, and this is just giving you a head start on finding a new cloud hosting company.

It's the government's fault. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026365)

If there were less regulations on the industry then this company would never be able to do this. Your best bet is to vote for Ron Paul and to hope that in the future we will have a free enough market that companies will honor their contracts without having to screw their customers because of government regulation.

As long as we exist (0)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#41026373)

One could make the claim that since Joyent is not the originator of TextDrive, and has only ONE of the original textdrive founders, that the referred to "WE" no longer exists.

Of course there is also that bit where Jason Hoffman, who also co-founded Joyent, says: "Yes. Sorry. I just made bail.".

It was a silly promise to make on Textdrive's part, and a silly promise to believe on the user's part.
I've bought lifetime memberships. I have no delusional expectation of enjoying them for the rest of MY life.

Re:As long as we exist (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#41026603)

If they pull this kind of language B.S. then they are a disreputable company. I'm glad that it got brought up on slashdot... I'm sure a lot of us will just choose to never use them.

Re:As long as we exist (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 years ago | (#41026611)

It was a silly promise to make on Textdrive's part, and a silly promise to believe on the user's part.

Not really - at $499, these early buyers were, in practice, a type of investor in the company. It would have been obvious to any of the buyers how that business model was going to work.

You can't bring on an investor, pay him some dividends, and then say, "yeah, sorry, we're ending your investment class. Thanks for being an early investor, though."

Now, I'm sure a lawyer will point out that they're not really an investor. But that's the legal argument, not the ethical one.

Nothing In TOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026385)

Their terms of service at the time make no reference to having the ability to cancelling your services. ( http://web.archive.org/web/20060203053316/http://www.textdrive.com/tos ) They sold you a lifetime service agreement and they should be bound by it. The only time they should be able to end your service is to shut down, or determine that you're violating their accepted use policy ( http://web.archive.org/web/20060203030014/http://www.textdrive.com/aup )

This of course all relies on their terms and service not updating to invalidate these points. So check your current TOS and AUP.

Terms of Service (1)

zentigger (203922) | about 2 years ago | (#41026397)

Your answer is in the terms of service:

The exclusive remedy against Company for any damages whatsoever to Customer arising out of or related to this Agreement shall be the refund of the fees paid by Customer to Company with respect to the then current term of this Agreement

Re:Terms of Service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026657)

This might not settle the issue as thoroughly as you might think. This is called a liquidated damages clause, and this one looks to have been modified by somebody to say "damages whatsoever." Usually they are broader, covering any breach. If I were you I'd write them a letter indicating your expectation that they continue to honor their agreement, and that you reject their proposed termination. If you get any slack, sue them them asking for what's called "specific performance" -- ie, you want the judge to make them do the thing they promised to do. If they point to this clause, you say you're not asking for damages.

Obligatory (1, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#41026423)

Waitress: Sir, this card's expired!
Professor: But it's good for a lifetime!
Waitress: Well, yours expired!

Start at the beginning. (5, Insightful)

Dzimas (547818) | about 2 years ago | (#41026425)

Email them, politely requesting a full refund. They entered into a contract with you to provide service for "as long as they exist." They are attempting to unilaterally modify the terms of the agreement. While companies often try to grant themselves the right to modify a contract at will, courts have found this to be an unreasonable practice. See Douglas v. Talk America - (http://pub.bna.com/eclr/0675424_071807.pdf ) Should the company fail to respond, investigate filing a case in small claims court requesting a full refund plus interest and reasonable expenses. You may run into difficulty if you reside outside the State of California, because you agreed to undertake all legal action in that state when you signed up. That said, you can include the cost of travel in your suit. You'd have to do a bit of research before filing, but I suspect the company would chose to issue a refund instead of dealing with the hassle of a small claims appearance.

Really? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026433)

"Lifetime" subscriptions/memberships never are. Doesn't work for gym memberships, doesn't work for hosting. Basically, you've gotten YEARS of hosting for $500 when, if you had paid for it by the month for the same period of time, it would have likely cost you a lot more. I'm not saying it's great, but really? Lifetime? Who really expects that? To get out of it, all they have to do is:

1. Create a second company
2. Sell the existing company to the second one

Now, the "new owners" can continue whether or not to keep the product. They are not bound by the same contract unless your contract between the companies states that the new company must continue service of those accounts.

As an alternative, they could just change the TOS to something MUCH more restrictive and discontinue your service for a breach of the TOS.

sue them for threat of bodily harm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026437)

The only way to interpreter "As this service is one of our earliest offerings, and has now run its course, your lifetime service will end on October 31, 2012" is that they will come and they will kill you.

Any reasonable person (the legal standard) would have fear of imminent bodily harm. "your lifetime service will end on October 31, 2012" has no other possible interpretation (it is not capitalized) - so go ahead and sue them for all they're worth!

Lawyer up, (2)

Howard Beale (92386) | about 2 years ago | (#41026489)

class action lawsuit.

Fine print (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026503)

The large print giveth and the small print taketh away. Somewhere in the terms they have a way of getting out of it.

Small Claims Court (1)

redshirt (95023) | about 2 years ago | (#41026507)

I haven't read the ToS, but if there aren't any disclaimers that allow them to arbitrarily change the terms, small claims court is the place to go. They are essentially not fulfilling the contract, and you can probably get some, if not all, your money back. If enough people do this, it can become a real hassle to the provider.

Class actions (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 2 years ago | (#41026515)

This is what class action suits are for. Do you think the executives are taking any cuts or are they paying themselves huge bonuses for how smart they are. This is a classic MBA style move. They might save a few bucks and it looked good on a spread sheet; but now I have labeled Joyent as a waste product in my head. Thus if at some future time I am shopping for a replacement for my present hosting I would just strike Joyent off the list. Before this I had never heard of them. Good PR Job Joyent.

From my limited legal knowledge where a case like this lay is if the original offer was an accident then they would have some weak ground to stand on. Otherwise this is a simple case of not honoring a contract. The other key is that you paid money. If the offer had been free it would weaken your position. Kraft once printed a boatload of KD packages with a winning minivan. They got most back but still a pile of people "Won" a minivan. They didn't each get a minivan but after a legal tussle they did get something. If the "Winners" had even the slightest bit of legal ground to stand on then you would be solid.
Their only hope is that the contract says something like, "We reserve the right to screw you if we feel like it." But even then Judges rarely let someone use such a clause to change the overall flavor of a contract as contracts are usually boiled down to you offer something in exchange for something else. If one party does their agreed part then the other party is obliged to do theirs. Wishful thinking or saying, "No more free ride for those guys" doesn't change the reality that existed when the contract was signed. The only probable room for a contract dispute would be as to the definition of lifetime. Your lifetime? The estate's lifetime. The lifetime of your company? And the other possible dispute would be if they declared bankruptcy. How would you fit in as a creditor?
I suspect that the best they could hope for would be they refund you your money prorated for the "Lifetime" used. So say 60 year lifetime. You signed up 5 years ago. Then they would have to refund 55/60ths of what you paid. But you could argue that this is unexpected and that moving costs so you want more. Messy for them.

There are no guarantees... (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about 2 years ago | (#41026579)

If a company promises life-time and spell out what they mean by it, then they should be held accountable on the terms defined. Then again in all reality, there is no such thing as a life-time account, just as in life there are no guarantees.

If you aren't hosting your own service, then be ready to be kicked out when the landlord decides to kick you out, but at the same time they should a) be abiding to the terms of services and b) giving you sufficient time to find an alternative provider. One month is *very* short notice and at the very least they should be giving you six months to make your move.

I used to be with a company call 'Bigfoot', but they too changed business direction and degraded the quality of their services. At that time I moved to GMail and haven't looked back.

Business as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026589)

"Unlimited data" means "Whatever caps and limits the corporations wants"
"Lifetime subscription" means "Whenever the corporations cancels it"
"Some restrictions apply" means "Anything the corporations want it to mean"
"Too big to fail" means "Bend over and take it"

Truth in advertising?

Class action law suit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026615)

This is why they were created, find an attorney to give you a reference to someone who does this. When they settle, lawyers get half, you get 45%, and everyone else splits the rest.

"Lifetime" matchmaker site membership (4, Funny)

wcrowe (94389) | about 2 years ago | (#41026661)

I don't know what to say to the original poster, but I know of a matchmaking site that used to offer a "lifetime" membership. Think about it. How pessimistic are you if you buy a lifetime membership to a matchmaking site?

Looks like you're getting a full refund. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026683)

According to the forums, you should be receiving a full refund. Otherwise, contact the AG's office. You probably have a slam dunk small claims court victory to recover that money.

So that's what they meant (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#41026687)

Who knew the Mayan were really talking about Joyent all along?

That's a load off my mind anyway.

Lifetime of the service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026761)

Your "Lifetime account" is good for the "lifetime of the service'. Always be a bit skeptical of lifetime deals. Even if they weren't voluntarily closing the service, the same result could have happened if the company went out of business.
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