(Prior to the post, here is a shameless plug for a real server host!)

I’ve dealt with a lot of companies in my day. A lot. Online and offline, obscure and mainstream, big and small, I’ve dealt with them all. Steve Jackson Games has been my favorite company for years and years – I buy anything I can through them. Great products, great prices, and, most importantly, exceptional customer service (seriously, the absolute best).

Which brings me to the point of this post. I don’t consider myself a particularly difficult customer – in fact, my expectations for customer service in these days of universally lax civility are actually pretty low. But I have a new “Worst. Company. Ever.” for my list – DRG Servers. I believe that if you read through the following email exchanges I had with the company you will reach the same conclusion. (But get comfy, it’s a hella long post.)

Our tale of woe began when Heretic Hosting, the company we (the |LBA|, Laid Back Assassins) rent our “Soldier of Fortune 2” server from, went out of business, leaving us abruptly without a place to call virtual home. They suggested we give DRG Servers a try, a company they had heard of but had had no previous dealings with. (I mistakenly thought DRG had bought out Heretic, but that is not correct). I checked out the DRG Website, placed an order for our server, and sent the following email to introduce ourselves.

May 09, 2006, 7:24pm:


Just thought I’d introduce myself, I am Mook, also “|LBA| Scaramanga”, leader of the Soldier of Fortune 2 clan “LBA (Laid Back Assassins)”. We come to you via Heretic Hosting, apparently recently acquired by DRG, and are looking forward to many months (years?) of enjoying your servers.

We can’t wait for everything to be set up so we can move on in (and chat again, it’s been awful without TeamSpeak!).

Hope to hear from you soon with all our details – thanks for readin’.

And they soon responded with …
May 09, 2006, 9:17pm:

ok would u like a teamspeak right off the bat so u can get ur voice back
let me know user and a password for admin thanks

Okay, I admit it – this very first email from the company should have thrown up red flags in my brain like crazy. What kind of company employs customer service reps who write like that? Plus, I had already given the username and password for the account in the initial setup form, they shouldn’t have needed it a second time. But, we were desperate for a place to play, and so I gave them the benefit of the doubt and sent this email …

May 09, 2006, 10:38pm:

Oh that would be fantastic!

admin username: fakeusername
admin password: fakepassword

Thanks for the quick turnaround : )

To which they responded …

May 09, 2006, 11:18pm:

k what is tha tname of ur clan and the username u r using from old company

Hmmm … both the clan name and my username were on the original setup form, and I had just given the username again in the last email. “But hey,” I figured. “If it gets the server up quicker, I’ll just give him the info. Again.” I sent this email …

May 09, 2006, 11:45pm:

Clan is “|LBA| (Laid Back Assassins)” … pretty sure my old username was

Then I didn’t hear from them again. For almost two days. Naturally I was annoyed – I figured at the very least our TeamSpeak would be running. But I sent another email, and remained polite (as I always try to do. Remember what Dalton always said – “Be nice … until it’s time to not be nice.”).

May 11, 2006, 6:32pm:

Mm, so much for ‘right off the bat’, been almost 48 hours : (

Any ETA on our game Server and/or the TeamSpeak Server? Our original ‘Heretic Hosting’ box went down this morning, that means weekend’s almost here and no place to play, no way to chat.


While waiting to hear back from them, I noticed an email I had received a few hours earlier, at a secondary email address. It contained an IP address for our game server, for our web admin panel, and a password for FTP to the server (no mention of the TeamSpeak server though). I was thrilled … until I actually tried to connect to all the IPs they had provided and not a single one of them worked. I then sent this email…

May 11, 2006, 8:46pm:

Could you please translate this (below) for me? I received it at my secondary email after contacting you this morning – everything seems clear enough, but I wasn’t able to reach a single thing successfully. Specifically:

1) There is no mention whatsoever of TeamSpeak – what is the server IP to connect? What is the URL for the TeamSpeak admin interface?

2) “http://12.345.678.900:99” (fake IP of course) is listed as my server control panel – while there is a login page at that address, every combination of user names and passwords I try results in “Invalid User ID or Password”.

3) The SoF2 game server IP is given as “12.345.67.890” (fake IP) … as far as I can tell there is no game server at that address (as no port is specified, I assumed the SoF2 default port of ‘20100’). I tried to connect to that server using my own SoF2 machine as well as two others, no good.

4) There is an FTP password listed, but FTP to the IP “12.345.67.890” will not resolve … again, possibly because no port is specified?

I’m afraid it isn’t instilling much confidence in my clan members that the move is going this poorly – no game server, no admin panel, no FTP, and no TeamSpeak?

Hopefully I am somehow misreading all of this information and am having a sudden fit of “Duh” – please let me know how we can get our game back on.


[info email with what was supposed to be our game server IP, FTP login, web control panel login, etc. snipped]

Again I remained polite, even offering them an “out” of sorts by suggesting maybe it was something wrong on my end (which it clearly wasn’t). Then things really started to turn sour with the email reply they sent …

May 12, 2006, 4:17am:

did u get ur email that i sent u
if not it is becuse of the email u put on the the order
anyways your control panel is
with the user and pw u gave on your order

“Did u get ur email”? Um, do you mean the email you sent that I quoted to you in my last email? Wow. Okay, things are becoming clearer now – I’m dealing with an incompetent. This was my next email …

May 12, 2006, 3:59pm:

> did u get ur email that i sent u

Of course I got it. *I included it in the email I sent to you*. My point was, and is, that none of the information it contains seems to work correctly (detailed point by point below. Again. Please try to actually answer the questions I’m asking.)

1) I understand that “anyways your control panel is http://12.345.678.900:99”. I already said that – what I also said, is that I am unable to log in on that page without getting an “Invalid User ID or Password” message. I tried all of the following combinations – please explain which one I am supposed to be using:

u/n: fakeusername1
p/w: fakepassword1

u/n: Fakeusername1
p/w: fakepassword1

u/n: fakeusername2
p/w: fakepassword1

u/n: Fakeusername2
p/w: fakepassword1

2) The SoF2 game server IP is given as “12.345.67.890” … as far as I can tell there is no game server at that address (as no port is specified, I assumed the SoF2 default port of ‘20100’). I tried to connect to that server using my own SoF2 machine as well as two others, no good.

3) There is an FTP password listed, but FTP to the IP “12.345.67.890” will not resolve … again, possibly because no port is specified?

4) There is no mention whatsoever of TeamSpeak – what is the server IP to connect? What is the URL for the TeamSpeak admin interface?

What I am saying is, I was told my TeamSpeak server at least could be up and running, “right off the bat” – that was three days ago now. I was given the IP address to a SoF2 server that doesn’t exist, and the URL of an admin control panel that I can’t log in to with the information provided. Do you not see the problem here?

It’s coming up on Friday night here – WE WOULD VERY MUCH LIKE TO PLAY ON OUR SERVER PLEASE. If my questions were addressed in your last email instead of reiterating the exact same information, we wouldn’t even need to be having this conversation.

Hope to hear from you soon,

Still polite, but with a clear undercurrent of “Wow you are clueless, please put down the copy of “Highlights for Children” you’re reading and find me someone who can read and write beyond a third grade level”. I didn’t hear from them the rest of that day, or well into the next, so the next day I submitted a Support Ticket on their website, marked as “Priority: Urgent”. By the following day, I hadn’t received either an email or a reply to my Support Ticket. So I then sent this email …

May 14, 2006, 5:28pm:

The below Support Ticket (#171) was submitted more than 24 hours ago:


Support Ticket #171:

Below is the complete email correspondence I have had so far trying to get our SoF2 server set up (Order #449117) – this poor customer service is beyond unacceptable (as you can clearly see by reading below). We expect our server, teamspeak, ftp, and all associated admin panels to be up and running within the next 12 hours or we are taking our business elsewhere, and, I might add, proclaiming quite loudly to anyone who *ever* asks to steer well clear of DRG Servers.

Hope to hear from you soon,

Since no one could be bothered to send an email reply or even respond to the Support Ticket (marked ‘urgent’), or take the time to fix even a single thing reported as non-functioning, we will be taking our business elsewhere.

Obviously we expect a full refund of our $25 initial payment, via PayPal to ‘mook@themook.net’, by the end of Monday’s business day. Equally as obvious, we will of course be filing notice with the Better Business Bureau Online (http://www.bbbonline.org) – whether that report includes delays of our refund or continued ignoring of the issues is entirely up to you.

Thank you,

[transcript of the entire email conversation snipped]

And that was that … clearly they were incompetent and not deserving of our or anyone else’s business, so after they failed to reply, again, I told them in no uncertain terms that we would not require the use of their server and expected a full refund.

But oh no, gentle reader – the idiocy doesn’t stop there. They did finally send a follow up email …

May 15, 2006, 4:07pm:

hello mr mook i recall hearing lee type to u and told u how to fix it and
the fact of the matter is you did not answer him back in msn and u were
the one that broke it i will ask u 1 time to calm down and listen to what
is being said now what seems to be the problem you are having thak you

I believe I actually lost consciousness reading this email – I remember hearing a “popping” sound inside my head, and I could taste copper. But I managed to sublimate my homicidal urges and send another email instead …

May 15, 2006, 6:02pm:

Hello to whoever is on the other end of ‘drgserve@drgservers.com’,

As we no longer have any sort of business relationship, allow me to rebut every single point you made in your email as being completely untrue and just a case of trying to ‘cover your own ass(es)’.

> hello mr mook i recall hearing lee type to u

FALSE. If you ‘recall hearing lee type to’ someone, it wasn’t me I can assure you – I have spoken to *no one* over instant messenger affiliated with DRG Servers except for ‘bob67cam’, who I know for a fact is not Lee (I know this because ‘bob67cam’ was unable to log in to my control panel, as was I, and said he would have to defer it to Lee. So, he is either not Lee, shares a split personality with Lee, or was flat out lying).

MSN instant messenger also logs all conversations, a feature that certainly no legitimate business would turn off, so by all means, check your logs and please forward to me the contents of this supposed contact. For that matter, do you even know what my MSN contact name is (without asking ‘bob67cam’ of course)?

> and told u how to fix it

FALSE. As I never spoke to Lee, he certainly didn’t tell me how to fix anything. In addition, there is absolutely *nothing* in any of this that I would have been able to fix from my end. If you had read my original email, which I’m beginning to doubt, I laid out in great detail *exactly* what the problems were.

* We were given the IP to a web control panel that would not allow me to log in, using any possible combination of user name or password provided. Even’bob67cam’, who works for your “company”, was unable to log in.

* We were given no TeamSpeak information whatsoever, despite being explicitly told that our voice server would be up “right off the bat”.

* We were given the IP to a SoF2 game server that did not exist.

* We were given FTP information that, like everything else, tried to connect to a server that didn’t exist.

This is the third time I’ve laid out this exact list.

> and the fact of the matter is you did not answer him back
> in msn

FALSE. That may be your opinion, but it is certainly not the fact of the matter. As I said above, I have never spoken to Lee directly.

> and u were the one that broke it

FALSE. I would very much like you to explain to me how it is that “[I] broke it”. We were never even given anything *to* break – no TeamSpeak, no FTP, no login, no game server. And even if we had been given a proper setup, I’ve been running our game server for the past three years without incident – what exactly are you claiming I broke?

> i will ask u 1 time to calm down

I am completely calm, and have remained so despite the aggravation and irritation heaped upon us by your substandard business dealings.

> and listen to what is being said

I have to assume this is you trying to make a joke. I *have* been listening – YOU HAVEN’T SAID ANYTHING. Go ahead, look over this entire email conversation, look over the trouble ticket I submitted at the DRB website (which, by the way, was submitted as an ‘urgent’ request over 48 hours ago and has not had a single response). Can you find one single helpful answer provided by you? I sure couldn’t.

> now what seems to be the problem you are having thak you

Ah, now I see – you *are* joking. Because no one could possibly follow this conversation and ask me that with a straight face.

The bottom line is, your company is worthless to us, and to gamers as a whole. We are very sorry we ever had the misfortune of throwing our lot in with you, now we simply want our $25 returned since no services whatsoever were provided.

As I noted yesterday, my BBBOnline complaint is being filed at 5:00pm EST regardless – whether or not it also includes mention of your failure to issue a proper and timely refund is entirely up to you.

Do I expect we will actually get that refund? Not even remotely – not judging from the way DRG Servers has conducted itself thus far. But giving you the chance to is the right thing to do.

It’s unfortunate you’ve lost the opportunity to serve and impress us (and all the other clans we are friends with, and all the players who find their way to our game server, and all the SoF2 fans who find their way to our message boards / instant messengers / email lists). Instead of earning our money and goodwill over the next few years, you’ve instead reaped a quick “windfall” of $25 and a group of vocal critics.

All completely avoidable by even the most basic of customer service.

Good day,

“Good riddance to bad trash,” I thought to myself. But there was more. I found out from someone inside Heretic Hosting that DRG Servers actually bought the customer list from Heretic, with the understanding that DRG would honor all Heretic due dates and not charge new customers until their next normal due date. Mmm … copper taste anyone? I sent the following email …

May 15, 2006, 6:48pm:

Interesting … I was just informed that DRG Servers didn’t just get a referral from the old Heretic Hosting, they actually *purchased* the client list, with the understanding that those clients not be billed again until their ‘usual’ due date.

Which means that not only did DRG Servers take our $25 payment and then do absolutely nothing with it in terms of actual service … but you weren’t supposed to take a payment of any kind until June 1st.

Not just abysmal business practices now, but actual fraud. Yes, I sent the payment on my own, but that’s because I was unaware of the business deal that had been reached. DRG Servers should have returned that payment immediately and explained the situation, instead of just pocketing it, doing nothing, and forcing us to demand it back.

It goes without saying this has been added to my list of complaints.

Good day,

This apparently sent the fellow at DRG into a conniption fit – he sent 3 separate emails back to back in the space of 2 minutes, ranting and railing about a great many things …

May 15, 2006, 7:11pm – 7:13pm:

uh uh hell nah u arent puttin anything like that we took u in cause he was shitting on u we didnt do anything to it and ok we purchased the list not the company so u the clients of that wonderful person wouldnt shit on u dont be sayin anything bout us hes the one that said by with taking ur damn moneyhe already gonna be taken to court byt a few of the guys we have because of how and what he did so interestuing nuthing we didnt buy the damn business out we bought the client so u gys werent fucked have a nice day enjoying what the wonderful death says about us

and fraud hell no we havent committed any crime what so ever try blaming that on mr death who actually took ur money and left made us pay for the list and left then put a web page up that said go to clanservers so thanks for being nice about it to the ones that were lookin out for u instead of the one that looked out for ur money and took off then says on web page oh we will be back soon uh “ya” nice pal

and ps why dont u get into ur teamspeak u dont even use cause i gave it too ya free which mr death didnt want to so i can talk to u personally ok let me know when ur in there thanks

And here, finally, is my final email to DRG, hopefully putting the whole sordid affair behind us. I still haven’t finished the BBBOnline complaint form, but I definitely will. There’s mediocre customer service. There’s bad customer service. There’s “this is the worst possible customer service of any company anywhere, in any time or alternate dimension, that could possibly be conceived.”

And then there’s DRG Servers

May 15, 2006, 8:55pm:

> and ps why dont u get into ur teamspeak u dont even use cause i gave it too ya free which mr death didnt want to so i can talk to u personally ok let me know when ur in there thanks

If you had read the previous half a dozen emails you would see that WE WERE NEVER GIVEN A TEAMSPEAK IP to use. Nor do I have any remaining interest in speaking with you on the DRG support TeamSpeak – our business is done.

As for whatever issues you and Heretic-Death have between yourselves, that is absolutely no concern of YOUR CUSTOMERS. All of the damage done to your reputation was of your own doing – I only commented on the fact that DRG had agreed to honor Heretic’s due dates when I found out about it, and *well* after we had already decided to go elsewhere for our server hosting.

Since you are finally talking about our money, though – have you any intention of refunding our $25 deposit? We received absolutely zero in terms of service for it, but I notice it hasn’t been returned to my PayPal account – again, that address is ‘mook@themook.net’.

Thank you,

If you are thinking of renting a server from DRG Servers – DON’T!

If your clan, or a friend’s clan, or a clan you don’t even know is thinking of renting a server from DRG Servers – DON’T let them!

If you hear a complete stranger mention on a bus or in the subway that he is thinking of renting a server from DRG Servers – DON’T let him!

If the person you hate most in the world, that one person who you just cannot stand and you wish would develop severely painful boils or have all their teeth knocked out with a hammer or be boiled alive in a vat of yak urine, is thinking of renting a server from DRG Servers – DON’T let him!

There is no place in a free market for such a wretched company to exist.

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