Gandi is adding the ability to process payments from US customers in the US. We are also enhancing our support team in the US, and making other major investments to ensure our services continue to improve. Gandi customers have been asking for this enhancement, and we have been working on it for a while now, shifting big parts of the company to the US and investing in hiring local resources. We are now ready to create all new US accounts in, and move most existing US accounts to Gandi US, Inc, which will handle all of our US-based customer care and billing operations.
When you log in to your Gandi account and go to make a purchase, if you are located in the US or Canada, you may see the message:
In order to better support you in your location, and to more easily handle your payments in US dollars, we need your approval to allow Gandi US to serve you directly from now on.
We know that some of you will have questions about this, so we are answering here, and in the spirit of transparency, we welcome your feedback as well. Feel free to leave comments on this post to ask about anything we might not have answered to your satisfaction. You know we will not bullshit you!
What exactly is Gandi doing, here?
We created Gandi US, Inc. to be better able to serve you in your local timezone and to allow you to use US banks for your purchases at Gandi without delay. While other companies are outsourcing, we've created a tech savvy, US-based customer service team so we can make sure we are here when you need us.
Why is Gandi doing this?
If you've ever made a purchase at Gandi using an American credit card, there's a good chance you've had transactions fail. In most cases, this is a result of payments being flagged as potentially fraudulent overseas transactions by your bank. We are taking this action in part to address this problem. We are sure that our customers will appreciate being able to pay with their credit cards, PayPal, and even by bank transfer to our US accounts with fewer denials.
We believe that being a competitor in the US market requires an investment in the local economy, hiring local staff, and truly engaging with the laws and culture. Gandi is growing both physically, technically, and culturally with this move, and we know that we will be able to offer better service because of it. The improvements are already showing.
So what's the difference?
Your domains will still be registered in the same place: Gandi SAS of France. Some of the add-on services (like email, SSL certificates and blogs) will be provided by Gandi US as a reseller of Gandi SAS. Other services (like hosting, if you've opted to use our Baltimore datacenter, as well as technical support services) will be provided by Gandi US directly. The service quality you already enjoy from Gandi will only get better.
Gandi will not change where it keeps your data. The domain name registrar, email services, and a large part of the hosting operation is all in France. We also have datacenters in Luxembourg and in Baltimore, Maryland, which you can select at your option when creating a new Simple Hosting instance or VPS. We are simply selling these services to you from our US subsidiary now.
What if I don't want to change?
No problem! We don't want to fix what isn't broken for you, so just let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will keep your account exactly as it is. Note that only Gandi accounts with addresses in the United States and Canada are being prompted to accept this change, and only when making a purchase.
I'm having a problem and I think it might be related to my account being changed. What do I do?
We have worked long and hard to try to ensure that you will not see any issues with this change, but just in case you do see something unexpected, please don't hesitate to point it out to us here. We'll do our best to make sure this is as painless as possible and to handle any problems quickly.
What if I have credit on my Prepaid Account?
It will still be there. Any credit you have on your Gandi Account will be transferred over and will be available for you to use, in full, for all of the same services as before.
Are there any features that I'm missing out on by being served by the US entity like this?
There are a few differences, yes:
- Payment by check is not available in the US, as it is in France.
- You can only pay in US dollars.
- The ability to register a credit card for automatic payment is not yet available. We have not had the time to integrate this into the US accounting system yet, but we will do so soon. If you are already using that feature, your account will not be changed, and we will not ask you to change until it is working. We don't want to reduce the functionality you rely on, and clearly if that feature is working for you, you are not having some of the issues we are addressing with this change.
- We're not able to sell t-shirts to customers on this billing unit yet. If you simply cannot live another day without a Gandi t-shirt, it may interest you to know that we tend to respond favorably to creative free t-shirt requests
I don't want personal data that I share with Gandi to be accessible to US authorities. Will this change mean that it is? Should I be concerned?
Yes, you should be concerned, but no more than you should have been before this change.
Most of your online data, regardless of location, is accessible to authorities in the US, the EU, and other countries. That's an unfortunate fact, one that was made extremely clear with the disclosures about NSA surveillance programs last year. One of the reasons we are so active in lobbying for reform in the US is that we are concerned, too.
You should know that we will always protect your personal data as much as legally practical. While Gandi US, Inc. is subject to US law, we are also very cognizant of our responsibility to not disclose customer data without due process. Since most data is outside the US, that process is complex and, frankly, murky, even for 100% US-based companies in the same situation. It is an evolving area of law, and we are working hard in advocating and lobbying for the relevant privacy laws to be reformed in the US, on your, and our, behalf. We believe that this is the right approach to solving this problem.
It's worth noting here that Gandi does not store, transmit, or process your credit card data. That part is all done by the banks and the payment gateways. Even the auto-credit feature does not involve the details of your card: that data is never in our databases. It can't be stolen from us, since we do not have it.
We never sell our customer data to anyone, ever.
If you have any further questions, let us know in the comments, or tweet them to @gandibar.