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New Order

I'm consolodating a bunch of VPS and other products, and decided I would do this with a dedicated server. I've already moved some things out to Office 365, but I wanted to scrap another couple of servers and move some web apps into my own environment. So, I ended up ordering a pretty beefy dedicated server from OVH.

The Check-Up

I'd been looking at their offerings for a while, and usually, the deals I'm interested in have a lead time of something like 10 days. Today, it was a lead time of mere minutes; so I thought I'd strike while the iron was hot. There was nowhere to specify which OS was required, but perhaps that could be addressed later on.

So, I am a new customer and payment needs to be verified manually. Fine, totally understandable, and this is a *good* thing, if it helps keep spammers and scammers away from the netblocks that I will be using. Good stuff, especially since OVH have a generally poor reputation among mail server admins.

And Then, Things Got Worse

But why isn't this explained? It just says "We check your payment manually", with a spinning icon next to it. Will it stop spinning when payment has been checked? Do I need to keep this tab open? Do I need to refresh the page periodically? I don't know, it doesn't say. I am loath to close it, as I have no emails or texts from OVH, and this lingering tab is the only semblance of contact that I have with this OVH entity that, perhaps foolishly, I've just given my card details to.

So, I take to the forums. I create a login and give my email address and solve the CAPTCHA, and I roll my eyes briefly while reading the forum rules which include such useful information as "Although the administrators and moderators of [ARG:2 UNDEFINED] will attempt to...". But I manage to register, and I'm now logged in to the forums.
Marvellous. Perhaps I can ask my questions here. But... I can't seem to find the button to post a thread, or even reply in an existing one...

Ah, now I see why:

You may not post new threads
You may not post replies

Perhaps I need to respond to a confirmation email. So I check my inbox. Nothing. I check the junk folder in case it ended up there. Nothing. I seem to have an entirely useless account on the forums.

So, I try the support site at ovh.co.uk/support/. I click on the "orders in progress, billing" section, as that seems to cover what I'm after. I can either phone or email. I am going to opt for email, as I am working from a customer site today, and my own phone has between 0 and 1 bar of signal here. I'm taken to the control panel login. I try to use the email address and password that I setup when placing the order (since I don't know what else the username could be). No luck.
Just for fun, I figure I'll try the forum username and password, too. My psychic powers tell me that it won't work, and a few seconds later, the words "Error: Invalid Account ID or password" confirm this for me.

In the meantime, I have received an email from OVH. Perhaps this will sort everything out. The email has an order number and a short password, and also tells me "You can make the payment for this order by copying or clicking on the link below" - which is odd, because as far as I know, I've already made a payment with a card, and I'm just waiting on OVH to manually check it. Clicking on the link, as suggested, just takes me to the same order summary page with the spinning icon again. So, I suppose I can probably close that browser tab.
I reply to the email, asking about the payment, and if there's something else I need to do, or just wait - and I also ask about how I'm supposed to specify the OS for the server. There was no such selection to be made during the order process, and I'm looking for Server 2012 R2, which I know will incur an additional cost - so it's the sort of thing I would have thought would have been worth asking customers about when they place their orders.

If I have to wait all day to receive an email telling me that I need to fill out some form, or phone some number, or email some ID, I will be very disappointed. Why not send such things immediately? Mailer daemon asleep at the wheel again? Or have you got manual steps in your business process which should probably be automated?

Tips for OVH

In summary, this is a far cry from the 120 seconds that the order was _supposed_ to take. It has now been more than four hours, and all I have to show for it is a useless read-only forum login and email inviting me to pay for something, which directs me to a page making a vague statement about checking payments manually.

I had originally expected my order to take 10 days, but when I looked again today, when I placed the order, it was supposed to be a matter of minutes. If OVH had just kept the ETA at 10 days, it would all have been fine, and I wouldn't even be wondering about getting the server online for another week. OVH should not advertise "120 seconds" to users which are not logged in. It is misleading, and sets expectations, literally, several orders of magnitude higher than they are able to meet.