About a month ago, I woke up at roughly 4 or 5 PM after taking a nap.
When I woke up, I checked my phone and saw an email I got warning me that all of my websites have malware on them.
Obviously, that got me out of bed.
So I sat on my chair and checked my websites.
Immediately, I saw a bunch of weird code on top of each of my websites.
With my computer telling me it’s blocking malware attempts and all.
So I contacted my former web hosting company about it right away.
The 24/7 customer service agent I was chatting with in some online chat started working with me right away.
And offered me a solution in which I can pay roughly 200 dollars or some amount like that to have the issue fixed.
No more malware and some extra security put on the website.
Until the agent clarified that it would actually be an annual 200 dollar fee per website.
Meaning I’d have to pay roughly 1,800 USD roughly for all of my websites to be fixed.
Obviously, that didn’t seem right to me and I started weighing my options.
And doing some research.
Upon doing my research, I came across hundreds of people online saying that the same web hosting company I was working with often scams people.
The scam apparently goes like this:
- Infect the websites with malware
- Charge the client an exorbitant amount of money using the services of a third party company that they get a commission from to fix the issue and keep them paying the same amount on an annual basis.
And the issue everyone was explaining was the same issue I was having!
Anyway, I started considering the possibility that this might be the same scam and started looking at alternative web hosting companies just in case.
While still trying to work with my old web hosting company.
When I reached out to them again, the next agent gave me an alternative solution…
Which was basically to reload the contents of the websites from a previous version saved onto their database or something like that for a fee of 67 dollars in total.
That 67 dollars would identify when the websites got infected and then try to reload a saved version of the website from a date before the infection point.
So I agreed to let the agent begin the process to do so.
Anyway, I checked back with them a day later to see how it is going.
And learned that they never initiated the process.
While the next agent I talked with was still trying to sell me on their 1,800 dollar security program and seemed concerned that the previous agent recommended the cheaper 67 dollar option.
“That’s not necessary” or something like that was what she said.
Sure, the option that saves me 1,700 bucks isn’t necessary.
Anyway, they told me that they’d have a specialist reach out to me who can do the 67 dollar option.
The specialist wanted a phone call with me though I can’t do that since I don’t have an international plan on my phone.
So he said that I should to be redirected to him whenever I’m ready in the online chat.
I did just that the next day.
And he wasn’t available even though he said he would be at certain hours.
So I asked to be redirected to him at least 3 or so times more or less that same day.
Meanwhile, I’m starting to get a little more hostile with the company bringing up the claims I’ve seen online that this is a scam and I might take my business elsewhere with some other agent.
And ultimately the specialist got back to me by email explaining how he was told that I am not interested in paying the 1,800 dollars to the security company that they have an affiliation with.
With him ending the email explaining how that is basically his job to convince people to pay for that service.
And that he can’t do much for me otherwise even though previous agents have told me that he would begin the 67 dollar alternative solution.
At this point, I’m fairly irritated.
So I try one last solution which was to post shit on Twitter explaining how this company is bad and I am looking for an alternative web hosting company.
Consequently, I got private messages and a comment from alternative web hosting companies on Twitter that I never heard of trying to pitch me their services.
Obviously, my web hosting company then didn’t appreciate that and actually got off their ass to fix the issue.
They reached out to me on Twitter asking me to explain the problem I have.
Then they had some higher management person try to resolve the issue.
Where they did the 67 dollar option for free on, if I remember right, two of my websites.
One of them being Iberian America – the blog you are reading now.
At the time, I didn’t know that they were only doing the service for 2 of my websites and not the rest.
So I was happy in the moment.
Then I learned later that it was only for 2 of my websites.
Which is appreciated since it was free.
But I wrote back asking if I could pay to have the rest of my websites fixed at that 67 dollar fee.
Which then they gave me some BS message and never got to it if I remember right.
Either way, I got the issue resolved ultimately after some more work at no extra cost to me.
But a lot of stress and time taken for sure.
In the end, I ended up switching all of my websites over to another web hosting company.
There’s still some minor work on that which I need to do but it’s mostly done.
Fun fact: I learned that, when requesting to move my websites to another company, it was easier to do so when I told them that I am moving the websites to a company affiliated with their company.
Meaning that they wouldn’t be losing my business.
I had to say that because otherwise requesting migration data could’ve meant getting a hour long selling pitch about why I should stay with them.
Or it could mean the agent at hand not doing a god damn fucking thing that I asked for.
In particular, there was one agent as an example who would only give me the migration data (codes and shit) for a few of my websites.
Then would say “ah, well, I’m busy but I promise I’ll get you the rest of the codes in 30 minutes!”
He never sent them.
So I had to get another agent to do it if I remember right and explain to them how “I’m not really your company. Just moving to another company that is affiliated with your company.”
And that always kept them happy.
Once I got the information I needed, I used what I had to take my business elsewhere far away from their company entirely.
And no longer will I be dealing with the Corporate America of web hosting...
Instead, Corporate Dutch!
Because the new company is from the Netherlands. I chose them because they offer a certain service I need for some of my websites.
Why bring this all up though?
First, it’s to give a brief explanation of what happened to the website last month.
And I emphasize the word “brief.”
This took me like 10 days to fix more or less and I’m still fucking around with minor details related to this.
Having said that, there’s also a lesson here that might shine light on a certain benefit to living in Latin America….
Look, I always complain all the time about businesses in Latin America.
The usual complaints are that they are inefficient, customer service is shit and the quality of the products are not always as good.
And, to be fair, American businesses usually are more efficient with better customer service and higher quality products.
Not always though.
But one benefit when it comes to living in Latin America…
Is that, at least in my experience, it’s much easier to avoid the bullshit that comes from Big Corporate America.
The huge multi million or multi billion dollar businesses that have a stranglehold on a certain industry in a certain area…
And they just don’t give a rats ass about the customer.
Constantly fucking people over.
Nickle and diming everyone.
Scams too perhaps.
It’s something that I never really appreciated about life in Latin America until recently.
Which, to be fair, bullshit like this happens down here also.
Big businesses fucking people over.
Latin America isn’t safe from that either!
But, as a young foreigner, I’d argue that maybe it’s a little bit easier to avoid down here than living up in the US.
To give some examples…
First, it’s easier to walk everywhere in Latin America without needing a vehicle.
As a result, you don’t have to deal with bullshit insurance companies.
A friend of mine in Nevada was complaining on Twitter recently about having to deal with insurance companies trying to overcharge him.
He threatens to leave to another company and they play nice with him.
Second, apartment owners.
A guy I know about in this article here would often write about how to fuck over apartment owners in Mexico City.
Truthfully, it can be easier to do that and not get fucked over by them.
Granted, you have the usual ol’ “not giving back your deposit” shit that happens anywhere.
But, in my experience and in the experience of others I know, it’s easy enough to just not pay the last months rent and that’s it.
Especially if the landlord doesn’t know you are leaving.
Tell them your debit card doesn’t work anymore and you, as the foreigner with no local job, can’t access any money.
Need a month to get the new card.
When the month is over, ditch.
Now you didn’t need to pay that last month’s rent and so you got your deposit back.
They could possibly.
But not likely in a country like this.
At least in my experience and in the experience of others I know.
I don’t know anyone personally who has gotten sued before by the landlord for doing that.
But good fucking luck getting anything from me.
No local bank account and no local job to go after my wages.
So screw you, landlord.
Harder for them to screw you.
And they know it.
Some of them don’t pay taxes on their rental time so they won’t pursue it.
Others know it costs too much and takes too much time to pursue anything legally.
And they all believe you’ll leave the country anyway since “what foreigner wants to live in Mexico forever?” is the mindset of some of these folks.
Reminds me of the opposite with this video of big business rental companies fucking people over in Arkansas as you can see here.
So you don’t have to deal with bullshit insurance companies or bullshit landlords fucking you over…
Or you’ll have less problems anyway.
The Ghost of Latin America
And going off a previous point made before…
If you don’t have a local job, no local bank account, no children, no wife, no house, no nothing….
It’s a lot easier to live in Latin America like a ghost.
On paper, you don’t exist down here except for data that the immigration office has about your tourist visa.
As a result, it’s harder for big businesses to fuck you over.
Granted, you can get fucked over by other individuals…
The corrupt cop wanting a bribe or someone trying to mug you…
Some random small business owner wanting to gringo price you by an extra 5 bucks or whatever.
So it isn’t to say that nobody tries to fuck you over…
That you are unable to get fucked over…
Though if you know how to handle the folks from above, I think the risk is lower.
The corrupt cop, the gringo pricing landlord or the mugging thief?
I’ve had experience with all 3 villains!
I never carry my nice phone on me outside and almost never more than 25 bucks on person when outside.
So if someone does try to steal from me (which almost never happens throughout any given year), then they get 25 bucks at most.
Versus the large corporate businesses like my former web hosting company who had me by the balls for 10 days trying to hit me like a pinata hoping 1,800 bucks would fall out.
That was arguably one of the more stressful moments I’ve had in a long while now.
And it wasn’t because of Latin America…
It was because of Big Corporate America!
Keep in mind that I have limited experience dealing with Corporate America as I left the US at a fairly young age to live down here.
One other thing that comes to mind are all the older folks who move down here after getting fucked actually working for Corporate America at the 9-5.
Never had that experience so I can’t relate.
And, as I said, big businesses or criminals can fuck you down here also if you ever decide to be more on the radar.
Like buying a nice house or something.
There’s this example here of some American couple getting fucked over in Mexico heavily by cartels, property invasions and criminal banks. Here's a quote that is interesting:
"I have another property that I am fighting an invasion on and have been doing so for over three years. Sure I have won the battles in court so far but they are still on my property and I have spent over 200,000 pesos on lawyers.
Will I win? Yes but I have no desire to keep fighting this battle. Mexico requires me to keep spending money simply to hold on to those things that I have already bought and legally paid for. Does this seem insane only to me?"
So, to be fair, you can get fucked easily in Mexico also or Latin America more broadly.
Though, as I said, it's easier to be a ghost here and avoid getting fucked over in that regard. More thoughts on that topic here.
Either way, it’s an observation I had after dealing with Corporate America.
Just the realization that this is arguably one benefit to living down in Latin America…
Maybe a minor one?
Well, I did see one grey hair in my head after dealing with this bullshit from my web hosting company…
So not entirely minor!
And I’m only in my late 20s!
Either way, it’s arguably a benefit to a degree for some people like me.
Maybe not everyone down here.
But people like me – sure.
A benefit in that it is easier to avoid getting fucked over by big businesses when you live in Latin America versus living in the US.
For various reasons perhaps.
Anyway, that’s all I got to say.
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Thanks for reading.