Thank you, Elle and Andrew, the account credit mechanism worked exactly as you explained it would. But the process is weird. The screen which comes up when you press on “Close Account” says:
[quote]Please don’t go!
If you complete this process, your entire hosting account will end immediately!
(If you want to close your account at a later date, please just return to this page on that date)
Closing your hosting plan means ALL domains you have hosted with us will stop working right away! Also, everything related to your domains will stop working: email addresses (including forwards), mailing lists, jabber accounts, databases, etc.
Your domain registrations will still work through their expiration dates. You can continue to manage DNS for these domains through the panel, and you can choose to host them elsewhere. Also, if any domain registrations were free with your hosting you’ll now have to pay for them.
Remember too, your account has unlimited disk and bandwidth!
Are you sure you want to lose all that?
Not to mention, if you close your account you won’t get the awesome newsletter!
You won’t get blah, blah, blah… Okay, you get the picture. If you’ve already made up your mind, so be it! We won’t stop you and if you ever change your mind and want to re-open your account with us, we’ll be ready, no hard feelings.[/quote]
Phew. Does that give any indication whatsoever that the system is about to apply the pro-rated unused amount back on to your account as credit? No it does not! It says it is going to blow your account to smithereens, leaving you only a measly panel where you can manage and if necessary pay for your domain registrations.
Well anyway, you then have to tick a box that says “Yeah yeah, I know. I’d still like to cancel” which does finally take you to a panel where it says it is going to credit your account with the unused amount.
So you go ahead with the heart-rending goodbyes (at least, the Dreamhost panels attempt to give an impression of being heart-rent)
(and, by the way, the panel completely ignored my explanations that I am not leaving, I am simply hosting with another host while Dreamhost tackles some instabilities)
and then you get an email saying:
This is just an email verification for you that we’ve now closed your Account as you just requested via our web panel.
You will no longer receive any bills from us (unless you kept an active domain registration with us) nor other communications.
We’re very sorry it didn’t work out and maybe we’ll see you again someday!
The UnHappy DreamHost Goodbye Team[/quote]
Again, no mention that you still have an actual account at Dreamhost, let alone an account in credit.
If you then log back in to your account, you find that (a) you still have an account and (b) it has been credited with anything up to a couple of hundred dollars. You may not be quite confident that this money is real. At this point you can google for “show me some 4-letter .com domain names that have come on to the open market after yet another cybersquatter has thrown in the towel” and test your credit with an impulse buy.