As the old saying goes,
Pick any two:
Good hosting is not cheap; cheap hosting comes with sacrifices. Most people can live with cheap hosting (does your site REALLY require 99.999% uptime?) and the choices are endless for decent, affordable hosting. If you need more than that, you are going to have to spend for it.
Bandwidth, disk, redundant power, CPU cycles - those things are all finite and all still cost money.
I posted above about an experience I had with 1and1, while still holding an open and current (paid in full) account -- they turned me over to collection for an amount that I did not owe, had already paid, and had records (credit card bills) proving I paid it.
Took days spending hours on the phone and sending a lot of faxes and letters via email to get it resolved. Nobody at 1and1 seemed to care or be bothered to do anything about it; it was always someone else's problem. The collection agency would only cease action if they got notice from 1and1 that it was resolved... Wash, rinse, repeat.
I also recently switched from 1&1 to Dreamhost. I had been with 1&1 since around 2002 when they came on the scene with a lot of promotions.
I had little downtime but the few times I did need support, I also had significant hassles and long hold times. It was a very "corporate" feeling, like dealing with AT&T or the government.
I had a major issue with billing circa 2005 where they turned me over for collection, on an account that was paid in full and current! It took hours on the phone over multiple days, along with a lot of official-sounding faxes on letterhead to get that resolved and I should have canceled then.
The 1&1 control panel got continuously more proprietary and locked into their own services instead of more popular standards. I just got tired of it. I still have the account open and one client domain on it because I haven't had time to stage them on the new host and verify all the old code is going to work - I had to make minor updates on a few of the older sites while moving to Dreamhost due to some deprecated PHP.
Anyway, I've been with Dreamhost now for about 6 months and have no complaints. I don't know that I would put something mission-critical there, but for my unimportant blog/personal space, our small business ecommerce site and my tiny consulting site and some free hosting for church & friends it works fine.
I'm American (although an admitted Anglophile), but I've never heard or used "preventive" - always "preventative"
Everybody likes a kidder, but nobody lends him money. -- Arthur Miller