Sunday, September 10, 2006

Phone Cancellation of Internet Services

Internet companies often tout 24 hour accessibility, and "from the comfort of your own home" conveniences when it come to their services. However do they actually live up to that promise?

When it comes to canceling your service it seems that Yahoo's partner companies are going the way of AOL. Two recent examples of this occurred in my attempts to cancel or change services with Got Corporation's Campaigner Service, http://www.campaigner.com and Yahoo's American Greetings service, http://www.yahoo.americangreetings.com.

Both are services that you can sign up for in real time and online. Both are also services that if you wish to cancel you must call in and do so over the phone with a real person or in writing outside of automated systems.

Yahoo Greetings is not too bad, the renewal email comes with two weeks notice about the renewal. However the only way provided to cancel is:

"If you do not wish to continue your Membership and live within the U.S., you must call our Customer Care Center at 1-866-228-2434 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. EST Monday through Friday, or between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Please reference your Customer #: ******** when you call."

I am bothered by the fact that I have to take time from my work day to cancel a $13.99 a year service and certain that Yahoo Greetings is hoping that I will forget to follow these extra steps. I
wonder if I would have received further reminders?

Got Corporation was an extremely dissatisfactory experience and will have me reading TOS agreements with far more vigilance. I have had a Campaigner Account for about two years and while I have been moving my email services to Constant Contact I had also kept an active Campaigner account for two clients that were better served by that service.

Earlier this year I attempted through the Campaigner System to "downgrade" my account to "Pay-As-You-Go" status from $25.00 per month. The system allows you to go through this process with no errors.

So you can imagine the surprise when a month later I get billed for $25.
- The first time I figured it was me changing the account in the wrong part of the billing cycle and disregard it.
- The second time I go back into the system and see that my status is back to $25 per month. I am confused but in a rush quickly "downgrade" again to "Pay-As-You-Go" and move on in my day.

This occurred a few more times each time me being either too rushed or thinking maybe it was the emails I sent that screwed up the system so I just let it go.

finally in July I had the extra time to investigate it and called Got Corporation to find out what was happening and spoke to Christopher Adlam.

Chris was very happy to inform me that the only way to cancel was to do so in writing via email as per the TOS of Got Corporation. There was also no apologies made for the fact that the online system allow you to "downgrade" against the TOS without notifying you that the change will not be accepted.

Chris then offer to send me links to information showing me the error of my ways in the assumption that I should be able to "downgrade" via the online system:

"Dear Vinny Tafuro,

Thank you for using Campaigner, GOT's online email marketing software. In reference to our conversation below is the info requested.

Please review this document to view screen shots of this clause in the End User License Agreement: http://www.campaigner.com/cs/eula.html. The complete Campaigner End User License Agreement is provided here: http://www.gotcorp.com/corporate/legal/terms.html

Best Regards,
GOT CORPORATION
Customer care


The above email has links to screen shots of the TOS that actually have the areas in question highlighted. Does this imply that they confuse enough users to have a "canned" email reply to the complaints?

Four days later I requested that my account be downgraded,
"Thank you for the information and please just keep my account down-graded to the pay-as-you-go plan".

In August I was billed another $25!

I wrote another email requesting they downgrade my account on 8/21... It took Rosemarie Battista two days to reply but I finally received a downgrade to my subscription plan and have not been charged in September so far.

Overall through this process Got Corporation billed me about $150 that is in the least questionable.

So much for convenience...

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