Devious advertising practices
I see these types of ads all the time:
Purchase “Such-n-Such” magazine/news site/monthly subscription for an entire year, and you’ll save 75%! Pay only $25.00!
It seems like such a great deal, until the next year.
At one time, when ethics was in style, you’d receive a notice a month or a week in advance. For most sites, it’s not that way any longer.
SCENARIO: A year passes and you see a charge for $150.00 from Such-n-Such. They upped the price by $50 per year. It’s clear the b@$tards are making up for last year’s loss.
Furious, you email their “help desk” and yell (using all capital letters with lots of exclamation points). “I DON’T WANT THIS PRODUCT!!! REFUND MY MONEY !!!!.”
You receive a message that goes something like this:
“We’ve noted that you no longer want to be a member/subscriber to Such-n-Such and you will not be charged for another subscription in 2022.”
You don’t have to be a math wizard to understand what this means, so you email them again, using more exclamation points and a larger font. “!!!!!REFUND MY D@#$%D MONEY!!!!!”
You receive a pleasant message saying something like this:
“When you signed up for a yearly subscription, you agreed to the continuation of your subscription each year at the regular price. We cannot refund your money this year, but the good news is that you will have full access to Such-n-Such all year, and you won’t be charged for next year.”
You’re beginning to feel like the last person who went through the pass before this was hammered into the ground:
Fortunately, my credit card company made them give me a refund. I found out from friends on a social media site that they weren’t as lucky. Their credit card companies said, “Sorry — you knew the terms when you signed up for this.”
Like me, they’d believed the practice of notifying you a week or month in advance — thus giving you the chance to say, “no” — would continue for eternity.
The only one who still gives me a chance to reconsider each year is AAA. I’ve purchased their premium towing insurance every year since 1988.
I went through every charge on every payment site and credit card to ensure there were no other yearly subscriptions. When I found one, I sent notice that I was not to be charged for another year.
Of course, they wanted to know why.
My answer went something like this: “I needed an electron microscope to read the fine print on my 32 inch computer monitor. Have you no ethics?”
No answer. No apology.
I suppose that after people become wise to this new way to squeeze money out of subscribers, their numbers will drop so low in 2022 they’ll have to try a new approach: Honesty.
MY SUGGESTION: Go through every yearly subscription you have and cancel it. If you love the site, make a note on your calender a month before it’s due. Look at the going rate for the yearly subscription and cancel it if the price is too high.
Isn’t it better for you to be in control of your money than to find it’s been seized without adequate notice?