I’ve just had a conversation with a business offering an online service.  They regularly offer 30-day free trials and I took up one such trial recently.  The problem is that 8 days after starting this FREE trial they billed my credit card.  Today’s conversation revealed that apparently I am ineligible for the FREE trial, so they decided to bill me without notice.  The $ amount is small and I would have thought a quick conversation would have cleared up the matter.  But as with all good call centre employees, they follow a script determined by the employer.  Apparently the supervisor who can make these big financial decisions is not in till Monday.  I’ll wait till after my conversation with him on Monday to reveal the details, or not.  Just one thing, if I don’t qualify for a free trial, stop sending me the offer!

This follows on the heels of a not dissimilar experience my husband went through earlier this year.  He signed up to Ancestry.com.au for a 30-day free trial, and cancelled within the trial period.  What do you know, the next credit card statement revealed a debit.  A visit to the webiste offered no clue for a quick resolution, as the contact form was so difficult to find, and the website so poorly constructed (one of the reasons my husband cancelled the trial membership) that it took 20 minutes and several crashes to finally send off a query.  We were heading overseas for a 7 week trip the following week so my husband stressed this point and requested urgent action.  No response whatsoever.  Upon returning from overseas there was an email waiting basically saying – “this is not our department, would you like us to forward your letter to the correct department?”  What the???  Well, you can imagine.  It took 3 months and 8 emails for this to be resolved.  At no time did this company offer anything constructive.  At last hubby was given a phone number to call and talk to a human being, who actually made a decision.  The funny thing was, a week later someone responded to his last email with “How can we help you?”  No it was no joke.

I wonder if anyone else has experienced something similar with free trials?

  1. Aaron Wakling 16 years ago

    Great post. I will read your posts frequently. Added you to the RSS reader.

  2. Don Muir 16 years ago

    Ooh, can’t wait till Monday. Yes, I’ve had similar experiences. Twice, in fact. And it feels like someone’s reached into my home and stolen from me.

  3. Janet Barclay 16 years ago

    I had a similar experience, though not quite as bad. I signed up for a music download service through Yahoo! because I needed one song for a PowerPoint presentation I was creating for one of my clients. I thought I cancelled the service after downloading the song I needed, so I was quite surprised when I received my credit card statement with a charge for the first month. Then, when I went to cancel it “again” I realized that it was a three-step confirmation process and I stopped after confirming twice (whoever heard of having to confirm three times?!?).

  4. […] See part 1. […]

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