Home » Sharon Drew's Rants

Give ’em hell: getting a refund from bad providers

Submitted by on Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Recently,  a well-known Internet company re-upped my membership automatically when I had specifically and deliberately checked off the DO NOT AUTOMATICALLY RENEW box (hidden at the bottom, of course, but I was looking for it). What a surprise that a well-known, well-branded company would pull a trick like that. But the story gets worse.

I sent them a note on their re-up announcement, which also said Free Refund within 45 Days, telling them of their error, that I had checked off the ‘no re-up’ box, and to please refund my money.

To my surprise, they said they had no record of my checking that box, and that since this was the first they were hearing of it, they’d remove me from their list but there was a one month lag, and I’d have to pay about half of their 6 month charge as that was the fee for only one month. Sorry.

HOW TO GET A REFUND

I then went into action. And please, feel free to use my tactics, cuz they work.

A young woman answered when I called. “May I have your account please?” I immediately told her I wanted to speak with her supervisor, and trust me, I said, I was really angry and didn’t want her to have to get in the middle of it. Obviously trained to make sure calls didn’t move up the chain, she told me saw the issue and there was nothing to be done about it. I then raised my voice slightly and said:

“REALLY. Trust me on this. You do NOT want to deal with me. I’m really REALLY angry, and you should let your boss take this call.” She put me right over to him.

I went into action as soon as Rob took the phone:

“I want you to listen to what I have to say, because I’m a really, really angry customer, and if I don’t get what I want both you and  your company are going to be very unhappy. I have a blog with a readership of around 100,000, and people like and trust me. I promise you you will lose more business than the $59.99 you’re trying to charge me.”

“When I signed up for your site, I deliberately sought the ‘do not renew’ box and checked it off. The fact that you ignored my legal wishes means you’re using fraudulent business practices. Not only did I find your offering weak and would never again use it nor would I ever recommend it to anyone, but given the promise to provide a refund within 45 days on your re-up note, seems you are just cheating your customers at every turn, right? I bet lots of people would like that piece of information.”

“I expect you to remove and refund the charge, and take me off of your books. With no further discussion. And if you don’t, trust me on this, you’ll be a really unhappy camper.”

Rob replied: “You never let me speak. And you didn’t have to threaten me. I have the flexibility to remove this charge in full, but you’ll never be able to join our group again.”

And 5 minutes later, the charge was reversed.

There is no need for a discussion here. I didn’t yell or scream. I just laid it out. I get my charge reversed every single time this sort of thing happens. It’s a shame that businesses are doing this and assuming people will just sit back and take it. But since they are, a little bit of arm twisting can’t hurt.

sd

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  • http://twitter.com/karriflatla Karri Flatla

    It's so insane that it's come to this but it really has come to this!

    I asked a software company just the other day for a $30 refund because I can't get their software to work for me. I don't doubt it's great when it works, but the dude had the audacity to ask me all kinds of technical questions about my setup and finding the crash logs on my hard drive and on and on ad nauseum.

    I'm thinking: Is this for real?!? In the time it's taken to correspond this way via email couldn't we each have earned that $30 back already doing something more productive? It's freakin' downloadable software! It costs them NOTHING to give me a refund and the RISK of BAD publicity to withhold it.

    Where oh where is entrepreneurship in these moments?

    Karri