Reader Uses BBB To Retrieve Gold From Classmates' Clutches

Remember Kelly, the one who couldn’t get her money back from Classmates after she canceled her automatically renewed gold membership?

She took advice from comments to contact the Better Business Bureau, and the tactic worked some magic. She forwards the letter from Classmates admitting defeat:

We are in receipt of the Better Business Bureau complaint filed by Ms. Kelly XXXX regarding her claim that Classmates automatically renewed her membership and charged her credit card without her permission.

Classmates provides information in several locations on its website and within the Gold membership registration process that fee-based memberships will automatically renew. Below, I have outlined the process and the various places in which Classmates notified Ms. XXXX of the Automatic Renewal Program.

Ms. XXXX purchased a 1 Year Classmates Gold membership on July 9, 2008. On the payment information page of the Gold membership purchase process, Ms. XXX was notified that her membership would automatically continue without interruption and that her credit card would be charged the then-current rate on the renewal date of her purchase and that Ms. XXXXX could cancel her automatic renewal at any time. Prior to completing her purchase, Ms. XXXX was presented language that stated ”By clicking the ”Submit” button below to purchase your Gold membership you agree to the Classmates Terms of Service,” along with a hyperlink to the Terms of Service.

The ”Automatic Renewal Program” section located under the ”Subscription Services” portion of the Terms of Service states that Classmates will automatically renew members enrolled in the Automatic Renewal Program on the anniversary of their purchase using her credit card information, unless the member provides Classmates with prior notice that they are canceling their membership subscription, and that Classmates may renew the member’s subscription without further authorization from the member. A link to the Classmates Member Care Department is provided to members if they wish to cancel their automatic renewal option, cancel their subscription, or change their payment method.

Once Ms. XXXX completed her Gold membership purchase, she was presented with a ”Thank You” page that indicated that her membership was scheduled to automatically continue without interruption and that she could cancel this renewal option by logging onto the ”My Account” section of the Classmates website. The ”My Account” section is accessible from nearly every page of the Classmates website and is located in the upper right hand corner of the webpage. Once a member logs in to ”My Account,” they will see a ”My Membership Information” section listed at the top center of the page. Underneath this header, the Membership Type, Expiration Date and Renewal Option are listed. By clicking the listed hyperlinked renewal option choice, members can change their renewal option from automatic to manual.

Shortly thereafter, Ms. XXXX would have received an email to the email address she supplied during her Gold membership registration. The Member Welcome email contained Ms. XXXX’s membership registration number and her password, membership start date, her renewal date, and the amount Ms. XXXX paid for her Gold membership.

According to our records, Ms. XXXX did not opt out of the automatic renewal program and her membership was renewed for an additional term and her credit card was charged $39.00 on July 9 2009, per our Terms of Service that she agreed to during her initial purchase.

According to the Classmates Terms of Service, Classmates has a no refund policy, however, as a matter of customer courtesy, I have refunded Ms. XXXX’s $39.00 membership fee on August 27, 2009, per her request. Ms. XXXX should note this refund on her account within the next 30 to 60 days depending on her financial institution’s billing cycle. Since it is unclear from Ms. XXXX’s BBB complaint’s desired resolution statement, I have converted her Classmates membership to a free, basic membership. However, if she would like to cancel her free membership she can use the following link to remove herself from the Classmates website:

I hope this information has successfully resolved Ms. XXXX’s complaint. Should the BBB or Ms. XXXX have any questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact me at


Brandy Baker
Consumer Compliance & Contract Manager
Classmates Legal Department
Classmates Online, Inc.

So there you have it, Classmates members who would like to give up your gold status and get your money back — proof that it can be done.

(Photo: phototaker)

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.