William is a Barnes & Noble member, which entitles him to discounts in the physical store and free shipping on the Barnes & Noble website. He renews this membership every year, when it expires. That’s at the end of the year. Or so he thought. [More]
Brian said last year a Sirius XM representative assured him his subscription wouldn’t automatically renew, but he found out recently that his account did auto-renew and he owes for the past year. The company won’t refund him and simply points out that its terms and conditions revealed his account would auto-renew.
Some members of the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) are pretty upset that the consumer advocacy group for gamers removed the ability to turn off auto-renewal on member accounts. They’ve also removed the phone number you used to be able to call to cancel. In fact, the only way to cancel your ECA membership now is to mail them a letter–and if your request isn’t processed at least 30 days before your membership is due to renew, you can expect to be charged again. Update: The ECA has responded, but their formal statement leaves a lot of questions unanswered.
Last week we mentioned that Costco has a habit of backdating the starting date for lapsed membership renewals, which prompted Monica to write in and let us know of another issue they seem to have with billing. If you renew your executive membership with Costco but then apply for the Costco American Express card, Amex will charge you the membership fee a second time. Monica says the Amex CSR who fixed the problem told her it happens all the time.
If you let your Costco membership lapse, then 2 months later renew it, Costco will backdate it to day it lapsed instead of the day you renew. The result: your 12 month membership suddenly shrinks to 10 months for the same price. Consumer Reports notes that Costco used to backdate renewals by as much as 5 months before a recent class-action settlement.
Xbox Live has struck again, this time by screwing up the auto-renewal on a customer’s account and ruining the prepaid annual membership he activated just three months ago.
Thirty-nine-year-old Shelly Koontz was arrested for failing to return a copy of the The Freedom Writer’s Diary that she borrowed last April from the Jessup library. The library had tried to reach Koontz through four calls and four letters, one certified, which she refused to accept. Fed up, library officials asked to press charges, leading officers to visit Koontz’s home with three simple options: return the book; pay the library $13.95 so they could buy a new copy; or, go to jail.
San Diego Union Tribune Tries To Trick Customers Into Renewing By Demanding Payment For "Unpaid Bill"
I received a call yesterday from my newspaper (the San Diego Union Tribune). The nice young man on the phone told me that I had an unpaid bill, and if I liked, he could take care of that over the phone with me right then. I take a certain amount of pride in paying all my bills promptly, so my first impulse was to go ahead and get it taken care of asap. But after the first few seconds of surprise and confusion, I got suspicious.
Maybe it’s because of the nice sunny weather we’re having after days and days of dreary, grey weather, but we’re in a good mood today. And our good mood means we’re less inclined to take the all-companies-suck-all-the-time perspective that some readers seem to think we need to be employing. Sometimes, believe it or not, companies screw up and then actually fix the problem.