As usual, Amazon is pushing its Prime service these days, offering a free monthlong trial. On the surface, it seems like a reasonable offer for heavy customers: pay $79 and you get free two-day shipping with no minimum order amount and overnight shipping for $4.
Jon received this e-mail from the book club QPB. It promises free shipping, and a free travel set, if he pays shipping and handling. That shipping is on the travel set, we presume, but no one can really be sure.
If you’ve been tempted by Facebook ads promising cheap “introductory” offers from Seattle Coffee Direct or World Bean Cafe, located in the world coffee capital of Evanston, Illinois, readers Adam and Ivan say, “don’t do it!” The ads promise t-shirts or a free coffee grinder as an incentive to sign up, or tempting introductory offers. But you’re really signing up for a coffee delivery service for close to $80 per month. Or more, as reader Ivan learned. He says that the company accidentally billed him for, and sent, two bags of coffee per day.
You know what’s great about subscriptions? You forget to cancel them. You also pay more over time than you would if you were forced to buy items individually. Yeah, that’s awesome—for companies. The New York Times looks at current research on how consumers think about subscriptions, and why companies want to push them more than ever.
Meet Michael. He likes to read the newspaper. Sadly, his attempts to resubscribe to the Washington Post have resulted in abject failure. Hmm, we thought that newspapers were sort of hurting for subscribers…
Freescore.com is one of those online companies that offers a free trial, and then attempts to enroll its customers in a $30/month subscription service. Now they’re suing Yahoo in an attempt to reveal an anonymous blogger who quoted a Reuters article when criticizing the service, and who pointed out that Freescore is owned by a company with a reputation for billing customers without permission.
Game Publisher Square Enix Slapped With Class Action Suit For False Advertising, 'Product Enrichment'
One day, gamers will get together to sue Square Enix for always lying to them about how infinitely sequelized “Final” Fantasy games are never really final. But until then we’ll just have to sit back and see how this false advertising federal class action lawsuit against the game publisher plays out.
Just when free tv on the internet was starting to get good, Hulu board member Jon Miller had to go and talk about subscription fees. Miller, an AOL refugee who’s now squeezing cash out of consumers for News Corp, said last week of subscription fees: “in my opinion the answer could be yes. I don’t see why that shouldn’t happen over time… it seems to me that over time that could be a logical thing.” Charging for content isn’t his only big idea…
A couple of years ago, the New York Times did a piece on the poor treatment of teens hired to travel the country and sell magazine subscriptions door-to-door, but they’re not the only ones getting the raw end of the deal.
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.
Sirus-XM charges for access to its Sirius Music Player, but for the past few days, some customers can’t get it to work. One of them in this forum says it only connects after Howard Stern is over, and speculates that some cost-cutting measures have reduced available bandwidth, leading to locked-out customers. In another thread customers are complaining that popular third-party streaming radio services have been sent cease-and-desist letters from Sirius, further limiting access to streaming Sirius programming online. Naturally, Sirius-XM hasn’t responded to customer queries about the issue.
Update: eHarmony has returned the money.
Outside Magazine offered Tracey two free 2009 Calendars if she signed up for an annual subscription early last December. She thought her dad would enjoy the magazine and the calendar, so she accepted. Now it’s March and there’s still no calendar, and Tracey says every time she calls to complain, they tell her they’ll send it. In the meantime, her dad still has no idea what day it is.
Reader Christopher bought his daughter a Webkinz stuffed animal — for those of your who are not familiar with these toys — with each animal you receive a code that is good for a one year subscription to a virtual version of the toy. After a year — you need to buy another toy or you lose access to your previous pets. Buying more than one toy per year doesn’t extend your subscription, you have to buy one each year to keep it going. Christopher thinks this is unethical.
Someone needs to explain to Stonyfield Farm that free usually means that you don’t have to pay any money for the item in question. Especially in a case like this, where you’re already having to send in multiple proofs of purchase to prove you’ve “earned” the “free” item. What you find when you peel back the foil lid is some fine print that explains you also have to pay $2 for this free offer. SLR, who sent in this tip, adds, “I wrote to them via their web site asking what part of free don’t they understand, but received no reply.”
Note: this post is about restaurant.com, not restaurants.com. The two websites are not related. Tracey emailed us today to let us know that she just found a mysterious $14.95 fee on her credit card. It turns out a company called Shopping Essentials is now billing her as a monthly subscriber, and all because she bought some gift certificates via restaurant.com in December. To make matters even more shady, Shopping Essentials never contacted Tracey to let her know she signed up for anything, or to send her information about their services, or to call attention in any way to the fact that she now pays them a monthly fee.