PC World Senior Editor Tom Spring signed up for 32 online accounts and then tried to cancel them, documenting the incredible hassle, false billing charges, and crazy runaround he got from vendor after vendor. After reading this there's no way I'll ever sign up for NetZero, AOL, True.com, Classmates.com, BlueMountain, Rhapsody (ick), Napster (double-ick), ESPN, or MSN Intenret.
Here's where I went wrong: When I went to True.com's Customer Care page to unsubscribe, I selected 'Cancel' and the programmed instructions prompted me to type a cancellation request into a text field. After doing as instructed, I clicked 'Continue'; the next screen then asked, 'Are you sure you want to cancel?' In response I clicked yet another link labeled 'Click here to cancel your membership'.
On the next screen, instead asking me again if I wanted to cancel my membership, the routine asked me if I wanted to "suspend" my subscription. At the bottom of the window was a big 'Continue' button, and below that--in gray (not black) type in the smallest font on the page--was a link labeled 'Cancel my subscription'. I clicked the 'Continue' button, not realizing that by doing so I had merely suspended my account for seven days.
When I called True.com to ask why I had been charged, a customer service representative named Jeff noted that there is a difference between suspend and cancel. I complained about the cancellation process and pushed for a refund. Jeff agreed to reduce the outstanding charges by $50.
I might have faced additional hassles if I had disputed the charge with my credit card company. When I belatedly examined True.com's terms-of-service agreement, I found a section stipulating that if I were to "fraudulent[ly] report an authorized charge by True.com" as "unauthorized," I could be held liable for $1000 per incident in damages. I call that tough love.
(Via Boing Boing.)