The other day I got an email with an offer that looked interesting. I clicked on the link and scanned the sales page, looking for the price. It was one of those looooong sales letters, but I found the price, read the terms and decided that the product was worth $9.95, especially with free shipping.
I entered my payment information and clicked submit. That is when the bad things started happening.
First I had to go through multiple pages of “one-time offers.” Each page was very long and took forever to load (even with my fast connection), and I had to click on the “No thanks” button each time.
Then I got email confirmations of my purchases. Purchases? Plural? Huh? I thought I bought one book for $9.95. But, no. The email confirmations showed that I also bought a group of products for $197. And that $9.95 product? I was charged $29.95.
I will give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that while I was clicking through all of those special offers, I accidentally clicked on the order button for the $197 product. The pages were loading slowly, so the buttons may have shifted as I was clicking. However, I did not intend to order it and did not want it. And I was not given the opportunity to confirm my order and just hit with a charge for $197. Their ridiculous order process caused the error. I verified that the price of the other item was shown on their website as $9.95, and took a screen shot.
The only way to contact them is through their help ticket system, so I filed a request for a refund of the $197 plus the $20 overcharge. This is where it really gets interesting.
The first response I got suggested that instead of a refund, they would give me three additional products that I also do not want. I said, no, I want a refund.
So the second response said that they had refunded the $197, but again offered an additional product instead of the $20 refund. They blamed a “technical error” for the overcharge. No, I want a refund of the overcharge, or I want the entire order canceled and my $29.95 refunded.
Still waiting for the next response. If it is not a refund, I will initiate a charge back through my credit card company. This is absolutely unethical marketing and customer service, and I will not allow someone to make a profit from me by using these kinds of tactics. The only reason I have not already done a chargeback is that I am curious about what they will do next.
This process has been inconvenient for me. But for many other people, it could be more than inconvenient–it could be expensive. Many people use debit cards, and they may not have an extra couple hundred dollars sitting in their accounts. Getting unexpected charges of $217 could cause them to overdraw their accounts and get hit with lots of fees.
Maybe this kind of sleazy marketing works. Maybe most people are fine with this. I am not. I am unsubscribing from all of this marketer’s lists and will never do business with anything he is involved with.
Just say “NO” to sleazy marketers.