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I Hate Linux

Saturday, April 09, 2005

NationMaster... Scam?

At the request of the honorable Mr Abbott (aka The Experience), who has completely capitulated in the copbuyitaphobia wars has asked me to briefly discuss a scam that he was a victim of.

To quote Mr Abbott:

I request that Emir Hat's Ever Victorious Armies assist the good peasants of tdaxp in a just quest

It seems that he was scammed by NationMaster. A while back, he signed up for a time, and finding no use for the service canceled it... only to be billed several more times. Not to mention some issues in getting refunds for said charges.

Not unlike the scam AOL perpetrates IMO. They make it insanely easy to join... but very very difficult to cancel. Sure, you can write them a letter asking them to terminate your account... but who has the time for that? Instead, you call their 800 number and wait on hold for 30 min to speak with one of the 14 persons who can assist you. Of course...when you do try to cancel, they spend a great deal of time trying to talk you out of it, often by making you feel guilty about it. If I had to guess... Id say they hire Catholic Priests for this job, after all...who knows more about guilt than Catholics?

You realize that by terminating your account, everyone who you've ever talked to on AOL will think less of you and curse your name until the day you die.

Don't you love us anymore?

If you do cancel... you will never be able to talk to ANYONE online again... EVER!

If you have the stalwartness to endure the cancellation representative (aka Priest), they will finally agree to terminate your account... ending with that there is a chance that your account might be billed one last time, and if that happens you should just call them and they will reverse the charge.

Of course, having gone though all of that, if you did find a 19.95 charge on your credit card courtesy of AOL for an unused month of service... what are the chances you would want to go through being on hold again for another 30 min?

Add to that the countless persons who give up on trying to cancel their account. Either because they cannot handle the 30 min hold times, or the banter and guilt trips on how bad it is to cancel, end up just writing off the 20 a month they loose to AOL.

It would be nice if AOL were to make closing an account just as easy as it is to open one... but then that wouldn't make them as money in this dishonest and rather scammy way.

Same goes for NationMaster it seems. I will admit I do not have any documentation or conclusive proof of what Mr Abbott claims against them, but knowing him and the fact that he does not get angry with companies very easily or without good cause...I do believe him on this.

By that, it seems that NationMaster is a scam artists in their own way. Such a shame that they don't spend the extra time to ensure accounts are canceled and not rebill... which should NEVER happen when you deal with electronic billing. It is not too hard to be able to have a cancellation action remove the billing information or at least set a flag that said account should not be billed again unless there are regular, non standard charges.

AOL doesn't do this, nor it seems does NationMaster.


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