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Did You Say 'Cancel'?
Thinking that I had properly canceled my contract with the dating service True.com within two weeks of signing up, I expected to be charged for one month of service: $50. Two months later, however, my credit card statement showed $153 in True.com charges. It turns out that rather than canceling my account, I had merely suspended it temporarily--and in the process, I had also unwittingly signed up for an additional True.com service to help me improve my profile, at $1 per month.
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.
True.com's president, Ruben Buell, told me that if I had followed the trail of cancellation links for one more page past the 'Suspend' turnoff, I would have been prompted to call the company's customer support line. So after all that effort, I still would have had to pick up the phone.
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