Friday, November 12, 2010

Classmates.com is major scam

Classmates.com just automatically charged me a renewal fee of $39.00. I did not ask for a renewal. I do not want a renewal.

Background: I did not attend my 35th high school reunion last July, but I did avail myself of the bargain-priced $9.95 Classmates membership that came with my reunion notification. (This is what I think Classmates.com is worth.) I used it for maybe 3 days. I did find some people I was looking for, which was my intention. (HI FRIENDS!) I paid the fee. End of story.

Ha. Not in our digital-rip-off age.

I saw the pesky, unasked-for renewal-fee, after it showed up on my September credit-card statement. I protested to my credit-card company, who duly took down the information. I called Classmates.com, for which I was only given a long-distance phone number, no 1-800 toll-free number, so I was already pissed.

Classmates puts you on hold (as the expensive meter runs, depending on your particular long-distance service), whilst you listen to the theme of The Breakfast Club, "Don't you forget about me"--over and over and over. Unfortunately, they never even let the whole damn song play, they interrupt it at various junctures to insert obnoxious and contrived sales propaganda. They claim 40 million members, for instance, and one can't help but think that at least half of them were hoodwinked into membership, just as I was.

As the Breakfast Club music plays, various voice-overs tell you little just-so stories about couples who broke up in grade school and have reunited decades later, all due to the wonderfulness of Classmates.com. The testimonial tells you they are GETTING MARRIED!!!! Now, how cute is that?

Finally, after listening to the same marriage story about 3 times, I got Jules. Employee number 4379, something like that. Jules stonewalled very well and I would give her a big fat 10 on her monthly quality review. When I got tired of the stonewalling, I asked for her last name, which she would not give. (We always had to, when I was in customer service; no bullshit "employee numbers"--which can be easily changed to cover one's ass.) When I asked for her supervisor, she claimed to have no supervisor for me to speak to. (Again, at my old job, protocol was immediate: you turned the call over to what was called a "coach"--not a real supervisor, but good enough for customers.) Classmates doesn't have any such protocol, obviously. No supervisor?

I told her it must be nice not to have a supervisor, what a cool job.

Jules sighed, "I do not have one AVAILABLE," she clarified.

"I can wait until one is available," I said, conscious that my long-distance charges will easily equal the $39, at this sorry-assed rate.

Jules said the supervisors call people back in the order the calls are received.

Ohhh, I bet they do. (Note: they haven't.)

I gave her my information. I shall be old and gray (older and grayer) by the time I hear back from Classmates, no question about it.

AVOID, folks, with all your might. I just found this from the New York Observer; which was published in August. Too late for me to have seen a year ago, but I certainly wish I had:

Ever visited a shady section of the internet, been presented with a popup from a certain company and wondered to yourself, "What does she look like now?" Don't take them up on their offer to show you! Classmates.com is officially a scam.

Andrew Cuomo, clearly going after the big guns in his last few months as attorney general, announced today that Classmates.com was among a group of six websites that will collectively pay $10.1 million in refunds and fines for defrauding customers with hidden fees.
And all I want is my $39 back!!!!

This story is still developing, as the big bloggers say. Meanwhile, I can at least warn the rest of you.

PS to Classmates: Facebook is free, did yall know that? Must be some pretty stiff competition, hm?

11 comments:

JoJo said...

Are you SERIOUS???? I've been paying for a Classmates membership for YEARS (I joined b/f Facebook)!!! Thanks for the info. I will now attempt to cancel my membership. Good luck to me, eh?

Classmates was good to hook up w/ a few people but I've found way more of my old friends on Facebook, which I prefer. One of my classmates/FB friends from high school told me she prefers to keep in touch on Classmates, actually, but I never go to that site anymore.

The Fabulous Kitty Glendower said...

The only way to really, REALLY cancel something that has your credit/debit card,is to report that card lost/stolen. Then you are issued a new number. When whatever company tries to renew, they will not be able to because it does not automatically roll over to your new number. I had to do that for AOL many moons ago. Also, I had to do it with my daughter's gym membership. It is a hassle but it stops them dead in their tracks.

DSens said...

Call up your credit card company and tell them what happened, hopefully you can get it taken off. Classmates.com already had lots of lawesuits against it and that may work in your favor. I have a free memebership But have been getting spam about how someone has signed my guestbook, of course no one really has and they just want to get people to sighnup, and they have been sued because of this!


Sad because Classmates.com is a good idea and when I first signed up 1n 1999 I don't think it had as many problems. But now it is very much a scam!

Sevesteen said...

Last year, my son wanted Sports Illustrated as a gift. On their website, there was no way to order a one-year subscription, the only option was 'auto renew'--and worse, you could not cancel the auto-renew without cancelling the balance of the subscription.

I was finally able to order one year and one year only at Amazon, otherwise I would not have ordered at all.

If you've got halfway decent internet service, consider Skype or Google Voice. I have been using Skype for several years--it is something like $25-$30 per year for unlimited US calls and voicemail, and it is worth it for being on hold, and for situations where I want to communicate by phone, but don't want someone to have my cell number. Google Voice may be able to do all that for free, and I suppose Magic Jack would also work, but I haven't used either of them.

Ann O'Dyne said...

dear Daisy - the power of bloggers will destroy them, and the banks they rode in on.
(ref: the crookssource.com kerfuffle)
Your creditcard people MUST have had many similar complaints, so i think they are stonewalling you too - persevere. Good Luck.

Jim said...

"dear Daisy - the power of bloggers will destroy them, and the banks they rode in on."

Amen, Anne. Amy Alkon was bashing Bank of America on her blog for more than a year for the way it mshandled stoeln acount information and the thefts that resulted.

sheila said...

Call your local attorney general and file a complaint. I bet the charge is off within a week. AG's offices really work. At least in Ohio, lol.

That totally is a scam, now that I read your post. That sucks. Good luck. So does this mean they can auto renew you every year? Bastards.

Mista Jaycee said...

WOW! Glad I'm too cheap and broke to pay the fee. Thanks for the tip
Jaycee

Becky said...

I just read some statement by a bank (perhaps BOA) that they will make every effort to notify auto pay accounts if your card is ever lost or stolen and replaced by a different number...so much for that idea...just switch card issuers.

I had free classmates with my very first email account. Had to close it down because of the spam. A few years layer curiosity got the better of me and I signed up for one year, the 9.95 version. Nothing interesting and quit within 1 month. Made sure all my info was deleted, relationship severed, etc. Guess I was lucky because they seemed to have gone away...maybe I blocked their mail too :)

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

I've found more people(and vise versa) on Facebook then classmates.

white rabbit said...

Is it me but does the classmate second right look like Jodie Foster in Clarice Starling/Silence of the Lambs mode???

Jus askin