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.And all I want is my $39 back!!!!
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.
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?