• Report: #279917

Complaint Review: Ancestry.com

  • Submitted: Sat, October 20, 2007
  • Updated: Thu, April 17, 2008

  • Reported By:Lodi California
Ancestry.com
4800 North Provo, Utah U.S.A.

Ancestry.com False Advertising, Fraudulent Billing Provo Utah

*Consumer Comment: Ancestry.com

*UPDATE Employee: Does Not Say Anywhere?

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I signed up for their trial subscription and a one month world access subscription. It does not say anywhere on the offer that there will be continuous billing unless you cancel. That's in the fine print after you've already entered your information to join. There are no e-mail reminders to renew. My bank account was debited $29.95 each month since August, the only month I intended to pay for.

I was out of town for a funeral for a couple of weeks, so I missed when my card was debited in September. I just discovered that one and another automatic debit tonight. The newest debit is still pending with my bank, so I filed a dispute, and hopefully, the charge won't go through. I cancelled my subscription, and ancestry.com says it's valid until November. I hope that doesn't mean they'll try to debit my card in November. If they do, I will file a complaint with the California Attorney General's office.

I emailed the company and told them this, but, funny thing is, there is no way to contact them by e-mail through their billing department. There's a long list of "questions" and a "Did this answer your question?" button before any opportunity to e-mail them, and then when you try, you get an error message. The corporate honchos (President, VPs, etc.) have their names listed on the myfamily corporation's website, but they have no e-mail. The only e-mail addresses available are through the PR department and the fraud department. I e-mailed both of these.

The combination of deliberately making cancellation difficult and automatically billing credit cards without prior authorization makes me want to tell my Mom and anyone else I know who's tracing his or her ancestry to STAY AWAY from ANCESTRY.COM!!!

Sue
Lodi, California
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/20/2007 12:13 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Ancestrycom/Provo-Utah-84604/Ancestrycom-False-Advertising-Fraudulent-Billing-Provo-Utah-279917. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
0Author 2Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment

Ancestry.com

AUTHOR: Beth - (U.S.A.)

I have signed up for ancestry.com twice...once was 3 years ago and again this year....I have never had a problem with them and i did find their site very helpfull
I talked with a customer rep ...when i signed up I was told if i didnt cancel it would be renewed at the same rate i payed for another year...the first time i got it i call before it was coming up for renewal and had no problems what so ever getting them to cancel my membership...I just signed up again last feb and i am happy with them...all anyone needs to do is pick up phone and call to stop the renewal...
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#2 UPDATE Employee

Does Not Say Anywhere?

AUTHOR: Ancestry - (U.S.A.)

I'm sorry that you had a negative experience that all seems to have started with these statements.

"I signed up for their trial subscription and a one month world access subscription. It does not say anywhere on the offer that there will be continuous billing unless you cancel. That's in the fine print after you've already entered your information to join. There are no e-mail reminders to renew."

It's interesting that you claim that "It does not say anywhere on the offer that there will be continuous billing unless you cancel." This is interesting since on the same page where you are required to input billing information, you are given the opportunity to see this at least 4 times...and all of these opportunities are written in the same size font you are reading now.

1. In the top left corner it reads, "Your price after the 14-day free trial is $29.95 for your monthly subscription (plus any applicable tax)."

2. In the top right corner it reads, "Why do I need to enter a credit card? Why do I need to enter my bank account details? This ensures uninterrupted access to Ancestry.com, if you choose to remain a member after your free trial ends."

3. At the bottom of the screen it reads, "To ensure uninterrupted service, your membership will be automatically renewed one month from the time your free trial ends and your paid membership begins."

4. Before you can submit your billing information and activate your trial or subscription, you must check a box next to a statement that reads, "I have viewed and accepted the Terms & Conditions." It's true that if you had clicked on the Terms & Conditions link, you would have been presented with a long document containing several paragraphs. However, even a quick scan of the EMBOLDENED sections of the Terms & Conditions reveal the automatic renewal policy in paragraph 2.1 which reads, "Continuous Service Membership. Subscription membership in the Service is on a continuous service basis.

This means that once you have become a subscribing member, your subscription will be automatically renewed and your billing choice will be charged based on the subscription program (annual, quarterly, monthly, etc.) you have chosen." Yes, this is the same statement that appears right under the heading in ALL CAPS which says, "2. FEES AND PAYMENTS." This is all done in an effort to notify you of the policy.

As far as your claim of "There are no e-mail reminders to renew," that is correct...if you have a monthly subscription--which you did. However, this also appears in the same paragraph 2.1 and states, "Except in the case of monthly subscriptions, you will be notified by e-mail 15 days before your subscription will end, asked to correct any information which has changed and reminded of the opportunity to "opt out" of your renewal."

In short, if you're going to participate in a time consuming and reading intensive hobby like genealogy, please take the time to at least read the screen you are looking at before you hastily input your billing information, check a box stating that you have read and agreed to Terms & Conditions, and submit this information to activate a continuous service membership. As far as I can see, Ancestry.com isn't guilty of fraud in this case, but perhaps your claims are.
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