• Report: #656396

Complaint Review: Highbeam

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  • Submitted: Thu, October 28, 2010
  • Updated: Mon, November 01, 2010

  • Reported By: Angela — East Longmeadow Massachusetts United States of America
Highbeam
Internet United States of America

Highbeam Highbeam.com Research Scam! Bait and Switch! Unauthorized billing for a year! Internet

*Author of original report: Class action against Highbeam moving forward!

*Consumer Comment: A class action lawsuit...

*Author of original report: Highbeam Research Bait and Switch Scam!!!

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Ultimate bait-and-switch rip-off and unauthorized charge for unrequested, unauthorized, unused and in-advance cancelled "yearly" membership!


I was shocked at the blatant consumer protection violations by highbeam in charging in advance for a "yearly" membership despite the fact that I 1)did not request it, 2) did not utilize the services beyond the free-trial because I found the site worthless, 3)was charged a "monthy" $17.04 membership fee on 8/28/10 and THE SAME DAY charged a whopping $318.70 for what, upon inquiry, I was later informed was a "yearly membership" on top of a monthly membership, neither of which I wanted or authorized. Even the "free trial" was essentially worthless in what it offered so I had absolutely no interest in or use for a paid membership.


I immediately called the company when I opened my MC bill and saw these outrageous and unauthorized charges.  I spoke with a representative who identified herself as "Glenda" and was uncooperative and spewed out the standard company script about the "contract" and "terms." 


I informed her that these charges were 100% unauthorized and represented payment for their "service" for a whole year IN ADVANCE! I immediately cancelled the membership and demanded a full refund.  After informing her that Highbeam was operating in direct violation of State and Federal consumer protection statutes and threatening to report them to the Attorney General's Office, she spoke with her supervisor "Karmen" and yes, they would issue a full refund immediately and cancel the billing for the "future" subscription.


Imagine my surprise when I was notified by e-mail that, yes, they would and had cancelled my subscription (hold on for this...)  However ... the "subscription" was to expire in September 2011!!! NO REFUND!


I followed-up again (by e-mail) to again reiterate my cancellation and get the refund I requested and was promised, since I had no intention of using and had cancelled their "service" yet they refused to refund any money.  The same alleged supervisor "Karmen" said "no refund" despite what I was initially told on the phone by Glenda who said Highbeam would refund the charges after discussing the matter with Karmen her "supervisor."


I am looking into filing a class action case and seek certification on a nationwide-basis since it appears that they are scamming victims all over the country, over and over again with no accountability and there are certainly grounds for such a case.  They are getting away with ripping people off because they know no individual can afford to bring an individual case since it would cost more than their claim.  Sadly, they are stealing people's money because they can do it.  I am grateful for this website to inform and hopefully protect and educate other unsuspecting consumers and to give us a voice. 


Fortunately, as a class action, there is strength and power in numbers and is the only mechanism to make Highbeam and other predatory internet companies financially accountable!!!


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/28/2010 07:58 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Highbeam/internet/Highbeam-Highbeamcom-Research-Scam-Bait-and-Switch-Unauthorized-billing-for-a-year-Int-656396. 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:
2Author 1Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

Class action against Highbeam moving forward!

AUTHOR: AE - (United States of America)

We can all see your login "name" is really Highbeam.com.  Save the defense for the class action case.

Your rebuttal clearly was posted to discourage people scammed by this company from taking legal action by attempting to make them think that no attorney will take their case, it will cost them money, there was no legal violations, they were stupid...  Nothing could be further from the truth.

For all of you out there who have been scammed by High Beam, there WILL be a national class action lawsuit and the case has been accepted by the attorneys at no cost to the consumers who become involved and the case. If you have been scammed by Highbeam.com, you can contact legal@ripoffreport.com to make this company financialy accountable and join me in this action to recover the money they owe us from their scam.

Apparantly, you are not at all familiar with any state or federal consumer protection laws nor are you aware of any controlling caselaw. Highbeam has egregiously violated consumer protection laws and has scammed unsuspecting, honest, people all over this country as well as internationally.  They have scammed many many unsuspecting consumers often for hundreds of dollars and have charged their credit cards with absolutely no authorization and to customers who had absolutely no interest in HighBeam's "service".  Each of us who has been scammed by HighBeam.com individually has no real "voice" or power to fight this, but fortunately the class action mechanism collectively gives us a real voice without legal costs.  A class action is the only way to make this company accountable for its unlawful practices. 

Apparantly, you are not familiar with consumer class action litigation cases.  Fortunately, there are two very experienced, national consumer class action firms who have agreed to take the case at no cost to anyone who wishes to join in the class.  Apparantly you are not familiar with class action attorneys' fees either.  Many factors are taken into consideration by the courts in determining attorneys' fees in consumer cases and often are not taken from the consumers' recovery but are paid separately by the defendants.  This method can amount to less than 10% of the total recovery for the class.   

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#2 Consumer Comment

A class action lawsuit...

AUTHOR: Ronny g - (USA)

..in this case is a waste to pursue, and I doubt you will find any law firm that would take the case pro bono. And even if you paid an attorney for this, they would end up with most of the winnings, IF they won.

Class action lawsuits are not a great way to get money back..but in some cases where millions of people are getting ripped off...particularly by huge powerful corporations and financial institutions, they can lead to law and policy changes that better us as a society and fetter the defendants until next time. In this case you simply used poor judgment and it may cost you $318.00

1) The site itself has no contact information, phone number, address etc..at least none that I could find..only email. That is red flag number 1.

2) Any "free trial" is suspect..or is most likely going to lead to a charge. Apparently you voluntarily submitted your credit card information or how could they charge you in the first place? If it was truly a "free" trial, why did they need any bank information? That thought did not enter your mind??? Red flag number 2. Now you imply that the charge showed up the same day..but also that you found the site worthless and did not utilize it beyond the free trial period. So you did use it up to the free trial period. Once the free trial period was up..they charged you..but most likely had the membership funds on hold since you first signed up. If you had canceled before the free trail was up, they would have legally had to release the funds. Since you did not..they took the funds for themselves instead of releasing it back to you. If they had taken the funds before the free trial period was up, they are in violation of their free trial offer, but you still needed to notify them before the 7 days that you wish to cancel.

3) When you go to sign up..there is a check box you need to click that says you agree to the terms and conditions. Since this site or service or whatever is not a necessity like a bank etc...I don't really know what it is even after going there...you had to have checked the box because it has an asterisk indicating it is a required field. You could not have joined unless you check that you agree to the terms. So apparently you did check that you agree. A trap?? perhaps.. but no one forced you to check the box. If anything in the terms violates the law..you have grounds for suit..but most likely their lawyers made sure they are covered. If you choose to file a personal suit against them, make sure a good contract lawyer can find any violations in their terms that would render it void, otherwise your next complaint lodged here will be that you were ripped off by a shyster lawyer.

4) It is a 7 day free trial. Everyone should be aware...the number of days listed as the "free" trial, generally means if you do not take some action to cancel before that number of days are up..you are now considered a paying member. I am sure that is in the terms but it may be difficult to decipher..and that could be by intent, but not necessarily violating any laws..

5) If you do an internet search for this company (enter "Highbeam Research complaints),other complaints of fraud and scam and bait and switch come up. So in hindsight, better to research a website before joining..the beauty of the internet is it is quick and easy to research so you can avoid getting suckered, or at least use what you find to help make a decision. It is a shame so many people research AFTER they sign up...this is naive and could display that greed got the better of you over common sense.

...all it takes to file a class action suit, is an agreement by the plaintiff(s), that they agree they can never sue the company individually. But regardless, if no one will take the case..it is irrelevant.

I think your best course of action if you wish to recover anything, is to consistently contact this company..tell them you will continue to report them on blogs and websites like this and complaints board, and the BBB, FTC etc. Tell them if they make good you will post that they have done so. What you have going in your favor..is they have an A+ rating on the BBB. 56 complaints...37 of which are billing and collection issues...47 resolved. So what this tells you, is that they have had similar complaints lodged against them..but show a history of making good. They may value their rating enough to work something out with you so use this to your advantage when contacting them.

But according to the terms, they really do not have a legal obligation to refund you anything...best advice and lesson learned..research websites before signing up..don't believe anything is ever free before investigating...and most of all..if you do not submit credit/debit card or bank information..no mysterious charges will show up on the account. You can bet your last penny..that anytime you submit credit card/bank information, that you are authorizing someone to charge it...99% if not 100% of the time.


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#3 Author of original report

Highbeam Research Bait and Switch Scam!!!

AUTHOR: AE - (United States of America)

Ultimate bait-and-switch rip-off and unauthorized charge for unrequested, unauthorized, unused and in-advance cancelled "yearly" membership! I was shocked at the blatant consumer protection violations by highbeam in charging in advance for a "yearly" membership despite the fact that I 1)did not request it, 2) did not utilize the services beyond the free-trial because I found the site worthless, 3)was charged a "monthy" $17.04 membership fee on 8/28/10 and THE SAME DAY charged a whopping $318.70 for what, upon inquiry, I was later informed was a "yearly membership" on top of a monthly membership, neither of which I wanted or authorized. Even the "free trial" was essentially worthless in what it offered so I had absolutely no interest in or use for a paid membership. I immediately called the company when I opened my MC bill and saw these outrageous and unauthorized charges.  I spoke with a representative who identified herself as "Glenda" and was uncooperative and spewed out the standard company script about the "contract" and "terms."  I informed her that these charges were 100% unauthorized and represented payment for their "service" for a whole year IN ADVANCE! I immediately cancelled the membership and demanded a full refund.  After informing her that Highbeam was operating in direct violation of State and Federal consumer protection statutes and threatening to report them to the Attorney General's Office, she spoke with her supervisor "Karmen" and yes, they would issue a full refund immediately and cancel the billing for the "future" subscription. Imagine my surprise when I was notified by e-mail that, yes, they would and had cancelled my subscription (hold on for this...)  However ... the "subscription" was to expire in September 2011!!! NO REFUND! I followed-up again (by e-mail) to again reiterate my cancellation and get the refund I requested and was promised, since I had no intention of using and had cancelled their "service" yet they refused to refund any money.  The same alleged supervisor "Karmen" said "no refund" despite what I was initially told on the phone by Glenda who said Highbeam would refund the charges after discussing the matter with Karmen her "supervisor." Moreover, highbeam told me I registered TWICE (under the same e-mail address mind you) so they were billing me (completely unauthorized) TWICE under the same e-mail address!!!  I am looking into filing a class action case and seek certification on a nationwide-basis since it appears that they are scamming victims all over the country, over and over again with no accountability and there are certainly grounds for such a case.  They are getting away with ripping people off because they know no individual can afford to bring an individual case since it would cost more than their claim.  Sadly, they are stealing people's money because they can do it.  I am grateful for this website to inform and hopefully protect and educate other unsuspecting consumers and to give us a voice.  Fortunately, as a class action, there is strength and power in numbers and is the only mechanism to make Highbeam and other predatory internet companies financially accountable!!!
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