• Report: #567748

Complaint Review: LegalZoom

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  • Submitted: Wed, February 10, 2010
  • Updated: Thu, January 03, 2013

  • Reported By: former LZ employee — Los Angeles California United States of America
LegalZoom
Internet United States of America

LegalZoom Legalzoom.com MISLEADING ADVERTISEMENTS and REFUSAL TO GIVE REFUNDS Internet

*UPDATE Employee: LegalZoom Reply

*Consumer Comment: I can confirm. This is indeed accurate! They will resist and refuse!

*Consumer Comment: thank you

*UPDATE Employee: LegalZoom Complaint from Brian

*Consumer Comment: They don't follow up with complaints

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Let's Examine What Happened

*Consumer Comment: Asked for a refund, bullied into paying by legalzoom.com

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: LegalZoom Sets the Record Straight About its Satisfaction Guarantee

*Consumer Comment: Legal Zoom is overpriced

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There are two sides to every story.  In my case, I guess I would be considered a whistle blower because I've worked for the company I'm reporting.  I guess that makes me qualified to tell BOTH sides of the story.  I am a former customer service rep who left the company because my standards would not permit me any longer to wrong the customers simply seeking to us our/their services.


Legalzoom's commercials advertise that they will practically do all the work for you.  Make no mistake about it, THIS IS NOT TRUE.


If you believed their commercial and decided to use their "services" (and they have many), once you signed up and paid your hard-earned money, if you find that you are not satisfied with what it is they did and you try to get a refund, the customer service reps are coerced by their managers to adamantly challenge your objections and resist all requests for refunds.  (Management kept a very close watch of how many refunds you approved and even if a customers requests were legitimate, CSR's  who continued to see the customers' side would be made an example of).  This issue of granting/denying refunds was of specific concern for this company because SO MANY people wanted them. 


Customer satisfaction is very low.  Michael Kim and Jacob Vargese (the top brass of Customer Service) are OBLIVIOUS as to how to make this company's customer service component run smoothly.  Their attempt to run this company like the Mafia (intimidating its CSR's and other service support staff) is a direct result of why the company has an extremely high turnover rate and why it uses 80%-90% poorly trained temporarily employees (who make less than $11/hr).  Jacob, an attorney, walks around staring at everyone like he wants to start a fight.  Michael is more subdued and sneaky but just as lethal in his intimidation tactics.  It should be stated that most people who start businesses through LZ don't know what they are doing and end up dissolving their corps or LLC shortly thereafter.  The sales team does a great job convincing people to form these entities in order to make their monthly sales numbers.  Sales reps promise customers they can call them back "directly" if they have any questions about the entity they are forming but when they do, customers  get quickly transferred to customer service never to hear from their sales person again.  This is the start of the customer's frustrating experience.


Then, if customers complained, we were trained to shove it in their faces that WE ARE THE BIGGEST and best compared to the other online legal doc prep companies.  The first part of that may be true (I think they are the biggest - false advertising will make you the biggest every time) but I definitely wouldn't call them the bestIntegrity needs to be factored into that equation in order to be considered the best.  For Legalzoom, their media advertisements disqualify them from having the quality known as integrity.


As employees, we were told the company was going to be ready for an IPO offering many times but to this day that has not happened to my knowledge.  The reason: they can't get their stuff to look pretty enough for an investor to a chance on them.  Granted there's a lot that goes into getting IPO ready but that's not where the problem lies.  They are so poorly run that it will take a ton of corporate hocus "poke-us" to make this hairy beast marriagable.  I know.  I've seen it from the inside and it's ugly.


I took a poll when I was there and it's by far the worst place anyone had ever worked in their life.  I'm just stating facts as I know them.  And if Legalzoom does respond to my report about them, I probably know the guy who will write it because I know just about everyone in the company.  The people that will say they like working there are only saying that because they don't want to be seen as traitors and subsequently be fired (remember this place is run like the Mafia).  These employees will NEVER tell you the truth because it would be committing employment suicide.


SOLUTION:  Corporate culture starts from the top and flows down.  In order for this company to get past this period of stagnancy it must shed the 2 individuals I've listed above.  While they may have DONE things that have helped the company get to this point, they are flying by the seat of their pants and reactionary at best in their attempts to LEAD a dynamic startup company.  Their hard work may have helped to make Legalzoom what is today but if the company is to move forward, it can not be saddled with the burden of ineffective leadership.  New dynamic CS leadership must be brought in, preferably from a top JD Powers CS award-winning company and that person needs to given the freedom to implement new policies and procedures directed at changing the image of this brilliant company.  If those aforementioned individuals are retained, their Mafia-culture tendencies will eventually exert its influence and find a way to fix the cards so that the new guy will lose.


However, seeing as how Jacob probably will not being going anywhere because of his multi-state license as an attorney provides the company with valuable non-profit counsel when forming their generic non-profit corporations, I guess this company is screwed.


Maybe both of the Brians (the owners) will manage to hock the company off on a couple of out-of-town rich dumb suckers sense the company is located in the heart of seedy tourist-infested Hollywood.  I mean, after all they are master salesmen.  How else do you think 2 Asian guys got all of America to think Robert Shapiro owns the company?  Absolutely genius!!!


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/10/2010 09:52 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/LegalZoom/internet/LegalZoom-Legalzoomcom-MISLEADING-ADVERTISEMENTS-and-REFUSAL-TO-GIVE-REFUNDS-Internet-567748. 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 7Consumer 2Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE Employee

LegalZoom Reply

AUTHOR: LegalZoom - ()

We're disappointed to hear you’ve had a less than satisfying experience with us, and we want to have an opportunity to make things right.   Please kindly submit your contact information to: Chyna@lzserve.com and we will review your order history for immediate resolution.

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#2 Consumer Comment

I can confirm. This is indeed accurate! They will resist and refuse!

AUTHOR: Joe Citizen - ()

The information provided in this report, as it relates to the apparent company policy of refusing refunds, is indeed accurate in my experience. If you have a product or service issue, legitimate or not, Legalzoom will likely refuse to honor their guarantee! It's obvious from the company's rebuttal that they didn't appreciate the publication of such a candid internal perspective. Sometimes the truth is ugly! The damage control effort that attempts to discredit the author of the original post is probably right out of the policy manual too.

If you feel like you're being jerked around, it's probably just standard operating procedure. Don't waste your time playing their game. Just give them the opportunity to make it right, and when they don't -- call the bank!

On 12/31/13, I placed an order for a Legalzoom product. Less than an hour after submitting the order, I discovered a problem while reviewing my state's law. In short, I needed to establish a new post office box address in order to properly file the documents. If I had not caught this little detail in time, Legalzoom would have filed my paperwork with the wrong county clerk, creating a variety of unpleasant complications. The circumstances in my situation probably don't occur very often. Still, I'm probably not the first, or the last. I don't recall seeing anthing during the order process to indicate or warn that an issue might arise. I can only imagine the nightmare of delays, expense, and frustration that would have resulted from blindly trusting their products and service.

I immediately submitted a request to cancel the order. Once more for emphasis...I discovered the issue, and requested cancellation of my order within one hour of submitting it.

Several days later, after 3 written requests to cancel, I finally received a response advising me that they will hold the order until I contact them via telephone to tell them how I want to proceed. I promptly replied stating that, "I don't think I could possibly make it any more clear how I wish to proceed regardless of the method of communication. I wish to cancel the order. Again, I respectfully request that you please cancel order # XXXXXXX." I also asked if he/she (message was not signed) was refusing to cancel the order? So far, I have yet to receive any further response from customer support. We're back to the silent treatment now I suppose. Apparently, three formal requests in writing doesn't quite spell it out sufficiently.

Without question, it is clear that they are deliberately employing tactics to stall and resist honoring their guarantee. I have subsequently filed a complaint with the BBB, and will initiate a dispute with the bank for chargeback post-haste. It is also worth noting that despite having an A+ rating with the BBB, they are currently showing 71 complaints "resolved". There's an interesting ABCNEWS article that details how the BBB will give anyone an "A" rating for the $425 fee to become "accredited". The article goes on to report that Better Business Bureau actually gave the terror group "Hamas" an A- rating for a mere $425. So, based on BBB standards, one might say that Legalzoom is only slightly better rated than Hamas.

Thanks to the author of the original post for his insight. I now know that it serves no useful purpose to continue playing their cat and mouse game. They have no intention of honoring my request to cancel. Initially, I would have been more than happy to accept a credit for future purchases as I would have re-submitted my order as soon as I established a new address. Since they have chosen to ignore, stall, resist, and refuse my legitimate request to cancel this order, a refund is now the only acceptable resolution. I have no further desire to conduct business with Legalzoom.

 

If only I had read this article before placing my order! Buyer beware! Legalzoom, it seems, has no scruples!

 

I might suggest that if you need to contact customer service, do it in writing. It might also be better to avoid using the "contact us" form they provide on the web page because you will have no record of your statement. "IF" they reply, the text of your message will not be included, and the record is lost. If you send an email direct to customersupport@legalzoom.com you will be able to retain a record of the thread. You should document your attempts to contact them so that you can be prepared to provide that information to the bank, or to your attorney. Also, if you call, there will likely be no record of your attempt to resolve the matter. They will most likely "turn it up a notch" as they argue and resist, potentially baiting you into losing your composure - which could ultimately hurt your chances at successfully disputing the charges and/or prevailing in any potential legal action.

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#3 Consumer Comment

thank you

AUTHOR: tatyana - (United States of America)

well i am glad i read this first i was about to pay 200 bucks for a name change for my kid. Wow thank you I go elsewhere.
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#4 UPDATE Employee

LegalZoom Complaint from Brian

AUTHOR: LegalZoom - (United States of America)

Hi Brian,

We're sorry to hear that you were being charged for a service that you were unaware of. The $29.99 charge is for a legal plan that entitles you to receive unlimited attorney consultations. If it's something that you specified you didn't want to participate in, you definitely shouldn't have been enrolled, and that's our mistake.

Contact  Patty@lzserve.com for a refund of these charges. We look forward to hearing from you.

LegalZoom Customer Care
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#5 Consumer Comment

They don't follow up with complaints

AUTHOR: Brian - (United States of America)

I am upset with a $29.99 charge (for 5 months in a row) for business pro advantage.  When I purchased my LLC I guess in the fine print you automatically sign up for this free for 30 days.  They they charge your credit card $29.99 per month and hope you never find out.

I contacted them twice by email to discuss this.  Never heard back.  I called and spoke to a customer service rep who matched what the original author of this complaint said.  This rep refused to work with me and also refused to transfer me to a manager. 

The original author is correct.  And she posted anonymously because she's doesn't want her name on the internet for the whole world to see.  A manager in charge of hiring doesn't want to take a risk hiring someone who might post a complaint later on down the road.  I can't believe this guy actually said the original authors claims are false because she didn't post her name.  What a moron.  Legal Zoom is a scam and until management is cleaned out it will always be a scam.
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#6 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Let's Examine What Happened

AUTHOR: Brian - (United States of America)

As one of the companys co-founders, Im disappointed to hear youve had a less than satisfying experience with us, and I want to have an opportunity to make things right.   

Id like to learn more about your situation.  Please kindly submit your contact information through our customer support page, and I will personally review your order history.  In the question section of the intake form, be sure to request that the information be forwarded to Brian Liu.

I look forward to speaking with you and hope to make your experience with LegalZoom a better one.

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#7 Consumer Comment

Asked for a refund, bullied into paying by legalzoom.com

AUTHOR: ShopperX - (USA)

This comment is to the owner of Legalzoom.com. You say you have a money back gaurentee and you claim that you stand by it, but when I asked for one when you were in the middle of drawing up my business documents they refused to give me one. I asked because I paid for rush service, and you were taking too long. In addition your customer service was poor. The rep I talked to was very very clear that I would not be getting a refund despite my complaints. I felt very mistreated by your company. After examining your documents I was even more disapointed. Not that kind of work I was expecting for the money I paid. Another major problem with your company is your communication with the customer. Every time I called you I got the feeling that the people there just didn't care anything about me or the money I had spent. I wanted my money back, but I gave up because your rep assured me it was not going to happen. I think you are just trying to save your companie's reputation by creating some kind of smoke screen. Another thing that really bothered me is that I created a LLC through your company in December 2009. About 2 weeks ago I get a piece of paperwork from your companie that I probably should have gotten last December? Hello? Seriously. Could you people care less about the customer there? It would be great if you would honor your promise and refund me my money because you did a awful job and to this day I regret using you. You won't do that though. You're just on here blowing smoke at everybody. I wish I would have just shelled out a few extra bucks and had this work done by a local lawyer. I chose you because your prices looked low. Turns out they aren't so low, and in addition the work is not good in my opinion. I am very hurt and disappointed by how I was treated.

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#8 REBUTTAL Owner of company

LegalZoom Sets the Record Straight About its Satisfaction Guarantee

AUTHOR: Brian - (United States of America)

The recent posting allegedly by a disgruntled former employee is factually inaccurate and contains allegations which are both meritless and malicious. It should come as no surprise that the "former customer service representative" resorted to anonymously conjuring up false stories and contrived accusations on the internet in an attempt to smear LegalZoom.  Clearly, the reason this "former employee" has not come forward and publically identified him/herself is that he or she knows that the allegations are false and cannot be defended.

I understand that people sometimes dont get along with their boss.  But comparing the company to a criminal organization?  PLEASE!

Our Satisfaction Guarantee is very clear -- we guarantee our customers satisfaction with our services and support.  If our customers are not satisfied with our services, they can contact us and we will provide a refund, correct the situation or offer credit that can be used for future purchases. 

Our guarantee policy is clearly posted on our website, and it would be unlawful for us to violate the policy.  To my knowledge, no other legal document service (or law firm for that matter) offers a similar satisfaction guarantee.  For detailed information on our satisfaction guarantee, please go to http://www.legalzoom.com/satisfaction-guarantee.html.

In the ten years since the company started, we have garnered appreciation from consumers who have been very complimentary of the products we offer and the way we operate.  We proudly maintain an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.  Furthermore, we survey each and every one of our customer to rate their satisfaction with our service.  94% of our customers responses state that they would recommend us to their friends and colleagues.

The fact is that people come to LegalZoom to start their businesses, protect their families, and launch their dreams.  Our founding vision was for an easy-to-use, online service that helped people create their own reliable legal documents.  We brought together some of the best minds in law and technology to make this vision a reality.  As Americas premier online legal document service, weve helped over a million people take care of important legal needs.

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#9 Consumer Comment

Legal Zoom is overpriced

AUTHOR: Dallas Native - (USA)

I almost did a will through LegalZoom.com but then saw this report by the ex-employee. I checked other legal online legal services and found another website that I did my will through for about 1/3 of the price that LegalZoom.com was going to charge.  Besides, who wants to be putting money in the pockets of some shyster lawyer that got O.J. Simpson off the hook for brutaly murdering his ex-wife?
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