• Report: #309513

Complaint Review: MU Productions - Mysterious Universe Podcast Premium Services - Benjamin Grundy

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  • Submitted: Sat, February 16, 2008
  • Updated: Sun, March 01, 2009

  • Reported By:Morgantown West Virginia
MU Productions - Mysterious Universe Podcast Premium Services - Benjamin Grundy
http://www.mysteriousuniverse.org , West Virginia U.S.A.

MU Productions - Mysterious Universe Podcast Premium Services - Benjamin Grundy He will take your money, release about %10 of the podcasts promised, offer you a refund, and never give it to you. West Virginia Internet

* : All requested refund were processed

*Consumer Comment: Suprised

*Consumer Suggestion: Things to Keep in Mind...

*Consumer Comment: Allegation more than true.

*Consumer Comment: Allegation untrue

*Author of original report: Even more evidence against Grundy

*Author of original report: More clarification

*Author of original report: Re: Laughable response from Mr. Grundy

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Clarification from owner

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Clarification from owner

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Clarification from owner

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Clarification from owner

*Author of original report: UPDATE

*Author of original report: Corrections and Clarification

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There is currently a lot of crap hitting the fan on this site. A lot of customers are very angry. The services promised to Premium Members include extra podcasts and extended versions of the regular podcast. However, there has been a serious, serious lack of material being posted. Here's the story.

It costs $5 a month to get these services. Back in November, I paid for a ONE-MONTH subscription. No, I didn't have to cancel my membership after a month, it was straight-up "one month's service" with a one-time five dollar fee...supposedly.

In November, Benjamin Grundy, the host and owner of the show, did not release nearly enough shows to justify charging people for any type of service. He publicly offered a refund to members. My service continued into the next month and I stupidly assumed this to be a courtesy...because after all, I had paid for only one month, how could be continue to be charging me? Well, it continued into January and I found out I was being charged still, due to an enormous overdraft fee I had to pay since my inactive card was still being charged.
Since November, Benjamin Grundy has done a horrible, horrible job of releasing his podcasts on schedule. He continually makes excuses for himself. I think there is no excuse for not delivering your product when people are paying for it, PERIOD. He has now offered refunds again but refuses to answer any emails regarding his behavior. To my knowledge, no refunds have been given, many on the site are angry and my numerous emails have gone unresponded.

Never, never give this guy a dime because not only will you not get what you paid for, but there's a chance that you will pay a lot more than you ever signed up for, like I did.

Jessi
Morgantown, West Virginia
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/16/2008 06:05 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/MU-Productions-Mysterious-Universe-Podcast-Premium-Services-Benjamin-Grundy/West-Virginia-26505/MU-Productions-Mysterious-Universe-Podcast-Premium-Services-Benjamin-Grundy-He-will-ta-309513. 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.

Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
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Updates & Rebuttals

#1

All requested refund were processed

AUTHOR: Benjamin grundy - (Australia)

All our customers were directed to contact our support email address to request refunds. All refund requests were processed and all customer subscriptions were canceled.

Any customers who claim they did not receive refunds are advised to contact support@mysteriousuniverse.org to resolve the matter.
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#2 Consumer Comment

Suprised

AUTHOR: D.brown - (U.S.A.)

I must say that when I read some of these negative reports about the MU podcast and Ben Grundy I was suprised. My experiance as a free member and then a premium member was nothing but positive overall. When I first signed up as a premium member I could'nt get my special RSS feed to work. Thinking it was user error on my part (eventually found that it was) I fooled around with it for a couple of weeks trying to get it to work with no success. I finally emaied Ben about the problem. He got back to me the very next day and was even concerned that I had'nt contacted him sooner. He included a new RSS feed and a link to his utube video guide to making the feed work. Not only did it work but I recieved ALL the MU podcasts and Mind Shots episodes to date. Also he did'nt even draft my PayPal account for the next month. Now with that said, yes there were a few promised showes that never came to fruition, and no, I did not submit for a refund for those shows so I cannot speak to the issue of ever getting a refund or not. My view of Podcasting is it is a fairly new medium, and with that are some problems to be overcome. I must agree with the joneslevine post in that Ben Grundy is not the Fox network or CNN. He does not have limitless hoards of manpower at his disposal to help him produce one of these episodes. I also agree with Jessi that a business is a business and should be ran as such. I don't think Ben is a plaid pants striped shirted South Florida used car salesman looking to rip anyone who steps on to his lot either. I believe he truly wants his show to be top flight and I believe he probably pulled it down to get the kinks worked out. Lets remember Ben started MU as a part time gig and then went full time. Perhaps a little too deep a little too soon but the quality and content of the show for me far outweighs a few inconsistencies. I hear the show may be returning for '09 hopefully with these kinks worked out, as for me I will probably give Ben and MU another try.
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#3 Consumer Suggestion

Things to Keep in Mind...

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

Here is my story:

I signed up via PayPal for a six-month subscription (six months for $25.00). I knew that it was an ongoing thing unless I went to PayPal and canceled the subscription. In other words, unless you go there and cancel it, you will get billed again for the same amount of time you signed up for in the first place.

Now, after the six months were almost up, I canceled my subscription because I knew I'd be moving and wasn't sure how quickly I'd have my machine up and running. When I finally got settled, I wrote to Ben and he gave me a new feed that gave me all the stuff I'd missed as well as a lot that I never paid for.

Now, Ben made some mistakes as far as the money end of the show is concerned. I can't expect anyone to be happy about the fact that the show has been so off-and on for the past few months. But let's also consider that he turned his entire life upside down to accommodate a show that is in every way, completely unique. I'd have paid for every minute of it but he gave away most of it for free.

This isn't a guy who rips people off. It's a normal guy who got in over his head. There is no reason to bad mouth him.
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#4 Consumer Comment

Allegation more than true.

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

The allegations above are completely and utterly true. I was a premium subscriber for about 7-8 months until the excuses, the contempt, and disrespect displayed by the host was just not worth the entertainment value. And by contempt I dont even mean his snide/snarky comments to certain consumers in the forums or on here, I am talking about his apparent entitlement to other peoples money (his FANS) with absolutely zero responsibility or decency to communicate in any form. The forums are the most pathetic form of censorship Ive ever seen. If you have to not only delete entire threads in your forums, but to delete EVERY SINGLE negative (even mildly critical) post to the point that it shows nothing but praise, you are deceitful and the truest form of a lying con artist. The host hasnt said a single word in over a week following his departure post, which even before this there was one MS and one "interview", leaving his paying customers with three entire episodes totaling in 3 hours of content since 4/12 (today is 5/21). He still manages to obtain the money however. But of course others like Neal and his cohorts would make you believe that Ben is due some kind of courtesy like you would extend a friend. Im sorry but this is a business, and one of the most poorly run in every possible way. Dont waste your time or money on someone who will take your money and give you absolutely nothing in return.
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#5 Consumer Comment

Allegation untrue

AUTHOR: Neal - (Australia)

There is no 1 month subscription only option with Mysterious Universe.

I must also draw attention to the fact that an ongoing subscription service payment is exactly that, an ongoing subscription, and is subscribed to until the customer chooses to cancel the subscription.

There is a big red UNSUBSCRIBE button on the subscription page that is really hard to miss unless you just didn't bother to go and look for it.

The PayPal subscription system as used by Mysterious Universe, is used worldwide by millions and well known in the USA and has very strict policies that give customers a high level of security.

Although the show release has been inconsistent, what listeners have been receiving far exceeds the value of $5 per month. Similar quality products can cost up to $29.95 per month with no free content offered.

I can testify to the extremely high quality content that has been produced for listeners FREE of charge and you only have to subscribe if you want the extra material and want to support such a great show.

This small subscription fee enables the producer to subsidise the many hours it takes to research and produce such a program and produce a high quality website for the use of it's listeners.

There is a very high level of support from the Mysterious Universe Fan base for Mr Grundy who is experiencing some unforseen circumstances.

When self employed the individual put's everything on the line to provide their services without the security net of full time employment. For someone new to the realm of self employment providing such a high quality production, I think a little tolerance can be afforded until they get off the ground.
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#6 Author of original report

Even more evidence against Grundy

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

I think it's very clever that Ben Grundy came up in here trying to act like an innocent victim of slander. Well, here's a collection of comments from other angry customers, copied and pasted from www.podcastalley.com:

RIPOFF
DO NOT SUBSCRIBE TO THIS SERVICE. Mr. Grundy is known to disappear for weeks on end with no explanation to paying "premium" members. He promises 1 free podcast each week. For 5 bucks, you are supposed to get an extension to that podcast, plus 3 "Mindshots" episodes per week and other "bonus" content. He never delivers the Mindshots episodes, and he has been gone for nearly 2 weeks at this point, with no explanation, and his site is down. He's still happy to take money, though! His modus operandi is to come back after weeks missing, and he "gladly" offers refunds for the time he was gone. He then never makes the refunds happen, and never returns correspondence when people contact him for the money back that he promised. As of this post, he has been gone for nearly 2 weeks, and his site's pages all to go a "Maintenance Mode" page (which means that there is no content or communications options available). Good job, Mr. Grundy. You have learned nothing in the world of business, obviously. You had a great thing going, and you crapped all over the people who tried to support you in your decision to have a successful podcast, which could have led you to a nice chunk of change every month. But I am sure that there are many people who are on recurring payment plans through PayPal who don't know that it is a recurring payment... and I am sure that you will be more than happy to keep collecting their payments, evern though you are putting out no product whatsoever. To be an honorable human being, you should IMMEDIATELY shut down your PayPal account so that you can't receive any more payments until you get your site back up and running. Until you do shut down all incoming payments, you are nothing but a scam artist, and should be prosecuted. Again, WARNING!!! DO NOT SUBSCRIBE TO THE "PREMIUM" SERVICE OF THIS PODCAST!!!! You will get no content, no communication, and no refund!!! Shame on you, Mr. Grundy.
Submitted By: e7018
(369,095 on 3-2008)


-----

Buyer Beware
The previous poster is not kidding. Mysterious Universe is a fantastic podcast when Mr. Grundy can be bothered to produce, which unfortunately isn't very often. He has more potential than perhaps any broadcaster or podcaster in many years, but never seems to manage to get his act together. His premium subscribers pay $5 a month to hear one excuse after another, in the hope that he may one day provide what his agreement actually says he will provide. And now his web site has been in "maintenance mode" for a week, with zero warning or explanation to his subscribers. This leaves his subscribers unable to even unsubscribe. His email support address for those who need to contact him is: premium@mysteriousuniverse.org
Submitted By: elementalpub
(369,138 on 3-2008)

----

At this point I'd also have to agree. While the podcast is fantastic and has excellent production values, I could not justify paying for the premium membership. As has been said the website has now been down for well over a week with no updates or warning explaining why or when it may be back. He continually claims to refund all anyone who wishes when he misses week but there are still numerous complaints from those who have not received their refund. If this was a one off deal, it would be understandable but his failure to stick to a schedule is getting ridiculous. I'd encourage everyone to listen to this really great podcast but do not pay for the premium membership.
Submitted By: sjduncan
(369,195 on 3-2008)

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DAMN STRAIGHT
This is a good podcast if you only listen to the free version. Let's remember some of his many excuses for failing to deliver shows as promised: 1) his grandfather died 2) he had a bad week at work 3) he needed some special recording booth to drown out other people in the house 4) the booth hadn't arrived yet 5) still waiting for the booth 6) ooops he accidentally uploaded only the first 5 minutes o a show and didn't fix it for a week 7) now the site is in "Scheduled" (i.e. totally unannounced) maintenance mode for over a week. I suspect its only down to avoid negative comments being posted on the site, which is why such comments have moved here. LOL Ben, you have no business taking anyone's money!!!!
Submitted By: modelthry
(369,199 on 3-2008)

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Stay Away
I was a premium subscriber until the end of last summer when I had finally had enough of the unprofessional behaviour of the host, Benjamin Grundy. The occasional missed episode I could forgive, but it was the complete lack of communication with his paying customers which made be quit my subscription. In fact, despite failing to live up to his end of the agreement Mr. Grundy quite unprofessionally blamed and berated some of his unsatisfied subscribers in the previous incarnation of the forum, which I believe led in part to its closing and the establishment of a new forum. Seems that in my time away not much has changed. Mr. Grundy is still apparently feels entitled to his premium subscribers money without so much as offering an explanation when he can't deliver the promised material. I never bothered requesting any refunds, and although it seems people eventually get their money, it is in my opinion a deceptive business practice to continually fail to deliver the content and then place the onus on the consumer to request a refund. It's too bad my first experience paying for a podcast ended in such disappointment.
Submitted By: ll8jvoktvq9v4sh
(369,210 on 3-2008)

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I don't understand
I don't understand how someone could blow off their paying customers by just yanking their website for no reason and with no explanation whatsoever. It seems beyond unprofessional to me. And now the support page has been yanked, so paying subscribers don't even have a way to unsubscribe? This seems like a clear case of fraud to me. How hard would it be to type out a simple explanation to subscribers and post it on the MU web site? I love MU and wish things were different. This sort of behavior is beyond apology. Who would knowingly do business with such a person?
Submitted By: epihelion
(369,407 on 3-2008)

----

Fraud, plain and simple
I can't believe this guy - he charged me again for his service before I could change my PayPal information, but a week after I canceled! Be sure to change your PayPal information. People can make all the excuses for Ben that they want, but he is not providing anything near what he claims he will. We all have to work in exchange for money; this isn't a tip, it's a payment for services. The fact that he is still charging people's accounts after disappearing for weeks on end and removing his subscribers' only way to cancel is flat out fraud.
Submitted By: hiddendoorway
(369,510 on 3-2008)





Oh. Trust me, there is more. You can check it out for yourself here.

http://www.podcastalley.com/see_comments.php?pod_id=14623


Want to read a more sanitized version? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mysterious_Universe


I would LOVE to see another rebuttal now. I'll laugh even harder at it than the first one.
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#7 Author of original report

More clarification

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

Not only did I not receive "five emails" as Mr. Grundy claimed, I never made offensive or in any way threatening emails to him. If he is threatened by customers complaining about his lack of work, apology, or ethic, then that is his problem and maybe he shouldn't be running a business. As for the fraud allegations - I stand by them. He promised three podcasts a week, he never delivered, never offered any apologies or even explanations to his customers. He can whine and lie and try to slither out of the facts and blame his customers for his problems with running his business ALL he wants, the truth is out there in the internet about this man.

There are several complaints, so he is up in arms, on the offensive, trying to erase them all. If there wasn't false advertising and fraud going on, he wouldn't have had to drastically change his stated release policy. Plain and simple. I literally laughed out loud at the "false fraud allegations" statement in his rebuttal. Everyone go and light a candle for Ben Grundy, he's being attacked by his customers for not delivering his product as advertised and being condescending and rude to them all! Boo hoo!
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#8 Author of original report

Re: Laughable response from Mr. Grundy

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

Ben Grundy can turn around the blame on the customers all he wants - in fact, it's his specialty. When complaints from numerous customers got too heated, he yanked his website down with no warning to paying customers. He continued charging people throughout this "hiatus", knowing it was wrong, and using the excuse "Well, they can get a refund". Maybe that USED to be the case, but according to his NEW terms and conditions, there are no refunds now, and NO GUARANTEE that any material will come out at all.

The truth is, this man doesn't care about his customers, he treats them like garbage. Most of his energy during the hiatus was spent deleting negative comments from the site and cleaning up his trail of garbage. Meanwhile, he remains to get on a set schedule for delivering content. Releases are still sporadic and he has now changed around his policies so no one can complain about his laziness and lack of work. I still wholeheartedly suggest that no one get into this mess, you will be sorry you did and now you can't even get a refund. That's the truth. Go read the new terms and conditions and get out before it's too late and the refund policy ends. I believe it ends April 5th.
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#9 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Clarification from owner

AUTHOR: Benjamin Grundy - (Australia)

I really wish this customer was able to read the website clearly before submitting their ranting complaints on this site.

Firstly, this customer did not read the website correctly when signing up for a subscription.

The signup page and PayPal confirmation page clearly stated that the membership option was a $5 Monthly Plan.

The button you click to purchase a membership is rather large, bright green button that states the following:

"Subscribe Now - Monthly Subscription"

Again it is unfortunate that the customer did not understand what the terms "$5 Monthly plan" and "Monthly subscription" mean.

Now since the customer signed up for this monthly plan he/she was subsequently charged $5 each month for the service. Every month he was charged he was sent an email by PayPal as a receipt for his payment.

Despite receiving these emails for 5 months the customer never once contacted us to ask to cancel the service.

Next thing we know we have several offensive and threatening emails crying fraud from this customer.

The customer was refunded for all the payments he/she made.

The Mysterious Universe podcast has also had missing episodes for every month in 2008. All paying subscribers have been offered refunds for these months and all refund requests have been fulfilled.
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#10 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Clarification from owner

AUTHOR: Benjamin Grundy - (Australia)

I really wish this customer was able to read the website clearly before submitting their ranting complaints on this site.

Firstly, this customer did not read the website correctly when signing up for a subscription.

The signup page and PayPal confirmation page clearly stated that the membership option was a $5 Monthly Plan.

The button you click to purchase a membership is rather large, bright green button that states the following:

"Subscribe Now - Monthly Subscription"

Again it is unfortunate that the customer did not understand what the terms "$5 Monthly plan" and "Monthly subscription" mean.

Now since the customer signed up for this monthly plan he/she was subsequently charged $5 each month for the service. Every month he was charged he was sent an email by PayPal as a receipt for his payment.

Despite receiving these emails for 5 months the customer never once contacted us to ask to cancel the service.

Next thing we know we have several offensive and threatening emails crying fraud from this customer.

The customer was refunded for all the payments he/she made.

The Mysterious Universe podcast has also had missing episodes for every month in 2008. All paying subscribers have been offered refunds for these months and all refund requests have been fulfilled.
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#11 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Clarification from owner

AUTHOR: Benjamin Grundy - (Australia)

I really wish this customer was able to read the website clearly before submitting their ranting complaints on this site.

Firstly, this customer did not read the website correctly when signing up for a subscription.

The signup page and PayPal confirmation page clearly stated that the membership option was a $5 Monthly Plan.

The button you click to purchase a membership is rather large, bright green button that states the following:

"Subscribe Now - Monthly Subscription"

Again it is unfortunate that the customer did not understand what the terms "$5 Monthly plan" and "Monthly subscription" mean.

Now since the customer signed up for this monthly plan he/she was subsequently charged $5 each month for the service. Every month he was charged he was sent an email by PayPal as a receipt for his payment.

Despite receiving these emails for 5 months the customer never once contacted us to ask to cancel the service.

Next thing we know we have several offensive and threatening emails crying fraud from this customer.

The customer was refunded for all the payments he/she made.

The Mysterious Universe podcast has also had missing episodes for every month in 2008. All paying subscribers have been offered refunds for these months and all refund requests have been fulfilled.
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#12 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Clarification from owner

AUTHOR: Benjamin Grundy - (Australia)

I really wish this customer was able to read the website clearly before submitting their ranting complaints on this site.

Firstly, this customer did not read the website correctly when signing up for a subscription.

The signup page and PayPal confirmation page clearly stated that the membership option was a $5 Monthly Plan.

The button you click to purchase a membership is rather large, bright green button that states the following:

"Subscribe Now - Monthly Subscription"

Again it is unfortunate that the customer did not understand what the terms "$5 Monthly plan" and "Monthly subscription" mean.

Now since the customer signed up for this monthly plan he/she was subsequently charged $5 each month for the service. Every month he was charged he was sent an email by PayPal as a receipt for his payment.

Despite receiving these emails for 5 months the customer never once contacted us to ask to cancel the service.

Next thing we know we have several offensive and threatening emails crying fraud from this customer.

The customer was refunded for all the payments he/she made.

The Mysterious Universe podcast has also had missing episodes for every month in 2008. All paying subscribers have been offered refunds for these months and all refund requests have been fulfilled.
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#13 Author of original report

UPDATE

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

Well, nothing's changing in the show. The schedule is still erratic and the host continues to falsely advertise the services. He displays a brazen "if you don't like it, too bad, take your refund". The excuses continue on and on. Stay away from this mess. Just listen to the free episodes....when he graces us with a release.
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#14 Author of original report

Corrections and Clarification

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

Apparently, I had to cancel my membership. It was not a "one-month" fee. However, my absolute intentions were to sign up for one month only, which I swore I had done. So I would like to amend that portion of my complaint.

HOWEVER, at this point I absolutely stand by the horrible customer service you will get at the website, and the consistent INCONSISTENCY of the show's release. This is the only time I have EVER filed a complaint like this against a company, and I have dealt with IKEA, so that says a lot. Trust me that you will be very grossly disappointed in this podcast's Premium services, just take a cautionary look at the site's forum and see the complaints from others, and the reaction of indifference from the host.
It's sad because it is an excellent podcast for those who are interested in the paranormal. Just take my word for it and stick with the free subscription, it will save you a world of trouble.
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