• Report: #469277

Complaint Review: My Grant Site

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  • Submitted: Mon, July 13, 2009
  • Updated: Mon, July 13, 2009

  • Reported By:Redlands California
My Grant Site
305 West Broadway New York, New York U.S.A.

My Grant Site Switch and Bait--how a $2.95 CD turned into a monthly charge of $39.95 New York New York

*Consumer Comment: The problem is the HYPE

*UPDATE Employee: Resolution offer

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I ordered a CD for $2.95 from My Grant Site. It looked like a complete waste of $2.95 so I threw it away and assigned the emails they sent to my spam folder--one of them apparently told me that I was automatically enrolled in several unwanted services.

Then I neglected to watch my credit card statement closely, discovering a charge of $39.95 per month had been charged to my account for 5 months. My bad.
When I called the company, they agreed to refund 1 of the monthly charges. I called my credit card company and filed a fraud charge, meaning that my credit card number had to be changed--I went ahead and did that because I read that some people had gotten charged for additional items after getting involved with this company.

Unhappy, I called the scam artists back and they agreed to give me 3 of the monthly payments back. Then told them that my husband was a lawyer and we intended to sue for all five payments and that we had been reading about them on consumer rights web pages such as this one. And they suddenly found that they were able to refund all five payments. At the same time, they would not admit that it was fraud because they claimed there was a box that I needed to uncheck when I ordered the CD if I didn't want the services--I tried to find the site, but couldn't. It's been 6 months.

They are parasites, preying on desperate people, shame on them. I'll be watching my credit card statements more carefully in future.

Mrs. H****
Redlands, California
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/13/2009 07:00 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/My-Grant-Site/New-York-New-York-10013/My-Grant-Site-Switch-and-Bait-how-a-295-CD-turned-into-a-monthly-charge-of-3995-New-Y-469277. 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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0Author 2Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment

The problem is the HYPE

AUTHOR: ReactorCore - (Canada)

Customer care rep, here's the problem....

There are LOTS of sites like your popping up all over lately... From your flavor of service to ones that indicate the buyer can make THOUSANDS "working for Google".

In fact, the sites are SO similar, that I thought they were all run by either the same company or, at the very least, companies that were all subsidiaries of each other. Instead, it seems to just be a case of the sites being "cookie cutter" online businesses that have the same business models from site to site, most likely software packages generated by a single company... They're all the SAME. I have personally visited numerous sites promising one thing or the other and the path is always the same. Let me break it down for you from this side of the fence....

The problem with this business model, is the HYPE you generate with your "product", which is instilled in the potential buyer via two VERY tempting aspects; one of "free money" in the form of (in your case) government cheese and two, that tempting, delicious price of $2.95 (on other sites it's $1.95) Once these two factors are absorbed by the potential "client", that's when the dance really begins.

The consumer is led by the nose through all the tales of wonder that access to that government cheese will give them. They're told about how they can pay bills, start a business, reno their home or even take a vacation. There NEVER seems to be a downside expressed regarding the free ride one can get. No mention of any possible repayment of a grant and certainly, the idea of any additional cost to the client is, if not ignored outright, pushed into the background as far as possible during the pitch.

Soon, your potential client (some would say ''victim'') is so awash in the promise of easy money that they're chomping at the bit to sign on for that $1.95 - $2.95 for the "free" CD. Those terms and conditions you mention are, I won't say ''hidden'', but rather obscured behind another link in the meantime, and your business model does this *on purpose*, knowing that the average "I want something for nothing/easy money" seeker is JUST lazy enough to not want to click another link. In this way, they don't see the T&C's and you quietly bill them. May as well face it, that's the truth of it, and you, deep down inside, KNOW it.

Add a high pressure component, for example, if the person tries to navigate away from the page at or near the end of the ordering process, generate a pop-up that instills the tone of a DIRE WARNING that you "can't hold onto their grant kit past X time!", and you have a perfectly baited hook for someone who would be inclined to be persuaded that they're "missing out on the ground floor of a good thing".

The final icing on this manipulative masterpiece, is the fact that your site, and those like yours, will ONLY take major credit cards as payment... No money orders, no online debit. There should be, at the very least, an option for those who do NOT want to screw around with multiple payments to be able to simply pay the entire final amount up front and all at once... but then, if you offered that option, you'd run the risk of people discovering the whole amount that much easier, right?

It's very slick, I'll give you that, and *just* manages to (IMHO) skirt the edge of legality, since you CAN say that the T&C are, indeed, available on the site, and it's not your fault if the client didn't take the time to read them, and that much, from a pure legal standpoint, is true too. HOWEVER...

The practice could be seen a potentially deceptive, as it really wouldn't take much to take the truly IMPORTANT part of that T&C, that being the additional immediate charges of (for example) 5 payments of $X and put it in a far more prominent place, standing on it's own. As a consumer, I can tell you that I would have a LOT more respect for any company that, feeling it's offering something FANTASTIC, stood right up and said "Here's the final cost, bottom line" in one, simple, easy block of text on that last order page.

The problem for you, if you look around JUST the ROR site itself, is that more and more people are complaining about the method of how you are disclosing these additional charges, regardless of how wonderful your staff and research people are. No one really cares about that, but what's going to happen, is you're going to strangulate your own business as word gets around and people begin avoiding your service like the plague in the same way they did the infamous MAKE.MONEY.FAST. ponzi scheme that plagued Usenet in the mid-90's.

In addition, as more and more people complain, the higher the probability becomes that the office of the AG and other consumer protection entities will become involved and change the face of how you can disclose these fees FOR you as opposed to you and your ilk actually stepping up to the plate and saying; "Maybe WE should do something about this...". You guys should really put together a coalition and network to come up with a solution that will both make the consumer at ease AND make you money in a REASONABLE fashion.

However, final analysis, you're in it to make the money, right? That's what you care about, not the perception of the people who are perhaps too dull, lazy or greedy to catch the red flags of your operation. As long as you can have your respectable car, comfortable home and take your vacation in Tahiti, what do you care? Prove me wrong. Prove me wrong by doing something that gives even an inkling of caring about the customer's perceptions and peace of mind.

I'll wager that you won't, but in this case, I'd LOVE to be proven wrong, for my fellow consumers if nothing else.
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#2 UPDATE Employee

Resolution offer

AUTHOR: Customer Service Administrator - (U.S.A.)

I apologize for any misunderstanding regarding the services you've been receiving from our company. There are no commitments with the free product however there is a bonus free trial period to membership websites that accompanies the free CD and we do our best to disclose this as it is stated several times throughout the ordering process - on the sales page, the order page, the confirmation page and the thank you email, it is then also explained in the first paragraph of the Terms and Conditions of the offer. We offer the trial periods to give our clients a chance to use the services and see the value of them for themselves before they are billed for them. The trial periods are free for 7-30 days from the order date depending on which bonuses apply and we would not have charged you had you called customer service and canceled during the trial period as it is not our desire to bill clients who do not want the membership after the free trial offer ends.

The following is the first paragraph of the Terms and Conditions of the offer (the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy links can be found on every page of the sales ad):

Bonus Material Terms and Termination.
By purchasing this product, you agree to adhere to the termination agreement as outlined on the order page, confirmation of order page, and confirmation email, which is that you, the buyer, are not entitled to a refund of the upfront cost of any shipping and handling that may or may not have been charged to you for delivery of said product. Furthermore, any free trials that may or may not be offered with this product are only free during the said allotted time of the free trial period as outlined within the product sales page, confirmation of order page, and confirmation email. If you have not canceled the free bonus within the free trial period (if offered on product purchasing), you are agreeing to purchase the bonus material and/or service at a monthly reoccurring cost. This can be cancelled by calling the customer service number provided in the confirmation email between the hours of 9AM and 9PM EST M-F and stating your desire to cancel said bonus material. However, in order to not be charged any future reoccurring cost, please give ample time (2 business days) to be cancelled out of any reoccurring billing system before the next scheduled charge to your account (this does not apply during any trial period). Not canceling trial programs constitutes authorization, by you, the buyer, for any charges (as outlined) for the associated bonus service until your request to cancel has been received by our customer service staff. By not canceling the bonus program during the trial period or prior to two days before a scheduled billing cycle, you agree that any reoccurring charges billed to you will be non-refundable.As you can see the Terms direct the customer to the sales page, confirmation of order page and the confirmation email. The following disclosure is directly from the sales page - it is located directly above or below the submit button depending on which sales site you are ordering from:

By clicking "Click Here", I am ordering the Grant Program CD and trial membership for $2.29 S&H, after the seven day trial I will be charged $39.95 a month thereafter if I do not cancel. I also agree to the fourteen day and twenty-one day bonus trials to Search Market and Network Agenda for $7.95 a month and $9.95 a month thereafter, should I choose not to cancel. I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy / Terms and Conditions. Charges will appear on credit/debit statements as "www.center4grants.com". For questions, call 1-800-546-2919 M-F, 9am-9pm, EST.

The Information on our Grant CD is general information that you can find for free on the internet. We have gathered the information and put it on an easy to access and navigate CD for your PC. This saves our clients the time and, let's face it, frustration of having to search out this information on their own. That is why with our Grant Program you receive a 7 day free trial to our Grant Members Site. This is our member's website were you will be able to learn the entire process on how to write and submit a grant proposal. It is easy to start utilizing the Grant member's site by simply watching the tutorial videos that explain how to access all of the features on the site. Our team of writers headed by acclaimed Grant expert Dr. John Porter provides a monthly cover story that provides the newest information on grants and grant related topics. We also provide a quarterly newsletter that provides in-depth information on current trends in government and private funding, as well as the latest financial advice on how to find and manage grant money. You will be able to search grants through multiple grant sources. You can search for Federal, State, and Private Grants, as well as for Scholarships. The Grant Member Site gives you access to the Grant-A-Day program; which guarantees at least one member will be awarded a personal needs grant every single day! Click here to read testimonials from recent grant recipients. In three easy steps you can apply for the Grant a Day program and you will be eligible for it as long as you are a member of the Grant Member Site program. Another feature we offer is our live one on one chat representatives; they are available to answer any questions you have along the way. All these features and more are designed to help you be successful in locating, applying for, and receiving a Grant. The information that is offered through the Grant Member Site is more extensive than what other companies sell in coaching programs that cost a thousand dollars or more, so we feel that we are offering our clients the best value in the industry at a reasonable monthly rate of $39.95. Ordering our Grants CD also includes two fast action bonuses. The first fast action bonus is for Search Market Members site which has a 14 day free trial where we offer one on one live chat assistance and it teaches users how to make money using Google's AdWords and AdSense Programs. Customers can use these programs to create Google AdWord-based Advertisements and place ads on Google searches using Google AdWords. They can do this either for their own sites or they can use Google AdSense to funnel traffic through their sites to other sites and get paid for the traffic they generate. The second fast action bonus is a 21 day free trial for Network Agenda an affiliate company. That offers an online date book service that will allow you to keep track of your daily schedule and will even send you reminders to your email and or cell phone. After the 21 day free trial the service is $9.95 a month membership fee. We offer these trial periods to give our clients a chance to use our service and see the value of them for themselves, before they are billed for them.

Please contact customer service at the number listed in the above disclosure. There you will find a helpful agent waiting to assist you with your concerns.

If you are another customer that is reading this and you have already tried customer service, but feel that we have failed you in some way or you feel you weren't treated fairly please call me directly at 435-773-1795 or email me at customerservice@cshelp.org I will be happy to address your concerns ASAP.

Sincerely,
Online Customer Support
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