BEWARE: DO NOT JUST TELL A PERSON WHO CALLS YOU THAT YOU DO NOT WISH TO RENEW---YOU WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY RENEWED. THEY WILL BE GLAD TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION WHEN YOU CALL TO SAY YOU WANT IT CANCELLED, BUT THEY WILL NOT REFUND ANY MONEY THEY TOOK FROM YOUR CREDIT CARD FOR THIS AUTOMATICAL RENEWAL!
Today, I sent the following email to MyFamily.com,Inc: The purpose of this email is to inform the corporate leadership that MyFamily.com and Ancestry.com does not serve customers. The purpose of the sites is commendable and very needed as families have become so dispersed in the last 50 years. However, although meeting a critical, societal need should definitely provide profit---it should also be done in an ethical, moral manner.
Around the middle of April, I received a call from "Jed" to upgrade my quarterly membership in ancestry.com---I said I wished to not renew. I did not hear Jed tell me that my membership would be automatically continued unless I cancelled prior to the renewal date. I received an email telling me my membership would be renewed unless I had informed the company otherwise. The actual email sent to me 4/18/01---said "Here's what you need to know about your subscription: 1. On May 2, 2001, we will automatically renew your subscription for another 3 months unless you tell us otherwise. You will be charged the low rate of $19.95. (Note that access to the U.S. Federal Census Images requires a separate subscription.)"
I had informed Jed. There is NO reference in the email that I need to make an additional contact. However, when I called today they said I needed to call them--not just tell Jed.
The email ends with the words "how we can best serve you". These are polite words, but the actual business directive is contrary. Quite by accident today, I discovered I had been billed for another quarter's membership, expiring in August and posted sometime after the closing date on my last credit card statement. I was also informed today, by a supervisor who works under "Gabe" that no refund will be issued for a service I do not want, will not use, and about which I had informed a company representative more than a week prior to renewal that I did not wish to renew. It seems my error was that I never read the "Terms and Conditions" link at the bottom of the web page---I had assumed the company operated under standard subscription operating procedures, and I actually never even noticed the link at the bottom of the page until today. When I originally subscribed for 1 quarter, I was not directed to go to the Terms and Conditions link--or to affirm I had read them. If there is a digression in standard subscription procedures, then it certainly is incumbent upon the provider, to structure the communciation of this information in a way that is clearer than providing a link at the bottom of a web page! The information is structured in such a way reminescent of "reading the fine print". And those companies that have "fine print" are suspect and considered not ones that exercise high values in consumer practices. It is true that it is always erroneous to make assumptions; however, erring on the side of common practice is not irresponsible. It is the company's responsibility to ensure it communicates any digression from standard subscription policies. I, as a consumer, am not responsible for knowing how a particular business operates if it deviates from susbscription experiences common to magazines, etc.. So, when I communicate to a representative of the business that I do not wish to renew, that should be sufficient.
A corollary issue is the mixed message received on MyFamily.com about space requirements and billing. When family members were informed that there would be billing based upon space used at a family web site, several family members made inquiries about details. Only canned responses were received that provided no detail from which a decision could be made by the family and did not reflect any of the specific questions asked. I can say that the reverberation from the announcement that we would be billed for space above a very low size were long lasting and have splintered some of our family relationships.
The MyFamily.com mission statement communicates a high calling---it would be to their advantage to practice to customers the same level of individual recognition each family member deserves as a unique creation. Customer service is fast leaving the business world---and MyFamily.com is following practices no different than what is now prevalent. I see stock market evaluations as taking precedence over customers and employees--spin doctoring is the politically correct manner to conduct business in our globally shrinking world. And truths are being left behind. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Ancestry.com AKA MyFamily.com, Inc.