• Report: #694939

Complaint Review: PeopleSmart

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  • Submitted: Sun, February 13, 2011
  • Updated: Tue, February 15, 2011

  • Reported By: birdmom9726 — Caledonia Michigan USA
PeopleSmart
Internet United States of America

PeopleSmart WATCH OUT - Doing/paying for a search automatically starts a trial membership!!!! Internet

*Author of original report: Update on Peoplesmart.com complaint!

*Author of original report: You have been contacted!

*UPDATE Employee: Assistance from PeopleSmart Member Services

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If you use Peoplesmart.com to look for someone, and pay the $1.95 for just the basic information, this AUTOMATICALLY starts a 7 day trial membership. I discovered this after the fact after using their service on February 3 and paying $1.95. I thought that was the end of it, because I got the info I was looking for. Then I see on my bank statement that they charged me $35.40 exactly 7 days later. When you try to contact them, there is no way to contact them except to send an email. No phone number, no location, nothing.  Just a form to fill out on their web site. They hide themselves very well, probably because they know that what they're doing is misleading people on a large scale. It was not made clear at the time I paid my $1.95 that this initiated a trial membership - so BE AWARE if you choose to use this company.  I suspect that there are a lot more people out there that have been ripped off by this company that just haven't posted their stories.  Of course I have done what I can to cancel my membership, but you can be sure I will tell my bank and Paypal that this was an unauthorized transaction and see what they can do. They may not refund my money, but I will make a lot of noise about it so they'll know someone out here is very unhappy with the way they do "business".

If you choose to use their services, BE AWARE and read the fine print. I sure didn't see any. Better yet, use some other service that is upfront and honest about the way they conduct themselves.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/13/2011 02:11 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/PeopleSmart/internet/PeopleSmart-WATCH-OUT-Doingpaying-for-a-search-automatically-starts-a-trial-membership-694939. 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

Update on Peoplesmart.com complaint!

AUTHOR: birdmom9726 - (USA)

Michelle - I am the person who posted on Ripoff Report yesterday, 2/14/2011, and I would like to address YOUR concerns, one by one. 

1. We do not automatically start a trial. There is an option that displays on the product selection, this item appears on your check out cart when you are entering your credit card and this product will display on your receipt once purchased. Of
*NOT TRUE! I ran a test this morning, on a different computer, to see exactly what came up. I printed out each screen that appeared, one by one, at each step in the process. The only time a trial period option is mentioned in on Screen #4, where it offers the report for free if you start a membership/trial period. It is NOT mentioned on the check out screen, and there IS NO RECEIPT. You are taken directly from the check out screen to the PeopleSmart sign in page. 

2. Our primary means of contact ....
I stand corrected. Your phone numbers do appear, buried in boilerplate terminology, in your Terms of Service, and your address as well. However, one has to dig deep to locate this info, and it should be more readily available. Most reputable companies are eager for you to contact them with any concern, and make their contact info easily accessible. 

3. You are able to cancel your membership online ....
No one should have to cancel a membership they did not purchase and did not want, regardless of how easy it is to cancel. When you take a year's worth of monthly membership charges out of someone's account without their express knowledge and/or agreement, you have acted unethically. 

4. Please contact us....
You know where I stand on this, as I made abundantly clear in my comments on your rebuttal yesterday. I can't believe I'm even sticking my neck out this far to contact you, but I feel compelled to set your record straight. 

5. This is very valid advice ...
Yes, it is. I agree with you on that, and I will certainly be more cautious in the future. I've never been burned on the Internet before after many years of purchasing all kinds of things online, and your company spoiled that perfect record. 

One further note - the search I ran for "John Doe" this morning was a TEST. I wanted evidence to back up my incident reports/complaint to the different agencies I reported it to, and now I have it. If you would be interested in seeing how the different screens are presented to the average consumer, I will send you copies of what I printed off. I did not complete my account setup because I don't want an account. The credit card that was used for my PayPal transactions has been cancelled, and there is now no active account, unless/until I choose to replace the credit card, and that won't be any time soon. I sure hope I don't see another charge of $35.40 attempted on my (inactive) account from your Company again. I don't mind paying the $1.95 that I paid to run the test search this morning, that will come out of my refund from PayPal, but please do the ethical thing and don't make the same mistake twice. By the way, PayPal sent me an email this morning (and it was from PayPal) saying that they found in my favor on my complaint about your company. If you would like a copy of that I will be glad to send that to you also. I had another email from an unknown source, insisting that the transaction was a valid one made on a membership agreement. It was NOT from PayPal, and I strongly suspect it came from either you or someone at your company. I will be sending it along to them. Now I will do the honorable thing and go on Ripoff Report and let them know that my money has been refunded. I will also let them know everything else I have said in this email, as a cautionary note. I hope you have learned something from this incident.  I know I have.  There are literally hundreds of complaints on many different sites about PeopleSmart. Do you really want to conduct business this way? Cordially,BG
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#2 Author of original report

You have been contacted!

AUTHOR: birdmom9726 - (USA)

Your company has been contacted twice by me, in two emails sent yesterday afternoon. I also called your "customer support number" and there was no answer.  You had enough information to cancel my account so if you look at your data you'll know I paid through Paypal.

Your contact information was NOT available on your website. If you look at it right now, you will see NO information, just a form to fill out to email your company. I got your contact phone number from Paypal and your mailing address from the email you sent back to me canceling my membership and telling me no refunds would be issued. Your contact number was not listed on your email either.

I have already requested a refund, twice, on your website.  You already have the information you need, including my Paypal account number. I would appreciate it if you would follow through on what you said in your rebuttal and refund my money. I will NOT contact you personally due to the many, many reports of your company being less than nice to consumers who ask for refunds.

Please refund my money and I will update this post to reflect that. As for your "explanations", my personal experience with your company does not reflect the PR that you put in your rebuttal.

Enough said. 
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#3 UPDATE Employee

Assistance from PeopleSmart Member Services

AUTHOR: Michelle S - (USA)

Hello - I don't know your name as it was not used and there is not a reference or way to contact you about your concerns.  My name is Michelle Steinbeck and I am the Director of Member Services for PeopleSmart.com.

I wanted to address each of your concerns.

If you use Peoplesmart.com to look for someone, and pay the $1.95 for just the basic information, this AUTOMATICALLY starts a 7 day trial membership.

We do not automatically start a trial.  There is an option that displays on the product selection, this item appears in your check out cart when you are entering your credit card and this product will display on your receipt once purchased.

When you try to contact them, there is no way to contact them except to send an email. No phone number, no location, nothing.  Just a form to fill out on their web site.

Our primary means of contact is by email.  We are an Internet company, our customers are Internet users.  Our phone number and company information appear in our teams of service and our privacy policy.  Our *toll free* support number is 888-813-0008.  We are open 7 days a week from 7am - 6pm CST.

Of course I have done what I can to cancel my membership,

You are able to cancel your membership online when you are logged into your account at any time.  You do not need to contact us unless you have questions.

They may not refund my money, but I will make a lot of noise about it so they'll know someone out here is very unhappy with the way they do "business".

Please contact us so we can help.  We find the best way to work with our customers is through our normal contact channels and while this 'noise' you wanted to make may help you get your story out we are not able to help you directly through this medium given the information you've supplied.

If you choose to use their services, BE AWARE and read the fine print.

This is very valid advice when making any purchase, online or otherwise.  The consumer should always know what they are buying and take responsibility in the process.  We'd like the opportunity to work with you to make it right.  Please contact us more directly.

Sincerely,
Michelle Steinbeck
Director Member Services
PeopleSmart.com
888-813-0008
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