• Report: #774304

Complaint Review: Videoblocks

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  • Submitted: Thu, September 08, 2011
  • Updated: Fri, September 23, 2011

  • Reported By: redone5623 — Vienna Virginia United States of America
Videoblocks
11160-C1 South Lakes Dr. Suite 262 Reston, VA 2019 Reston, Virginia United States of America

Videoblocks videoblocks.com Free Trail Scam Locked out Reston, Virginia

*Consumer Comment: Thank you Nikki, lets talk

*UPDATE Employee: VideoBlocks Customer Service

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I was just on the phone with my credit card CO and a rep from VIDEOBLOCKS and they love to use the words Terms & Conditions but they did not like it when I pointed out that I was cut off the minute I canceled the service and could not use the service. They said they would reactivate the service for 30 days and I said it is not in your Terms & Conditions. I told them the truth is that I had not signed up for a service from Sept 10th to Oct 10th and did not need their service and I was not paying for services I was locked out on. 


Here is a copy of my original complaint to my credit card Co that resulted in the call I got. I am also local to this Co and I am thinking real hard about suing them.


To: HSBC Card Services
PO Box 81622
Salinas CA 93912-1622


I am notifying HSBC that I believe that VIDEO BLOCKS.COM RESTON VA made a false representation of why the wanted my credit card. I am attaching a screen grab that show where they said it was needed to keep people from abusing the free sign up. 


After speaking to their Rep on 9-1-2011, she advised me that it was stated in the terms and conditions that there was auto billing after the 7 days. This contradicts what the prompt says when I signed up. I would note that I contacted Video Blocks within 24 hours of the billing and I left a detailed message as no one was answering the phone. I also canceled the service through the web at that time (8-27-2011). They want to bill me for a 30 day time period from 8-26-2011 to 9-26-2011 when now I can not even access the site because I canceled the service. I have not used this service at anytime during the one day that the service was active.


Disputes are
1. Website gave conflicting and deceptive information that got me to give up my credit card info.


2. Service is billed for a 30 time period, I canceled it on the first day off billing but can no longer have access as a result and can't use the service I have been billed for. I would expect to be able to use the service till it ran out otherwise. I AM BEING BILLED FOR A SERVICE I HAVE NO ACCESSES TOO


3. I have not used the paid service and am being billed for that service.


I canceled on line and was give no confirmation. Please note is HSBC does not decide in my favor I intend to inform Video Blocks that I want to got to arbitration on this matter. I am asking HSBC to withhold payment till this is resolved.


Paul XXXXXX
1488 XXXXXXX

XXXna, VA X2XX2
X03-7X4-X8X5
XXXXX3@me.com
Account Number XXXX
Case ID# XXXXXXXXX

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/08/2011 08:56 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Videoblocks/Reston-Virginia-20191/Videoblocks-videoblockscom-Free-Trail-Scam-Locked-out-Reston-Virginia-774304. 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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0Author 2Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment

Thank you Nikki, lets talk

AUTHOR: Paul s. - (U.S.A.)

Dear Nikki,  thank you for reaching out to me at my post on Ripoffreport.com. I would like to take you up on your offer to refund my money. First I should let you know that the bill is currently held up as a result of my challenging it through my credit card company, as you must have gathered from my posting that you responded too. I am going to share that printout of your post with them. Also if you have contact information for them to reach you directly, I will pass that along. I would like to first resolve it through them. Any supporting documentation you can provide would be helpful. 


I would like to share with you some things I found that might be of value to your company. While it may or may not have been the intention of Videoblocks to mislead anyone, I can only believe that things got serious enough, as you said, they hired you to smooth things out. 


# 1 The word "FREE" means that, free. To carry over clips from a free trail to a billing cycle later is not free. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a number of rules regarding the usage of the word FREE and what disclosures must accompany it. Primarily they state that any offer using the word FREE must have all stipulations and terms located next to the the offer and not in a remote location such as in your companies terms and conditions. I am going to copy the US Code on this for you to review. From what I have read, this is one big factor in the disputes I have seen posted on the net. I also would recommend that email confirmations of both activation and cancellation would go a long way in allowing a perspective customer know what they have just agreed too and to provide them of proof. Lastly I would recommend that Videotraks review the language on its site that suggest, the only reason it wants a credit card is for a non billing reason. To further support my concern I located on your Facebook page a response to a customer, validating that they wanted the credit card info to keep people from signing up for multiple free accounts, it made no mention of billing and in fact implied just the opposite. 


So here is what I see, right or wrong. 
1. Advertisement (Creative Cow) and main page missing vital terms required by the TFC.
2. Statements as to why Videotracks wants the credit card on the main page being for non billing reasons.
3. Billing info and terms located in the terms and conditions, mid way in, in a manor pointed out by the FTC as being incorrect. 
= mass confusion and upset folks.


Also, when I canceled, I again did not get any notice and I was blocked from logging in. If your company does that then it should not bill the person for service it wont let them have access too.


Please feel free to contact me directly for any questions, as I look forward to resolving this matter per your request as quickly as possible..


Paul XXXXXXX
XXX-XXX-XXXX
XXXXXX@XXX.com


FTC GUIDE CONCERNING USE OF THE WORD ``FREE''

AND SIMILAR REPRESENTATIONS

251.1 The guide.
(2) Because the purchasing public continually searches for the best buy, and regards the offer of ``Free'' merchandise or service to be a special bargain, all such offers must be made with extreme care so as to avoid any possibility that consumers will be misled or deceived.

(b) Meaning of ``Free''. (1) The public understands that, except in the case of introductory offers in connection with the sale of a product or service (See paragraph (f) of this section), an offer of ``Free'' merchandise or service is based upon a regular price for the merchandise or service which must be purchased by consumers in order to avail themselves of that which is represented to be ``Free''. In other words, when the purchaser is told that an article is ``Free'' to him if another article is purchased, the word ``Free'' indicates that he is paying nothing for that article and no more than the regular price for the other. Thus, a purchaser has a right to believe that the merchant will not directly and immediately recover, in whole or in part, the cost of the free merchandise or service by marking up the price of the article which must be purchased, by the substitution of inferior merchandise or service, or otherwise.

c) Disclosure of conditions. When making ``Free'' or similar offers all the terms, conditions and obligations upon which receipt and retention of the ``Free'' item are contingent should be set forth clearly and conspicuously at the outset of the offer so as to leave no reasonable probability that the terms of the offer might be misunderstood. Stated differently, all of the terms, conditions and obligations should appear in close conjunction with the offer of ``Free'' merchandise or service. For example, disclosure of the terms of the offer set forth in a footnote of an advertisement to which reference is made by an asterisk or other symbol placed next to the offer, is not regarded as making disclosure at the outset. However, mere notice of the existence of a ``Free'' offer on the main display panel of a label or package is not precluded provided that (1) the notice does not constitute an offer or identify the item being offered ``Free'', (2) the notice informs the customer of the location, elsewhere on the package or label, where the disclosures required by this section may be found, (3) no purchase or other such material affirmative act is required in order to discover the terms and conditions of the offer, and (4) the notice and the offer are not otherwise deceptive.
(38 Stat. 717, as amended; 15 U.S.C. 41 - 58)

[36 FR 21517, Nov. 10, 1971]


[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 16, Volume 1]
[Revised as of January 1, 2010]
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
[CITE: 16CFR425.1]


[Page 430-432]
    TITLE 16--COMMERCIAL PRACTICES
 
                   CHAPTER I--FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
 
PART 425_USE OF PRENOTIF ICA TION NEGATIVE OPTION PLANS--
Table of Contents
 
Sec. 425.1  The rule.


  (1) Promotional material shall clearly and conspicuously disclose 
the material terms of the plan, including:


In addition I have done reseal on federal rules regarding Free Trials. This is what I found:


The FTC calls this (Negative Options Marketing)


Current procedures for legal negative options

Under the current rules, there are seven terms that a seller must clearly disclose in order to legally offer negative options deals to consumers, including:

Terms for subscribers to notify sellers of their desire not to purchase a selection. Minimum purchase obligations.
Whether billing charges include postage and handling.Notification of a minimum of 10 days to reject a selection (and the requirement that if a subscriber was not given 10 days to cancel their selection, the promise that the return of the selection plus postage and handling, will be credited to the subscriber). The frequency that announcements and forms will be sent.The maximum number of announcements subscribers can expect.The right to cancel.

Being that the trail period was only 7 days and not 10 and that I rejected the offer in 1 day of being billed and activated I would suggest that Videoblocks is in violation of FTC Rules.

This is a direct lift from the FTC website and it looks to be a warning to the exact behavior of Videoblocks.

Whiter Teeth? Flatter Stomach? Shinier Hair? Whether it's for a teeth whitener, vitamin or kitchen gadget, all free trials eventually end. And typically, if you don't want to buy what you've tried, you need to cancel or take some other action before the trial is up. If you don't, you may be agreeing to buy more products. But some dishonest businesses make it tough to cancel, hiding the terms and conditions of their offers in teensy type, using pre-checked sign-up boxes as the default setting online, and putting conditions on returns and cancellations that are so strict it could be next to impossible to stop the deliveries and the billing.

This was lifted from the Bureau of Consumer Protection - TFC for WEB RULES

GENERAL OFFERS AND CLAIMS

PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
The Federal Trade Commission Act allows the FTC to act in the interest of all consumers to prevent deceptive and unfair acts or practices. In interpreting Section 5 of the Act, the Commission has determined that a representation, omission or practice is deceptive if it is likely to: mislead consumers and affect consumers' behavior or decisions about the product or service.

Other points to consider: Disclaimers and disclosures must be clear and conspicuous. That is, consumers must be able to notice, read or hear, and understand the information. Still, a disclaimer or disclosure alone usually is not enough to remedy a false or deceptive claim.

Nikki, I hope this helps Videoblocks make choices that are helpful in their future marketing and customer relations.


Paul
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#2 UPDATE Employee

VideoBlocks Customer Service

AUTHOR: NikkiVB - (United States of America)

Hello Paul,

I'm the new head of customer service for VideoBlocks.com, and I want to sincerely apologize for the terrible experience you had with our company, and I would like the opportunity to make it up to you. 

For starters, I will make sure all of your payments are fully refunded. You can email me directly: nikki at videoblocks.com
and we can get the refund processed immediately. (Or if you prefer, you can use the contact form on our website--those go directly to me now)

In response to your frustration over the lack of service you received, I again apologize and make no excuses for the way you were treated. Our company is very new, and we were completely unprepared and overwhelmed by the growth
that we experienced. 

To remedy this problem, I was hired full time to manage customer support to make sure that customers are taken care of promptly and politely. We recently added live chat to our website, and added additional employees to answer the
phones. (It is also worth noting that we do not outsource this support--all of our employees are at our office in Virginia). Now that I am in charge, all phone calls and emails are answered within hours, if not immediately.

Finally, thank you for the comments on our free trial terms not being clear enough. We never meant to mislead anyone, and didn't realize there were any problems until we read your post and heard from other customers who were upset that they were not notified about the billing more clearly. We are working to make the free trial terms much more clear, and we have begun emailing users when they sign up so that they know what is going on and who to contact in the event of a problem.

Once again, I apologize for causing you frustration, and I hope that after we connect I can make you a happy customer. Or at least a happy former customer!
 
Thanks ~ Nikki
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