ED Magedson – Founder
LegalZoomInternet United States of America
There are two sides to every story. In my case, I guess I would be considered a whistle blower because I've worked for the company I'm reporting. I guess that makes me qualified to tell BOTH sides of the story. I am a former customer service rep who left the company because my standards would not permit me any longer to wrong the customers simply seeking to us our/their services.
Legalzoom's commercials advertise that they will practically do all the work for you. Make no mistake about it, THIS IS NOT TRUE.
If you believed their commercial and decided to use their "services" (and they have many), once you signed up and paid your hard-earned money, if you find that you are not satisfied with what it is they did and you try to get a refund, the customer service reps are coerced by their managers to adamantly challenge your objections and resist all requests for refunds. (Management kept a very close watch of how many refunds you approved and even if a customers requests were legitimate, CSR's who continued to see the customers' side would be made an example of). This issue of granting/denying refunds was of specific concern for this company because SO MANY people wanted them.
Customer satisfaction is very low. Michael Kim and Jacob Vargese (the top brass of Customer Service) are OBLIVIOUS as to how to make this company's customer service component run smoothly. Their attempt to run this company like the Mafia (intimidating its CSR's and other service support staff) is a direct result of why the company has an extremely high turnover rate and why it uses 80%-90% poorly trained temporarily employees (who make less than $11/hr). Jacob, an attorney, walks around staring at everyone like he wants to start a fight. Michael is more subdued and sneaky but just as lethal in his intimidation tactics. It should be stated that most people who start businesses through LZ don't know what they are doing and end up dissolving their corps or LLC shortly thereafter. The sales team does a great job convincing people to form these entities in order to make their monthly sales numbers. Sales reps promise customers they can call them back "directly" if they have any questions about the entity they are forming but when they do, customers get quickly transferred to customer service never to hear from their sales person again. This is the start of the customer's frustrating experience.
Then, if customers complained, we were trained to shove it in their faces that WE ARE THE BIGGEST and best compared to the other online legal doc prep companies. The first part of that may be true (I think they are the biggest - false advertising will make you the biggest every time) but I definitely wouldn't call them the best. Integrity needs to be factored into that equation in order to be considered the best. For Legalzoom, their media advertisements disqualify them from having the quality known as integrity.
As employees, we were told the company was going to be ready for an IPO offering many times but to this day that has not happened to my knowledge. The reason: they can't get their stuff to look pretty enough for an investor to a chance on them. Granted there's a lot that goes into getting IPO ready but that's not where the problem lies. They are so poorly run that it will take a ton of corporate hocus "poke-us" to make this hairy beast marriagable. I know. I've seen it from the inside and it's ugly.
I took a poll when I was there and it's by far the worst place anyone had ever worked in their life. I'm just stating facts as I know them. And if Legalzoom does respond to my report about them, I probably know the guy who will write it because I know just about everyone in the company. The people that will say they like working there are only saying that because they don't want to be seen as traitors and subsequently be fired (remember this place is run like the Mafia). These employees will NEVER tell you the truth because it would be committing employment suicide.
SOLUTION: Corporate culture starts from the top and flows down. In order for this company to get past this period of stagnancy it must shed the 2 individuals I've listed above. While they may have DONE things that have helped the company get to this point, they are flying by the seat of their pants and reactionary at best in their attempts to LEAD a dynamic startup company. Their hard work may have helped to make Legalzoom what is today but if the company is to move forward, it can not be saddled with the burden of ineffective leadership. New dynamic CS leadership must be brought in, preferably from a top JD Powers CS award-winning company and that person needs to given the freedom to implement new policies and procedures directed at changing the image of this brilliant company. If those aforementioned individuals are retained, their Mafia-culture tendencies will eventually exert its influence and find a way to fix the cards so that the new guy will lose.
However, seeing as how Jacob probably will not being going anywhere because of his multi-state license as an attorney provides the company with valuable non-profit counsel when forming their generic non-profit corporations, I guess this company is screwed.
Maybe both of the Brians (the owners) will manage to hock the company off on a couple of out-of-town rich dumb suckers sense the company is located in the heart of seedy tourist-infested Hollywood. I mean, after all they are master salesmen. How else do you think 2 Asian guys got all of America to think Robert Shapiro owns the company? Absolutely genius!!!
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/10/2010 09:52 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/legalzoom/internet/legalzoom-legalzoomcom-misleading-advertisements-and-refusal-to-give-refunds-internet-567748. 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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