LegalZoom.com promotes itself as an alternative to expensive lawyers for people wishing to have simple legal documents prepared. Among their services are Powers of Attorney, Wills, LLC/Sol Proprietorships, etc.
The Ripoff we experienced was in preparation of a power of attorney to sell a vehicle. It was made clear in the online questionaire that this POA was specifically for selling a given vehicle (we provided the vehicle description, VIN and the minimum selling price). However, Legal Zoom took it upon itself to add a section granting my agent access to my medical records for life (unless I pay them additional fees to revoke the POA).
Their Response to my call for assistance was to remind me that they're not lawyers, and it is a self-help service. The CSR explained that the HIPPA language is a boilerplate that they add to all of their documents and they could either send me a Word document of the POA so I could remove it (thus invalidating the document and any "customer service" they may provide), or she could connect me with their legal department to have an attorney review it.
The legal department acknowledged that all of their POAs have this language in it and for a small membership fee ($14.95 a month), they could have an attorney contact me within two business days to review the document. At that time I'd get an "estimate" of the costs to have a legitimate POA made. To be fair, she did indicate the first two weeks of the program are a free trial and that it is not a contract program -- I could cancel at any time.
I do not see how a product that is intentionally made defective in order to generate add-on business is good business in any case, and particularly when promoting "legal services". The legal profession is bound by a code of ethics to act in the interest of their clients. If they were a true law firm offering legitimate services, they would not permit their reputation to be soiled by bait and switch schemes such as this.
There is a report from a disgruntled former employee that exposes much of the inner workings of Legal Zoom's customer service practices and the corporate philosophy in general. While it's always wise to consider the source of such complaints, the former employee's report seems to confirm my suspicion that writing a defective POA was no accident -- not only will they not give back the customer's money, the complaint is an opportunity for an upsell. Both the customer service representative and the "Legal Services" representative tried to sell me additional services even as they said they understood why I was not satisfied with Legal Zoom's services. Pretty brash.