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Unauthorized Charges: Suspected Ripoff by Ancestry.Com

Unauthorized Charges: Suspected Ripoff by Ancestry.Com

Posted: 14 Sep 2005 4:47AM GMT
Classification: Query
So what's the deal with ancestry.com charging your credit card without any notification of a trial period end approaching?

Furthermore, it shouldn't take a forensic computer expert to find a working e-mail for customer service or a phone number that gets answered.

I bought the new 2006 software and in total I paid nearly $150 in subscriptions to access databases I needed, but evidently I advertently signed up for a trial of something that looked interesting and was never notified that my trial had ended (nor even that it hat started) and to my surprise I only found out when my checking account kicked-in to "Overdraft Overload" due to nearly $300 in charges to my debit card.

I can't be the only one out there who has felt ripped-off by bu this or frustrated from the multiple levels of red tape it takes to even find your account information, let alone the fact that I was not notified of a pending automatic charge.

Let's face it, if you buy something online you get an e-mail of the transaction -- here, you get nothing.

These are clearly deceptive business practices and certainly you fellow users should be aware of how Ancestry.com operates.

The Federal Trade Commission needs to know about this!

Re: Unauthorized Charges: Suspected Ripoff by Ancestry.Com

Posted: 15 Sep 2005 6:24AM GMT
Classification: Query
Jim, I've seen similar postings from others who feel as though they have been taken advantage of by Ancestry.

I think most of the free trials are for only 14 days, so if you don't cancel before that period ends then it's considered that you want to continue the service. The notification is the responsibility of the user, as far as I know, since I've never tried the trials.

I've been an Ancestry subscriber for many years and I always get a personal phone call about a month before my annual subscription is due to expire. The phone call is not only a notification, but a tool to try and sell even more services on renewal. I have upgraded via the phone calls a couple of times, and was given a free month or two for doing so.

I don't consider Ancestry to be trying to rip off people. They have always done what was promised to me in accordance with the contract terms. That's just my opinion based on my experiences in dealing with Ancestry.

If you don't want automatic renewals, just cancel your credit card and get a new number.

Fred

Re: Unauthorized Charges: Suspected Ripoff by Ancestry.Com

Posted: 23 Sep 2005 1:28AM GMT
Classification: Query
I've never gotten a phone call, but I do always get an email. You might want to check to see if your email info is up-to-date.

Re: Unauthorized Charges: Suspected Ripoff by Ancestry.Com

Jim Dvorak (View posts)
Posted: 25 Sep 2005 8:04PM GMT
Classification: Query
I got no e-mail and no phone call, and the e-mail didn't end up in my spam filter because I don't have one.

They want you to sign up for the "free" trial -- just be surprised when they charge you $200 bucks without blinking an eye.

Their system lacks checks and balances, and they count on unsuspecting trial users to forget -- I'm not web-ignorant, and they got me, that's for sure, so I know there are other victims out there.

Furthermore, shortly after I had inadvertently signed up for a free trial, I had subsequently purchased their software and ordered nearly $150 worth of database search access... yet I still got charged the 200 bucks when that "trial" ended -- no online accouting in the meantime, no warning and no thank you -- just a big debit from my bank account.

Deceptive is what it is.

Re: Unauthorized Charges: Suspected Ripoff by Ancestry.Com

Posted: 2 Oct 2005 11:11AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 12 Oct 2005 3:07PM GMT
Hmmmm!
Seems mighty queer to me too and always one step ahead of the law which no doubt accounts for the number of folk whom no longer post their trees.
Site changes seem to function much better but we're still having to put up with a cluttered mess of advertising taking first place in virtually everything and stimulating completely unnecessary outrage and frustration.

Re: Unauthorized Charges: Suspected Ripoff by Ancestry.Com

Greg Matthews (View posts)
Posted: 2 Oct 2005 6:06PM GMT
Classification: Query
People will complain about anything. I've been a paying member of ancestry.com since the late 90s and in all that time there will invariably be someone who starts a thread just like this one at least a few times a year. Do you pay site virgins honestly think this is the only site out there that does what you accuse ancestry.com of? I personally don't care for it and think it should be easier to figure out how to cancel an account, but it's the nature of the beast. I've learned to start writing down contact phone numbers BEFORE I pay for access to a site.

As to people not posting their trees, well I for one say if it cuts down on the junk that incompetants post then they need to start ripping off more people. 90% of the "trees" I see posted are copied willy nilly from someone else and it cascades exponentially to the point that the whole "world tree" is infested with pure hokum.

"Cluttered mess of advertising"? Give me a break. There ARE programs out there to prevent it from appearing.

Re: Unauthorized Charges: Suspected Ripoff by Ancestry.Com

Posted: 3 Oct 2005 3:03AM GMT
Classification: Query
Why is it when a negative thread on Ancestry for their negative billing policies gets a little to much attention some 'longtime' subscriber with very few or just one post shows up regularly to defend those practices. If Ancestry did not have those practices there would not be complaints. I am an ex subscriber because of those policies. I would like anybody to provide an ethical reason for the auto-renew and requirement to call an 800 number to cancel other than the BS in their FAQ's.
And what does policies of other sites have to do with the price of tea in china? Their poliies are wrong to.
What do you consider a few?
Here is a link to BBB and their 3 year report on MFI/Ancestry:

http://www.saltlakecity.bbb.org/commonreport.html?bid=200319...

The BBB is better equipped in my opinion for local fly by night businesses than national/international internet companies.
From the BBB at the link above:

"Based on BBB files, this company has a satisfactory record with the Bureau. The Bureau has processed customer complaints on this company in its three-year reporting period. Although the customer disputed the company's response, based on BBB experience the company properly addressed all the issues of the complaints. In addition, other complaints processed by the bureau, the company addressed the disputed issues of the complaints, and the customers verified that the complaints have been resolved satisfactorily. A satisfactory record means a company has been in business for at least 12 months, and properly addressed matters referred by the Bureau. The company does not have an unusual volume of complaints, or any government actions involving its marketplace conduct. The Bureau understands and has no concerns about the company's products, services and type of business.

Consumers should be aware that Ancestry.com/MyFamily.com uses an auto-renewal process that automatically charges the consumer for another year membership if the member does not cancel prior to the anniversary date.

When considering complaint information, please take into account the company's size and volume of transactions, and understand that the nature of complaints and a firm's responses to them are often more important than the number of complaints.

The Bureau processed a total of 841 complaints about this company in the last 36 months, our standard reporting period. Of the total of 841 complaints closed in 36 months, 171 were closed in the last year.
These complaints concerned:
72 Advertising Issues,
133 Selling Practices,
1 Delivery,
2 Service / Repairs,
6 Warranty / Guarantee,
6 Product Quality,
177 Refund Problems,
34 Unfulfilled Contract,
58 Customer Service, and
351 Credit or Billing Issues.”



You mention world tree if you you meant one world tree. I would think your 90% garbage is low because of the defective "stitcher" for that untill recently. OWT recently was changed and does a fair job of representing what is in the AWT/WC files from what I can see as a non subscriber. If you are talking about AWT I think 90% is probably high. It probably wouldn't help a lot but some checkpoints could be used similar to what FTM genealogy soft ware uses. In searching WC I find 55-60 year old women having a number of children, Mothers born before their daughters. If you go to LDS, I see a lot of errors there also. I don't know of an easy solution to that problem.
Burt

Re: Unauthorized Charges: Suspected Ripoff by Ancestry.Com

Charley Schnellbacher (View posts)
Posted: 3 Oct 2005 4:16AM GMT
Classification: Query
The reason we are able to "defend" Ancestry's practices is because they are legal. Period. Morality and ethics have nothing to do with it.

This thread was started, if you will recall, by an individual who (in his own words)

"inadvertently signed up for a free trial"

but feels no responsibility for reading the terms of that trial contract, feels no responsibility for asking questions first if he wasn't comfortable with the trial, and feels no responsiblity for being competent enough to click the "Help" link or "MyAccount" link to get answers.

In other words, most if not all of those 841 complaints in the past 3 years are from complete poster-child morons who shouldn't be allowed online or own a credit card.

Re: Unauthorized Charges: Suspected Ripoff by Ancestry.Com

Posted: 3 Oct 2005 3:16PM GMT
Classification: Query
Regardless,
Thank you Charlie.
Your comments
"The reason we are able to "defend" Ancestry's practices is because they are legal. Period. Morality and ethics have nothing to do with it.'
AND:
"In other words, most if not all of those 841 complaints in the past 3 years are from complete poster-child morons who shouldn't be allowed online or own a credit card."

clearly shows MFI/Ancestries attitude toward toward its customers.
And I quoted you exactly, No twisting of words.

Re: Unauthorized Charges: Suspected Ripoff by Ancestry.Com

Charley Schnellbacher (View posts)
Posted: 3 Oct 2005 4:26PM GMT
Classification: Query
Perhaps you didn't twist any words, but you sure missed the mark, BR. Where do you see MFI/Ancestry stamped on my forehead? The remarks I made are clearly mine, and mine alone.
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