Widgets, and Networks and Customer Service, Oh My!

(Astroblogging) The great irony of my life is that in my day job among other things I run a call center. This means that I have high expectations at what I expect from customer service of other companies. Among these high expectations is an attitude that the customer MUST be satisfied in the course of an interaction with a company.

You can imagine my frustration then at dealing with Widget Box, a company which Astroblogging previously endorsed, but sadly must now tell you, don’t go near these people with a stick.

Widget Box allows you to create widgets, and if you decide to “Go Pro” they will generously allow your widget to go without their advertisements. There is a price for this generousity, however, $29 per year. I ponied up this amount last year when I created Astrology Media Press last year on the defunct Blogs.Mu site. Blogs.Mu had a limited selection of widgets, so I attempted to fill the void with Widget Box widgets. This year, going to Host Gator with Astrology Media Press my WordPress options expanded and the Widget Box widgets were no longer needed. My problem stemmed from not cancelling the service before they automatically charged my PayPal account again.

Here is my communications with Widget Box. If I wasn’t so annoyed with them, I would be laughing my head off.

Dear Sirs,

Regarding a recurring payment on my Paypal account, (Recurring Payment ID#86919885TU790951S) on paypal account under the email (deleted).

Please discontinue this yearly subscription fee, cancel my widgetbox account if you like, and please refund this money.

I did not intend to renew, but since I received no advance notice of the charge, did not have a chance to do so.

If you check your records you will see I have not accessed the widgetbox account in quite some time, and I simply find no use for the product.

Sincerely,

Beth Turnage

Their reply:

Dear Beth,

I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have about your subscription and you are welcome to cancel anytime. Simply login to the widgetbox site and go you “my Account.” You can scroll to the bottom of the page to find options to cancel your subscription or cancel your account all together. You can also click on “purchases” and find the option to cancel there, as well.

However, please keep in mind, per our terms-of-sale, that a subscription service is non-refundable. So this step will only cancel additional service periods: http://www.widgetbox.com/info/legal/terms-of-sale. We emailed a reminder of the renewal on July 21, 2010 to the email address we have on file at Widgetbox: starrynightastro@aol.com. I currently show that you account is active with 4 PRO widgets and therefor not eligible for a refund.

The account will continue to have the Pro functionality until the subscription period has ended, after which time it will turn back to a basic account and functionality and you will not be billed again.

We will be more than happy to assist you with any functionality concerns, as needed. You can find a list of our various Pro products and features here: http://www.widgetbox.com/info/about-us/our-products/. If you are having functionality issues with any of your services, please send a detailed email to support@widgetbox.com and your email will be answered in the order it was received or review the many customer questions and interactions at http://www.getsatisfaction.com/widgetbox

Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Cheers,
Brittany

That “cheers” really got to me, especially since this company told me to go take care of my request myself and yeah, sucker we are keeping your money even though you are not using our service.

And no, despite their assertions I did not get ANY emails regarding a future charge to my PayPal account.

So you can be sure that I went right away, deleted the entire account and send them another email.

Response:

“Unfortunately, I cannot offer you a refund on a product you have had for over a year.”

This despite the fact that the fee was a subscription fee for one year into the future.

But I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised since charging people perpetually for services they aren’t receiving seems to be de rigour in the online world. Despite the fact that Blogs.Mu has been out of business for three months, and has given me one refund already, its parent company WPMU DEV continues to charge me my monthly hosting fee.

Its up to you folks, but you just might want to avoid these businesses, because life is too short for bad customer service.

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Beth Turnage authors Astrology Explored as well as being publisher of Astrology Media Press. Beth is available for private consultations. You can contact Beth at starrynightastro@aol.com.
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