Beware When Joining Writing Sites With Your Credit Card!

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We sell one subscription on WritersWeekly.com. It’s for The Write Markets Report. When a subscription expires, I email the customer one time, and one time only. I figure if they want to renew, they will. If they don’t, they won’t. I’m not going to bug them incessantly to renew so I remove them from the list if they don’t respond to my first and only renewal email. I wouldn’t want someone to automatically charge my credit card each year for a periodical subscription without first asking me, and I’d never do that to one of our customers.

Unfortunately, there has been a huge increase in the number of websites for writers that automatically re-charge your credit card for everything from a subscription, to a job bidding/finding service, and more. If you don’t read the fine print, you may find yourself paying, over and over again, sometimes even on a monthly basis, for something you don’t want. When this happens, you usually realize you didn’t read the fine print, and when you do get your credit card bill and get around to going back to their site, you realize you gave them permission to do this.

Despite their cancellation policy, you may find that cancelling is pretty much impossible. You may email and talk to several people and be sent from one link on their website to another, but your card may be charged over and over again while you spend weeks trying to figure out how to terminate your subscription/membership. Sounds like a scam doesn’t it? I think it is.

I joined one website last year. However, I’d heard enough complaints about this type of scam that I used a temporary credit card (one of those Mastercard gift cards) with a $60 balance on it. I’d purchased this at the mall just to join this one website. After the first month, I realized this service was not what I wanted and I went to their website to cancel. I was lucky in that they actually had cancellation instructions on their website, albeit they were in the smallest font I’d ever seen at the very end of their registration page. (Why would someone who wants to cancel go to the registration page? I was lucky to find it!)

The site said I had to call their office to cancel. I did so. The lady who answered said their computers were down and that I’d have to call back. I knew she was lying.

I hung up and called right back again. Another person answered, took my information, and assured me I’d been cancelled and that my card wouldn’t be charged again. She then said something that sounded like she was reading from a script – something about computer problems and the customer being responsible for ensuring the cancellation took place. Hmmm… She then said that she’d email a confirmation to me. She never emailed me and my card was charged again, the following month.

I sent them a letter demanding a refund and that they cancel my account for good. They didn’t. I’m sure you can guess what happened. When it was all said and done, they’d charged my card the entire $60. And, when it ran out, they didn’t bother emailing me to ask me to renew.

Yes, I’d been scammed. I got online and there are tons of identical complaints about the company.

Before you give your credit card number to a website for any type of subscription, membership or service, or anything other than a one-time purchase for a product, first check to see if they’ll accept payment via check or money order by mail. If they don’t, consider that a red flag. Also, go online and search for complaints about the company. I use google and search for terms like “name of company” “scam” and “name of company” “owes me money” and “name of company” “complaint.”