I recently wanted to send an online birthday card to my wife. I looked online for a while, and the big player in the field seemed to be AmericanGreetings.com (with good reviews). I read a review stating that their cards were $2.95 each – a little steep for an online card, but I found a really funny one that I was set on using.
I clicked on the “personalize this card” button, and it asked me to login to my account, or create a new one. I did this, and supplied my CC number thinking I would be charged the $2.95 for the transaction after I sent the card (prices were never listed anywhere). I sent the card, and a few minutes, later I received this email:
“This email is confirmation of your FREE Trial Membership to AmericanGreetings.com…” – I opted into no such “membership”.
I logged into my new AmericanGreeting.com account to view the status of this order, and the “purchase history” section said I had purchased an “eCard membership” that would automatically renew one year from now. Again, wanting no such membership, so I tried to cancel the order.
I was funneled into their help section, which boils down to a 1-800 number with an automated phone system, then a 10 minute hold time to speak to an operator (online cancellation is currently “unavailable”). It took me several tries to get to a person, as the phone tree just dead ends and hangs up all over the place. When I spoke with the operator, she hassled me about why I wanted to cancel my account.
I am so sick of these shady business practices. AmericanGreetings could have made a quick $2.99. Instead, they sent the card for free (since I canceled my trial membership), plus now the added expense of staffing their call centers for canceling trial memberships, and has lost a customer for life.
If I ran AmericanGreetings.com, the choice of which business model to use would have been a pretty easy one to make.