Warning about auto renewal option (New York)
I am posting this to as many forums as I can so members can be aware and can prevent internations from automatically deducting from your credit card without seeking your approval or authorization. When you sign up for paid (albatross) membership with Internations there is nothing prompting about auto renewal. You only find out about it if you carefully read the claim in their tiny terms or when the new charge has already hit your account - then the friendly itenrnations team explains that you have agreed to the Terms and Conditions for a "convenient" auto-renewal and that they won't make any exceptions for refunds.
Internations has failed to inform me that they will renew my membership and that a charge will be placed on my account. The invoice that has been generated is accessible only on their web site where I have not logged in since Protected content I noticed the charge. It has wrong billing information – no address, the city does not match my current residency, and the expiration date for my credit card is wrong because they did not have the correct information. They have charged me in Protected content with no notice and I did not realize it, and I wish I could fight for that charge. A week or two before they charged me I remember an e mail from them that I took for spam. The e mail was prompting me to log in and pay if I don’t want to lose the benefits of an Albatross member. It said absolutely nothing about renewal, invoice ready, or balance due. I deleted it right away without thinking about it. I understand that it is my fault for not reading into their terms when I signed up in Protected content they must inform their members before they bill. Not just create an invoice on their web site. In my correspondence with them I have asked them about how did they obtain my credit card details (new expiration date) and they came up with a template message but I have never received such message from them.
When I saw the pending transaction on my account I took it for misunderstanding and I contacted them one day after my membership was renewed. I tried to dispute the charge, making it clear that I have not used their service for over two years, neither was I aware that they were charging me, and that also last year’s charge from them was unauthorized. I would have expected that since I contacted them a day after they renewed my yearly membership they would be flexible enough to issue a refund but they refused to do so. In the e mail reply they claim that they notify their members about the auto renewal and the Section 4.4 of the Conditions says that “The user accepts that he will receive an online invoice. The invoice will not be sent by mail. The online invoice is not legally binding.” – This is fine however there must be a notice of some kind that and invoice as ready, and a renewal is about to happen, and that a charge to the member’s account will follow. They also underline that the auto-renewal notice is on every invoice and it was on the first invoice that they sent directly to my e mail account – somehow the next two invoices from Protected content Protected content made it to my e mail. And I am sure that this is not by chance. They do not fail to contact the users via e mail when they need credit card information but when they have to notify about a charge, they gladly skip that step.
It seems to be common practice for Intenations to sneak charges on a yearly bases based on their auto renewal policy which is created “for the convenience” of the members. I truly hope that someday they will deal with a class action suit.