Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

November 2006

Popped Up

While looking at new features on my online banking screen recently, I noticed a $9.99 charge for something called “TGF*GREATFN.” When I called the Connecticut phone number next to the charge, I was informed that the $9.99 was my monthly subscription charge for a discount service I subscribed to through an associated company of Great Fun. She said I got a $20 rebate at the time plus a free month to try out the service.

“What? What!” I articulated.

She repeated.

“I did not,” I claimed.

“Did, too,” she replied.

“Yeah, well, I certainly don’t want a service I’ve never used. Please cancel it.”

“Would you be interested instead in receiving a discount for $40?”

“What?! No, no, I just want to cancel whatever you say I have and get a refund for charges.”

After a little back-and-forth, she agreed to cancel my “service” and refund $9.99. She even gave me a confirmation number, adding that it might take as long as 15 days for the refund to show up in my account.

“Wait a minute,” I added, “how long has this thing been going on?”

“You signed up in March,” she replied.

“What?! And, I’ve been getting charged $9.99 every month since then?”

“No,” she assured me, “the first month was a free trial period.”

“What?! I want all my money back!”

She said I had to fax another department to apply for a further credit. She gave me the fax number and hung up. I got the $9.99 in two days. I won’t know until the 24th if the $9.99 charge has stopped. I confirmed that I had missed the charges, which were clearly marked on my bank statements.

Thanks to the Attorney General’s Office, I got a favorable response from the “Fun” people in the form of three more $9.99s, but I still feel a little dumber than Homer Simpson.

The moral of the extra point: Beware of pop-ups, free lunches, strangers and stuff you need to do in 30 days.