SCAM ALERT: DOUBLES price, auto-renews, and provides NO WAY to cancel

Mary Dean

If corporations are people, shouldn't we be able to jail them for being criminals?

. . . And, are you telling me we STILL have no federal laws regarding the crap that this guy went through over twenty years ago?

I'm talking about internet companies who:

  • Auto-renew a product or service without confirming with, or at least notifying the customer
  • Give NO option to NOT auto-renew
  • Raise the price on said service -- in my case, more than doubling it -- without confirming with, or even notifying the customer
  • Make it IMPOSSIBLE for someone to cancel a service
  • Make it IMPOSSIBLE to remove a credit card from your account.
  • Offer NO REFUNDS whatsoever

    Today's candidate for the slammer is LOGMEIN.COM, a once legitimate company gone bad. It's incidentally the same company as JOIN.ME, and I'm betting their shady business practices are the same for that service, too.

    Two years ago I paid $105 for one year of the "LogMeIn" service. It's similar to "GoToMyPC," which lets you control another computer remotely. I was leaving my old company and I thought it would be a good idea to be able to log in from afar if they needed my help during the transition. As it turned out, they didn't need me. Oh, well, $105 down the drain.

    Fast forward two years later.

    I get a letter in the mail from an old credit card company, saying I have an overdue balance. "That's impossible," I say, "I haven't used that card in years, and haven't received any statements from it either."

    Luckily, I still have the login information, so I track down the mystery charge. Sure enough, two months ago, there is an auto-renewal charge from But get this: the amount is $250! You heard right... I signed up for a service that cost $105 a year, I never used that service, and they automatically charged me $250 to renew it.

    Not only that, but my credit card company has charged me $50 for two months of "late payment" for a charge I didn't know about.

    Surely, LogMeIn must have sent me an email announcing the raised price, and confirming my auto-renewal? If they had, I obviously would have said "NO!" and "NO!". But a quick search of my last two years worth of email reveals NOT A SINGLE email from them.

    So I log into my dormant LogMeIn account. I want to remove my old credit card from the account, cancel the account entirely, and then hopefully do something about reversing that illegitimate charge.

    I go into "Billing." It lets me SEE my credit card information, but it does not allow me to edit or delete it.

    Well, dang it, how do I cancel this entire account, then? I look under "Billing," I look under "Subscriptions," I look under "Profile," I look under "Computers."

    Nope, there is NO WAY TO CANCEL.


    Getting angrier, I turn to google, and finally find a discussion between angry people who've had the same thing happen to them. If you happen to be one of those people, here is the PHONE NUMBER you have to call:


    Toll Free: 1-866-478-1805
    International: +1-781-897 5580

    The man I spoke to was obviously accustomed to "irate" customers, because he was as smooth as butter. "Yes, I see that your subscription was automatically renewed ... That's true, we only accept cancellations by phone.... That's true, the cost of the yearly subscription did go up... Unfortunately our terms of service do not provide for any refunds... Of course, I'd be happy to cancel your account, but as is stipulated in our terms of service, the yearly fee cannot be refunded or pro-rated, even if you were to cancel a week after renewal... Obviously, we're not responsible for any credit card late fees you might have incurred... "

    I recommend you scream and yell and threaten legal action and use profanity. After all, are we polite to pickpockets and purse-snatchers? No, we scream bloody murder and hit them over the head with a our umbrellas. Why should we treat internet purse-snatchers any differently?

    To make a long story short: I contested the charge with my credit card company. I screamed and yelled and threatened legal action. I finally got the charge reversed, after they did "research" and found that I had, literally, never used their service, so they would "bend the rules," and "make an exception" in my case.


    Here are my suggestions for principles should be enshrined in law (NOT state law, by the way, only federal law can prevent this kind of nonsense):

  • If you can sign up for something online, the law should say you can CANCEL it online also... EASILY AND WITH NO EXCEPTIONS.
  • Why not allow them to force you to make a phone call to cancel? Because (a.) Then they will make it hard to find the correct number to call, (b.) They simply won't answer the phone, knowing people are calling that line to cancel (c.) Why the hell should we have to waste our time making phone calls for something we signed up for online? (d.) What if the customer doesn't speak English?
  • Auto-renewal should be an OPTION, not a requirement, and it should be something that WE choose, NOT THEM.
  • About a month before an auto-renewal is charged, it should be required that the company send you an email, notifying you that the auto-renewal is going to happen, with instructions for how to cancel the service before the auto-renewal takes place.
  • Any price increases should be not only announced, but CONFIRMED with the customer. How the hell can it be OK to raise a price from $105 to $250 without asking me or even telling me?
  • If there is no activity on an account, the company should not only send an email but confirm in some other way (automated text message or phone call) that the person wants to renew the service. Why? Because sometimes we change email addresses!
  • There should always be an easy way to change, edit, and delete credit card or other auto-billing information.
  • To repeat, there should be a SIMPLE, CLEAR, ACCESSIBLE way to cancel any account or service, not only online, but also by phone or email. And that information should be included in all correspondence with the customer, especially right before an auto-renewal.
  • A person who cancels an auto-renewal within a reasonable amount of time should be entitled to a pro-rated refund.
  • Sneaky "Terms of Service" agreements should NOT be allowed to surreptitiously change any of these provisions.

    OK, my blood pressure is back to normal now.