Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Monday, March 23, 2015

Interesting Comment to a Very Old Blog Post

I have a very old blog post that dates back to 2009 that still gets a comment now and again. I have posted a notice on the blog that states that the post is woefully out of date and that the readers need to read more current posts. Here is a comment I received just today from my old friend Anonymous.
*** stole my pension. I am no fool. I joined the free trial then deleted my a/c 2wks before it ended. yet they stole my pension. *** all I had left to buy heating and food for the next 10 days before my next pension day. I have sent them many emails to their various email address yet they ignored me for 4days leaving me in tears and shock. now they replied saying yes I did cancel it but they have no record of taking my I emailed them the proof yet again I am being ignored. my bank has to wait 7days before they can investigate them. in the mean time I am ill and disabled have to feel the cold and go hungry. these people are very very wicked on
 I have done nothing to this comment except delete the name of the website, which I feel is irrelevant to my response and the amount paid by the commentator. I have also deleted the comment from the old post where it was made. Obviously, since this commentator decided to post his or her comment anonymously, there is no way I can either verify or refute the charges made.

In reading this comment carefully, I note that the commentator claims to have "deleted my a/c 2wks before it ended. yet they stole my pension." I am not sure what is meant by this statement, but in almost every case, deleting the account probably did not give notice to the website that the person wished to terminate the free trial and not convert to a paid account. In every case, if you wish to end a free trial, you should follow the instructions on how to do this as set forth online on the website. I have examined the Terms and Conditions of each of the major online websites and they all have procedures for terminating subscriptions. For example, the Terms and Conditions concerning subscriptions are accessed from a link on each page of the website and they are very clear about how to terminate a subscription.

What is most puzzling to me is the reference to terminating the "free trial" "2wks before it ended." I am not familiar with any of the major websites that have time limit free trials that last more than 2 weeks. This person would have had to deleted the account before the "free trial" started, much less ended. I have been unsuccessful in finding a free trial period of more than 14 days.

I am again puzzled by the reference to the attempts to contact the website by email. Almost all the larger websites have telephone support. There is also a reference to "various email addresses" which causes me to think. All of the larger websites have extensive help centers and contact to the companies is done directly through an email link online. I am not aware how anyone gets "many email" addresses for the larger companies.

Some of my readers are probably thinking, why am I cross-examining this poor person who lost their "pension" funds for heating and food to the nasty online program? My question is why is this person so upset when they are one who signed up for a program with no intention or ability to subscribe. Any offer of a "free" anything is nothing more or less than an inducement to sign up for the entire program. Why would this person be in "tears and shock" when he or she was the person who subscribed. In examining the termination procedures for various programs, I find that the way to cancel a subscription is rather easy in almost all cases. Next we are to believe that this person's bank will not investigate the problem for a week. Further, the charge would have been against a credit card, not cash out of an account. The comment fails to explain how the money came directly out of the bank account.

I am reasonably familiar with the procedures for contesting a credit card charge and I know from my own experience that it does not take a week to get an answer from a bank.

Obviously, this comment was made in an attempt to be disturbing, but after reading the comment several times, I am reasonably sure that the whole thing is a hoax and an attempt to slander a company. The main reason why I feel this is the case is the very fact that the comment appears on a blog post that is six or more years old and where the person posting the comment has apparently ignored the notice of that fact.

Why the long analysis and commentary? This is a comment aimed at a genealogy company. I have no idea of the motivation for the comment, but we, as a community, are not immune from this type of appeal. It is difficult to imagine the real agenda here, but this type of complaint has no place in our community.

Finally, if this person had not signed in anonymously, I could possibly have helped them resolve their situation. Making this type of complaint and then acting from behind a screen is just not a good idea.


  1. You can still do a 6 week trial with the purchase of Family Tree Maker outside the US. From what the comment sounds like, thats probably what the commenter did.

    I'm guessing the person googled for complaint issues or something like that, postedout of anger and/or frustration for getting into a situation that they probably didn't pay enough attention to (partly from clicking through things and part from not being technologically knowledgeable enough).

    1. Maybe, Maybe not. I didn't want to get into addressing the program the commentator was complaining about.

  2. It's got to be a hoax or gross exaggeration. There is no way any company could attach his pension without getting a judgment on the debt and there are a whole bunch of steps he would've had to ignore for it to get to that point. The company (any company) would have sent notice of a delinquent account by email and/or letter (probably both), to which he could have responded and fought or negotiated, It then would have been turned over to a collection agency which would have tried several methods to contact him, to which he could have responded. If it was taken to court to get a judgment against him, he had to be served at his last known address and he could have hired a lawyer (or the Legal Aid Society, or gone through the local Bar association's pro bono program, if he had income issues), or fought it on his own/pro bono.

    At any point, in his fight, he could have contacted his state's Attorney General's office and asked them to look into it. It's their job to protect the consumers of their state, and they will investigate.

    Thie scenario described above doesn't read as credible, frankly.

    1. The real question and why I brought up this issue, is that this kind of blatant attack is detrimental to the entire genealogical community. It is obvious to me that the online programs do a very good job of maintaining their millions of users. But this kind of attack undermines users' confidence in the entire community.

  3. Well, it would if it were a credible assertion. Otherwise, it's more likely just a troll.