Monday, September 16, 2013

stamps.com: A Cautionary Tale

I am about to relate to you the sad story of something I did.  A very stupid thing.  Then, I'm going to need for you to tell me your story.  Surely, you have one.  I imagine that everyone does.  I just need to know that I'm not alone out in the world of "I Signed Up for WHAT?"

First, I'll confess something that Alan and I did years ago.  We rented a phone from Southwestern Bell.  Remember going into those stores and looking at different models of phones?  There were princess phones, wall phones, rotary phones, new-fangled push button phones.  Oh, and the colors!  Blue, pink, deep green, red, yellow!  As newlyweds, we felt so mature as we marched into the phone store to pick out our first "married" phone for our new one bedroom apartment.  We had to be very careful about our choice because some phones cost more to RENT than others.  Key word:  RENT.

Yeeeeeeeears after we made our first phone purchase, it occurred to me that we still had that old rental phone.  One day it dawned on me that we should probably figure out where to return it because we hadn't really used it for a long time.  I felt guilty about giving the phone to Goodwill since we didn't technically own it.  Phone stores as we once knew them were no longer in existence.  Guess what?  We had been paying a little monthly fee for all those years for a phone we didn't use.  D.U.H.

Today, I got an email from stamps.com telling me that there was a problem with the payment for my monthly fee of $15.99.  At this point, I'd like to thank the person who used our credit card number to make purchases in a foreign country last June.  If it hadn't been for you, Pierre, the stamps.com fee would have been charged to us until the end of our natural born days.  My new charge card will forever remind me of your thoughtfulness.

I went to the stamps.com site and tried to log on.  Sure enough,  I had a username and password written down in my secret-log-of-passwords.  When I tried to log in, the site didn't know me.  AHA!  Someone has signed me up for stamps.com using my old credit card number!  So, I called the stamps.com customer service department.

WARNING:  What you are about to read may cause you discomfort.  The details of my complete and total stupidity may be too much for you witness.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

I explained to the lady that I must have been hacked by someone in a foreign country and that I needed to know what all had been purchased on my behalf.  My expectation was that the matter would be resolved within minutes, and I would come out the winner in the case of Carolyn Lackey VS Internet Thief.

Not so much.

Long story somewhat short.  In August 2010, I was on the usps (UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE) site probably printing a click and ship label.  I was bedazzled by a little picture of a small home-use postal scale for FREE.  So, I clicked.  Since September 2010, I have been paying stamps.com $15.99 per month for a service that I have never, ever used.  Even the customer service lady on the phone said, "Oh, I see!  Looks like there has never been any activity on this account."  Me:  "AHA!!  My point exactly!  I've never USED this account because I didn't know I'd signed up for it."  I assumed that her "Oh, I see!" was synonymous with "I'll refund your money!"  I assumed wrong.  Very, very wrong.

Yes...yes...yes...  Those are the answers to all of the questions that you're yelling at your monitor right now.  I know.  I know that, too.  I know.  I'm an idiot.  I will have to admit that I must have signed up for some trial offer.  Guess what?  Stamps.com doesn't notify you when your trial offer expires.  They just giddyup on charging those monthly fees. 

Phone lady was really nice and offered to refund me 2 of the 36 months of service.  "Is there anyone else I can talk to?" I whimpered.  "Why, yes!  Do you mind if I put you on hold while I contact a supervisor?"  There is only one answer to that question.  "I'll hold."

Supervisor Lady was equally as nice.  I will have to give stamps.com kudos for their customer service training.  Both ladies were able to convince me that they truly and sincerely "felt my pain."  Supervisor Lady said that she would give me the maximum refund ever offered in stamps.com history.  Six monthsOf the thirty six months.

Even as I was explaining to her that I would NEVER signed up for a membership to their club because I'm just a mom who occasionally mails packages to her college sons, and I can do that for FREE on usps.com.  The more I explained, the more stupid I felt.  I'm sure that Supervisor Lady put me on speaker phone at some point so that her co-workers could get their laugh-o'-the-day.  She's probably still retelling my story at the water cooler.  "And then she said,  'me-me-me-me-me-me-me-me.'" To which one of her comrades bellowed, "Boo-frickety-hoo, lady!  Boo-frickety-hoo!"

They had me over a barrel.  Judge Judy would make mincemeat out of my stupidity.  "See there in the size 2 font print?!  It's spelled out in plain English!  You shoulda read it!  You really, really shoulda read it!  Judgement for the Defendant!  You people need to read the fine print, for Pete's sake!"

Why didn't I notice the monthly charge on our Visa bill?  Good question.  I never look at it.  Alan pays the bills.  He told me that he remembers seeing it on the bill but assumed that it had to do with clicking and shipping which he knows I often do.  I must give him credit for never really questioning my purchases.  He's really sweet like that.  In this case, his sweetness coupled with my stupidity got expensive.

There you have it.   My cautionary confessional.  I'm sure that someday in the future I'll "Find the Funny" in this auto draft debacle.  Just as soon as I stop thinking of everything I could have bought with the $576 I paid for a service I never used.

I must commend ATT and brag on them.  They actually backtracked our account and refunded us about $200 for our obsolete rotary rental phone.

Go, my friend.  Search your Visa bill.  Turn your house over for lost overdue library books.  Did you remember to cancel your gas bill when you moved from the last house?  You, too, may be as blonde as me. 

Now.  Your turn!  Please confess. 

 

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