Before I get started, I’d just like to state that I’m a huge fan of SoonerScoop.com, which is a part of the Rivals.com Network. The guys there (Josh, Carey, etc) do a great job and will always have me as a paying customer because they know how to make their members happy with the content they provide. With that being said, now it’s time to expose the Network that their site belongs to…Rivals.com
Last Friday I decided to try out another site on the Rivals.com Network. I won’t say the name as I think the owner of that site is a total douche, but I wanted to look around and see if I might want to become a member anyways. I like to keep tabs on the competition, what can I say.
When I visited the main page of the site it said “Sign up for your Free Trial!” — great, let’s check it out and see what kind of content they offer. On every thread you click on it states the same thing, because it forwards to a Free Trial page that states that you can get a 7-Day Free Trial by “signing up here.” So I decide to sign up for the Trial and get started… I mean, seriously, what’s the big deal?
Well, here’s where the shit hit the fan with me, being someone who’s a big believer of treating customers right. The problem was that, once I signed up and the ‘transaction’ (free trial) went through, I was automatically given a “Sorry, you have already used your Free Trial on SoonerScoop.com” … But the GOOD NEWS was that I was automatically charged $99.99 for this other site! Yay!
OK, does anyone see a problem here? ‘Sign up for a Free Trial’ -> BAM! Charged unknowingly, without warning that I would automatically be charged… ? I believe the new FTC Regulations state that this is now against the law. Am I wrong? (would love to find the documentation to this, just because)
So that’s just part one. I then proceed to visit the site and check out the content to see if I would be OK with being charged in such a cheap shot style by Rivals.com. Well, we’ve got another problem. The content didn’t show up. It still stated that I should sign up for their Free Trial. But, I just did that… what gives? 72 hours later and I’m still stuck in the same position.
Here’s the thing… the $99.99 is not the issue here. It’s the feeling of being duped into purchasing something without my full consent. If I wanted to give them that, I would have just purchased a subscription months ago. I’ve never been a big fan of CPA Rebills because I feel the same way about this stuff. But at least (on most LP’s) most of those sites they have clear warnings of the up-coming charges and don’t automatically bill you right then and there.
What’s the difference between Rivals.com customer support and all of the Rebill offers out there? Not much. I send in an email and get Post Delivery Failure messages. When I finally get through and they reply to the email – it says “Reply to this Email.” When I do that, I get another Post Delivery Failure email. I tried every possible email address you could think of… only one email worked. I got a canned message stating that they received my email and would be responding shortly. They did, but with a very poor quality update stating I should “read the Terms of Service” (don’t even get me started on that bullshit).
So I tried calling their number and their offices had just closed. Not a problem, I’ll call Monday…………..
Monday morning arrives and I (unhappily) call up their Customer Service department. I actually believed that, since they’re a Yahoo! property, I would call and get good support. Oh boy, here we go… this lady was a total moron. I hate using that word, but she was. She either did not understand English or she was not interested in being at work that day. Everything she asked, I answered in detail, but not too much to where it would cause confusion. Simple answers for simple questions. She then gave me information that would have been great if it actually applied to my problem. It’s like asking someone to go to the grocery store and get a gallon of milk, so they go to the auto parts store and bring back an Air Filter. Seriously, it was that bad. She was absolutely clueless.
Finally I said “Look, I’m a busy guy. All I want is my money back and for you guys to let someone know about this issue. The money isn’t even important, but I don’t like feeling like I got scammed by an [allegedly] legit company.” All they had to do was give me a refund and let me walk away, but this lady mentioned the Terms of Service again, so I asked her if she ever reads the TOS when signing up for, what appears to be, legit services? She said yes, so I couldn’t keep myself from laughing out loud and saying “OK, so you’re that lady everyone talks about. Good to meet you.” She didn’t get my joke and said “thank you, you too.” She then told me that I wouldn’t be able to ‘qualify’ for a refund, but she would do me a huge favor and go ahead and cancel the service that I just paid $99.99 for only 72 hours earlier, that I never actually received. Good for her, what a great person she is…
Of course, that wasn’t OK. Actually, it just pissed me off more. I asked to speak to her superior and after another 10 minutes of questions that she had already asked, followed by “please hold the line” (5 times, I counted), I was finally connected to a guy that was clearly not American. If he was, I apologize, but the accent was evident that he was not ‘American’ for long, if he was at all. The irony is that he was far more helpful than this lady was and he immediately stated that he would ‘open a case’ for me and then contact me within 24-48 hours. While that’s not good enough, it’s better than nothing.
What I don’t understand is how some companies are stuck in their dinosaur ways. I thought Yahoo! was a pretty good company, overall. Maybe they simply bought out Rivals, but don’t actually participate in this company at all? One thing is clear: 247sports.com is going to crush rivals.com. Maybe this is why some of the guys from 247sports left rivals? Outdated Business practices, bad customer support, terrible technology, etc. That’s another point! Rivals.com is using Forum software that appears to be based on a very, very, very old vBulletin version. As in MAYBE vBulletin 1.0 type system. It’s terrible.
I’m really hoping that SoonerScoop.com moves away from Rivals so that I can be done with this company, but if not – they’d be the only reason I do give them any money at all. I’m shocked that their customer support system is that miserable. From Canned responses giving you the run around to bad CS Reps, how can upper management not fire a bunch of people? I just hope I never have to contact them again at this point. I could literally build a better system in a week. It’s NOT that hard.
Wake up Dinosaurs, your world is ending.