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How to Permanently Lose Your Customers’ Business



Periodically, we perform online surveys. Historically, we have used SurveyMonkey. It’s a reasonable tool with far too much generic functionality for our specific needs but nonetheless, still usable. But we won’t be using them again. Here is why.

Last year, I went for a paid option for our vendor perception study. The cheapest solution for our needs for that survey was an annual subscription which I happily paid. Having performed the survey, produced the report and so on, I gave SurveyMonkey no more thought. That is until this morning…. when I received an email saying I had been billed 10,500CZK for my annual recurring subscription!

Wait a minute – recurring? I didn’t ask for it to be recurring. I chose a one-time subscription. OK, well simple to fix. Go to the website, talk to support and get a refund. Simple right?

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Contact Us it says. But if you click contact us, it takes you to a Q&A. If your answer isn’t there, you can ask again to contact them. Except it takes you back to the page you just left. I.e. There is no way to contact the firm at all – no email, no phone number. NOTHING. I searched through all the answers expecting to find some number of email but there is nothing at all. So, I went to the billing history and found a link to ask about the billing. Clicked it and… yes – back on the Q&A page. I finally found in very small print at the bottom of the website, another way to get help – online. Super.

Well, this turns out to be an AI chatbot. Totally and utterly useless. When I tell it I have been billed without permission, it tells me sorry we don’t offer refunds.

So basically, I just had 10500CZK effectively stolen by the firm that now owns SurveyMonkey. They offer no refunds and no way to contact them at all.

But how did this happen?

Well, apparently when I signed up last year, hidden away in the fine print was that I was opting in for ‘recurring billing’. When I say fine print I mean fine as fine can be hidden away where you would least expect it. Apparently, this is becoming a ploy now to capture people like me who do not get out their magnifying glass and read every word of the 100-page T’s & C’s.

I terminated my account immediately. I will never use SurveyMonkey again. They lost me as a customer and in a couple of days time, they will lose my money too. I paid by credit card and my credit card company will take the money back as soon as the transaction has been completed.

Meanwhile, please learn from my mistake. There are firms out there that use deceptive techniques to trap you into recurring annual fees that they can set and reset at anytime without telling you. Yes, the 10500CZK was 3000CZK higher than the previous year when I did order the service. Also – use a credit card where you can complain and obtain a refund for deceptive practices.

Does anyone know who I can report this firm to? Running a business that uses deception is not exactly a good idea.