Beware of "Grey" internet scams

Analysis of my blog stats reveals that one of the common Google searches is "How to cancel Fasthosts Account". This is because, Fasthosts, who claim to be "The UK's Number One Web Host" make it so difficult as to render it a virtual scam. All I can say, from my experience, is avoid them. Avoid them as if they are going to inject you with Hepatitis, using a rusty needle. Don't just take my word for it. Google them, or go HERE. Basically, Fasthosts allow you to sign up on line for their mediocre webhosting package. All very well until there is a problem, or you simply want to cancel your account. I am not going to explain how to do this now, but you first have to contact them. It is down hill from there on in, since you must provide them with passwords and logins you did not know you had. They are in different places, and you may not even know what they are. Attempting to communicate with their Customer Service Team (Web, email and phone support from our experts) is difficult, since the phone lines are often not answered. Do not, however, cancel your direct debit - they will then start sending you threatening letters and get very nasty. They are like the Cosa Nostra, Very easy to sign up, very difficult to leave.

Another example of a Grey internet scam is a recent one for me, and that is Esure, the car insurance people. A few months ago, I was sent a letter from Esure telling me I was being given "Free Legal Claims Assistance" (whatever that is). What was absolutely clear was that they were going to include this on my next renewal, and that I was certainly not free. And so, recently I got their renewal, which, conveniently for them renews the insurance certificate by default. I had to call them to ask to take off the legal claims assistance that I never wanted. My guess is that they have calculated that a percentage of their client base will simply not spot this addition to their insurance bill and pay out for a service they neither want, nor need. Adding unwanted items or services to a bill and presenting it for payment seems to me to be fraudulent and worthy of a street vendor, not a major insurance company.  To add insult to injury, I had to spend ten minutes on the phone pressing buttons and finaly speaking to a human being.

No doubt you have similar stories. Please feel free to add them but please, get your facts straight. I don't want to end up in court.

One other thing, that does not come under the Scam label, but is nevertheless irritating, is when you buy items online and are then bombarded regularly and perpetually with their marketing. The worst offenders, believe it or not, are John Lewis and Marks & Spencer. Sure, they make it easy to "unsubscribe", but what is the point? I just got irritated with almost daily spam from them and did just that. Hardly what they want, is it?

Moan over.


Bob said...

Orange internet make it as difficult as possible to leave. Hours trying to get through to them and constant failure to reimburse my monthly direct debits that they promised would be stopped. E mails asking for your new bank details months after you've left them etc etc. They still owe me money but their plan seems to be to make you spend a fortune on phone calls and just give up. I still try and sort it out when I can be bothered. That's after 6 months of trying.
The only redress seems to be to mention them whenever you can to try and deter others from using them.

strapworld said...

Bob said.

Take them to the small claims court.It works.