[info]lostangelssong in [info]07refugees

Just a thought...

Something to ponder.

We all know that LJ has an auto-payments option for people with paid accounts. You give them your credit card information, they keep it on file, and your paid account ends up being about five bucks cheaper a year. Right?

I don't have that feature set up on my LJ (my paid time doesn't run out until December, but then I'm letting my account lapse) but I know that there are plenty of people who do.

Which raises a very interesting question. If LJ permanently suspends/bans a person with a paid account that has auto-payments set up, can they, in theory, get money from that person indefinitely? Especially since the account won't have been deleted, only suspended, and the person has no way to go in and turn the auto-payments off?

I'm half-tempted to write a support ticket to LJ about this, and then I have to wonder if it would even really matter considering their utter lack of anything approaching good customer service, especially as of late.


As far as I know, they can't continue to pull money from the automatic payments without permission from the user. But then again I'm no expert on that stuff, I'm not a laywer.
The user isn't notified by e-mail that they've made an automatic payment until after it's been made, so I don't know how much permission is involved (I ended up with six months of paid time I didn't want last year, because I was flaky and forgot to turn them off). I'd think permission would be implicit in turning automatic payments on in the first place.
Wouldn't that permission only apply for a customer that had an active account? Wouldn't suspending the account disable all automatic everythings? Also I wonder about those with permanent accounts that get suspended. Do they get a refund on the time they have left until the account has paid for itself? Big questions and NO ANSWERS!!!!


Also I wonder about those with permanent accounts that get suspended. Do they get a refund on the time they have left until the account has paid for itself?

The answer to this is no. The ToS there even makes a point about saying no refunds. That they started this b.s. after the permanent account sale was over proves how slimy they are. "We can delete your account and you get no refund." (in non-lawyerspeak)

Re: refunds

NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICE! How lovely of them. Makes me so glad my account expires next month :/

Re: refunds

Mine doesn't expire until late May and then I'm going to get a permanent account over here. I like this place.
Because there is no service rendered or exchange of goods for the money, in theory LJ would be stealing from the user.

Should this happen, a report to the Better Business Bureau in 6A's area would probably be a good idea, in addition to contacting LJ to set things right.

Also, if it happens once, the best thing to do would be to call the credit card company, explain the circumstances, and tell them not to accept any more charges from LJ/6A.

I say all of this as a non-paying member of LJ who has no idea how the process works, but those would be the steps I'd take, since LJ/6A has no legal reason to take my money.
the best thing to do would be to call the credit card company, explain the circumstances, and tell them not to accept any more charges from LJ/6A.

Not possible, I'm afraid. Once authorised, payments on a debit or credit card cannot be cancelled except by cancelling the card altogether.

You have to wait until the transaction appears on your credit card statement and then contact the credit card disputes line to get the payment claimed back. And be prepared to do the same thing the next month, and the next, until eventually LJ gives up and stops taking it.
...and my ignorance shows *grin*

This is why I don't enter into such contracts unless I know exactly what I'm getting into, and I never felt I could trust LJ enough to pay for an account. Seems I was right.
Er, are you sure about that? Past experience with our own cards leads me to believe otherwise, but I could be misremembering something vital.
Yes, I am sure. It's my job. I have to tell customers this at least once every week.

And it's how AOL got enough money to buy Time Life Warner.

You have to contact, not the card company, but the company taking the money. Any reputable company will stop taking the payments; if it is too close to the payment date for them to stop the next payment, they will take it but will refund it shortly afterwards.

Whether LiveJournal/SixApart is a reputable company or not is not for me to say.
Ah, I see. Slight flaw in the system there. Oh well then. Thanks for the education. ^^

And I think their recent behavior speaks for itself. :p
Tharts not entirely true. You might want to check with your individual credit card company. Particularly since the situation is LJ suspending services and then billing for the next year. They can't bill for services they aren't providing.
They can't legitimately bill for services they aren't providing, and indeed they probably won't; but they can take the money illegitimately, and if they do then Visa or Mastercard will have to refund it to you and take the money back off LiveJournal.
Usually (within the UK anyway) you have to contact the company but the card company can stop the payments going through as I've had to phone up a few times as I've had monthly payments coming off my credit card to companies who have gone bust.
Not so. I bank with a Federal Credit Union and had authorized monthly payments to a company I worked for to draft my broker fees. I was able to sign a form that authorized canceling the payments from my visa card with no problem.
I happily recommend opening many, many support tickets asking for clarifications of any parts of their rules or activities you might not understand.

Don't expect results, but let them know what they get for not being up-front with their users.
See, on the one hand I'd say that the coding should work like Blizzard's when an account is decimated (ie, all the stuff related to the account is gone, including the automatic payments)-- but then I remember that Blizzard has excellent customer support and competant coders.

I mean, in reality it would be theft/fraud and something I would cheerfully take LJ to court over (if I'd had automatic payments set up, which I didn't). But it doesn't mean they won't try-- my brother had a similar problem with a video subscription that he got cancelled. They tried to take money out the month after, and my parents had to do this big thing with the bank and letter-writing for a refund before the bank could then legally go after the company.

Might be a good time for people who pay by debit card to call up their financial instutition and ask about the policy for challenging bad debits on their accounts. :/ I know the process for banks differs a bit from the process for credit card companies.
LJ, itself, turns off automatic payments when they do the permanent suspend - they did it for me - even sent a letter stating the same.

Even if they didn't, a suspended (permanent or otherwise) user can still sign into their account, even adjust their user info, last I checked, read "some" notifications, and presumably adjust payment option if that were necessary - just can't post or comment while signed in.

Heck, the permanently suspended user can even sign in to manage their communities, if those were not also suspended - I had the strange pleasure to sign in as a suspended user, and approve myself, as a member (with a new lj) of the community I'd created (before it, also, was suspended), lol, even made my new self the maintainer of the thing. This may be why they endeavor to delete one's associated communities at the same time, now.
Well, at least their accounting is in order. Even if their damn customer service is made of fail.