Saturday, April 5, 2014

Predatory Billing (rant)

My anti-virus software license came up for renewal.  I have been very happy with the software. It loads quickly on start-up.  Virus updates have been quick and fairly painless.

It appears that their retailer is taking a page out of the "Book of the Month Club" scam.  For those of you who are too young to remember; The Book of the Month Club would mail you a book that was yours too keep.  If you did not want that book, all you had to do to avoid being invoiced was to put it back in the box, tape it up to USPS requirements, walk it down to the Post Office and mail it back within a few days.

The usual come-on was to have a few top drawer books as window dressing and then vast numbers of third tier books.

Many third-tier books were lost in the shuffle and never made it back to the post office within the required time window.  The customer ended up paying full retail price for books that could be had at the bargain barn and flea market for one fifth of list price.

The purchase agreement

I had to type this out by hand.  For some reason, the vendor disabled my mouse so I am unable to copy-and-paste.  I could not even take a screen print.  Your speculation regarding the motives for making it very difficult to reproduce this boiler-plate is as valid as mine.

By clicking the button below and by completing your purchase, you authorize Digital River to automatically renew your purchase license for successive renewal terms equal in length to your initial license term but no longer than 1 year, at the then-current renewal license price (plus applicable taxes) using your payment information provided for your initial purchase until you cancel.  At least one email will be sent to you to remind you of each upcoming renewal.  The Digital River Terms of Sale and Privacy Policy will apply to each renewal transaction.  You also agree that Digital River may, upon notice to you transfer your responsibility for the processing of renewals of your purchased license under the Auto-Renewal Plan to Avast Software a.s. (“Avast”), in which case Digital River will transfer your billing information to Avast or their payment processor and Avast’s terms of sale and privacy policy provided to you in Avast’s reminder email will apply to each renewal transaction.  You may cancel your auto-renewal plan at any time by logging into the My Subscriptions portal (access information will be included in your order confirmation email or on the Customer Service Help page), selecting your product and selecting the option to disable automatic renewal.

By clicking on the submit button I would authorize Digital River authority to make charges against my credit card into perpetuity.  I would also be giving Digital River the right to transfer that authority to unknown parties.  The only way I could shrug off the burden would be by following some, undisclosed, chain of links.

No Thank-you 

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