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Author Topic: SS annual plan fraud  (Read 1337 times)

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« on: November 12, 2021, 08:52 »
0
I wonder if this shenanigan happens regularly or I'm the only lame ass around here.

I signed up as a client and a couple days later deleted the account. I haven't purchased anything but I entered my credit card info, as it is a requirement for registration.

It turns out, SS has been charging my card for months, without me recognizing. I only recently checked my transactions and contacted them immediately via chat support. The chat guy says that deleting (or as they put "disabling") an account doesn't mean the subscription is cancelled. It runs forever no matter you have no affiliation with them.
He claims to have cancelled my sub now but of course I won't trust his word.

I also informed my bank that this was a fraud and they said they'd try to get it refunded. What do you guys think of my chances getting it back? If the bank fails, does it make sense to hire a US based lawyer? I'm from the EU. The total amount is just about $180 and i know it sounds ridiculous for any self respecting lawyer. But it's not the money, it's about stopping this shenanigan. SS is the worst experience of my life both as a contributor and as a client.


« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2021, 09:17 »
+6
I don't like Shutterstock but this wasn't a fraud. Any subscription service that gives you a free trial and has you enter a credit card assumes you intend to continue a paid subscription unless you cancel it before the trial ends. It's entirely your responsibility to read terms and conditions before you put your credit card down for anything.

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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2021, 09:40 »
+6
Yeah definitely not fraud. Best to just write it off as a costly learning experience and make sure you check the fine print the next time you sign up to a trial.

« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2021, 09:43 »
+3
It is not fraud. You should have read the terms point carefully for free trial.
As far as refund is concerned, I don't think you will get one.

The last you can do is get your credit card cancelled and no further payments will be deducted.

« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2021, 10:02 »
+1
How is it not fraud that you have no membership with them, no affiliation whatsoever, you have deleted your account a long ago and they keep charging you for services they cannot and will not render? What am I actually buying from them? What am I paying for?

Anyways I did cancel the * plan before quitting and today I put an end to this. I talked to their chat guy who said he stopped it. And I also emailed their privacy dept to make sure they removed all my data. But I don't want to write it off, I'm going to contact some lawyers. I know it will add to my misery but fuck it. I just can't accept that this is OK by US law, or any law for that matter, that you charge a non-existing client indefinitely for services you know you'll never render.

« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2021, 10:07 »
+3
And here I thought they only did fraud on the contributors  :-\

« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2021, 10:11 »
+4
And here I thought they only did fraud on the contributors  :-\

Fraudsters will commit fraud. Crooks will crook. Sleaze will out.

« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2021, 10:39 »
+6
Shutterstock's Trustpilot reviews are full of frustrating experiences regarding hidden credit card commitments https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/www.shutterstock.com

« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2021, 10:56 »
+3
Same thing happened to me a few years ago. When I did design work for clients I purchased an image pack of 5 (or something) on SS. Any indication that it was a subscription must have been buried in the terms. I didn't realise they were repeat charging for a while (several charges) later. You can say you should read the terms but I understood the license terms and didn't expect them to bury the lead on the actual product!

« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2021, 11:10 »
+4
How is it not fraud that you have no membership with them, no affiliation whatsoever, you have deleted your account a long ago and they keep charging you for services they cannot and will not render? What am I actually buying from them? What am I paying for?


You signed a treaty with them when you signed up for the free trial. You have to read it, understand it and cancel it accordingly. It's all written there. That's why it is not fraud. And it's normal practice for any service that offers a free trial. No one really wants to give you anything for "free". They all want you to keep your subscription. Is it a nice practice? No, of course not! But is it fraud? No! You agreed to these terms.
I can't just order something online, then I cancel my account with the online shop and think that makes my sales agreement invalid. This is not really different.

« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2021, 11:26 »
+6
Your title says "annual plan". If you did sign up for that, their terms clearly say that although you can cancel during the term of the subscription, you'll be billed until the end of the annual commitment. If you don't turn off auto renewal, then as far as I can see they are legally within their rights to continue the subscription to a new one-year term when the first one ends.

https://support.shutterstock.com/s/article/How-do-Shutterstock-Image-subscription-plans-work?language=en_US

I agree that their tactics are really sleazy, but that doesn't amount to fraud (and I'd be very circumspect about using terms like that as you don't want to find SS's lawyers suing you for defamation). I very much doubt any lawyer would take this case unless there's some deceptive practices legislation related to consumer transactions that this type of behavior runs afoul of.

I understand the anger, but you will just be tossing your money in the shredder if you try and pursue this legally, IMO. You could try public shaming via social media, but be very careful to choose your words. And if you're a current contributor, that may well get your contributor account closed. They can do that at any time, for any or no reason.

« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2021, 11:56 »
0
I can't just order something online, then I cancel my account with the online shop and think that makes my sales agreement invalid. This is not really different.

It is a whole lot different. I didn't cancel a purchase and I certainly didn't get any product shipped in return for my recurring payment. If I cancel an order in an online shop as long as it's technically possible (i.e. not in delivery) it's just cancelled. I wouldn't want my money back just because I changed my mind when it's already on the way. And in that case I'm happy (or unhappy) at least with the physical product i got.

In this case, however, they are billing for what exactly?

« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2021, 12:06 »
+3
if you're a current contributor, that may well get your contributor account closed. They can do that at any time, for any or no reason.

Thanks for the advice but I'm obviously no longer a contributor, I removed my portfolio when they introduced the 10/image plan. I wish I hadn't signed up at all.

« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2021, 12:40 »
+4
I can't just order something online, then I cancel my account with the online shop and think that makes my sales agreement invalid. This is not really different.

It is a whole lot different. I didn't cancel a purchase and I certainly didn't get any product shipped in return for my recurring payment. If I cancel an order in an online shop as long as it's technically possible (i.e. not in delivery) it's just cancelled. I wouldn't want my money back just because I changed my mind when it's already on the way. And in that case I'm happy (or unhappy) at least with the physical product i got.

In this case, however, they are billing for what exactly?

Yes, you didn't cancel a purchase - you just deleted your account. That's the problem.
And you did get a "product" - The product of Shuttertock's annual subsription plan is that you are allowed to download X images per month. You don't have to, but you will still get charged, not for the images, but for being allowed to download them. It's like an online newspaper subscription: If you subscribe, you have to pay, regardless of whether you actually read all, a few or no online articles at all.
You agreed to that.

Look, most of us like to bash Shuttesrtock wherever we can, but in this case you are just wrong. This is not fraud. You agreed to these terms and conditions when signing up for the trial!

Quote
The 10 images per month annual plan will automatically charge you each month for EUR XX , allowing you to continue to download content without interruption. If you wish to cancel during your free trial period, visit the Plans section of the My Account page here
.  The link leads to your account page where you will find a link called "Cancel plan early" which you have to cklick on before the free trial period ends. That's what you have to do to cancel the plan and you agreed to that, so you can't call it fraud whenthe only problem here is that you did not follow the cancellation process you agreed to.

Don't sign stuff on the internet without properly reading what you sign up for! No one really wants to give you anything for "free".


« Last Edit: November 15, 2021, 01:39 by Firn »

« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2021, 17:25 »
+1
I can't just order something online, then I cancel my account with the online shop and think that makes my sales agreement invalid. This is not really different.

It is a whole lot different. I didn't cancel a purchase and I certainly didn't get any product shipped in return for my recurring payment. If I cancel an order in an online shop as long as it's technically possible (i.e. not in delivery) it's just cancelled. I wouldn't want my money back just because I changed my mind when it's already on the way. And in that case I'm happy (or unhappy) at least with the physical product i got.

In this case, however, they are billing for what exactly?

Yes, you didn't cancel a purchase - you just deleted your account. That's the problem.
And you did get a "product" - The product of Shuttertock's annual subsription plan is that you are allowed to download X images per month. You don't have to, but you will still get charged, not for the images, but for being allowed to download them. It's like an online newspaper subscription: If you subscribe, you have to pay, regardless of whether you actually read all, a few or no online articles at all.
You agreed to that.

Look, most of us like to bash Shuttesrtock wherever we can, but in this case you are just wrong. This is not fraud. You agreed to these terms and conditions when signing up for the trial!

Quote
The 10 images per month annual plan will automatically charge you each month for EUR XX , allowing you to continue to download content without interruption. If you wish to cancel during your free trial period, visit the Plans section of the My Account page here
.  The link leads to your account page where you will find a link called "Cancel plan early" which you have to cklick on before the free trial period ends. That's what you have to do to cancel the plan and you agreed to that, so you can't call it fraud when you the only problem here is that you did not follow the cancellation process you agreed to.

Don't sign stuff on the internet without properly reading what you sign up for! No one really wants to give you anything for "free".

Absolutely correct!

« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2021, 18:41 »
+5
a) read the fine print on anything you sign up for. period.
b) review your credit card statement monthly. period.
c) follow both a) and b). period.
d) stop blaming 'fraud' on your lack of involvement in your own affairs. period.

« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2021, 14:54 »
0
I wonder if this shenanigan happens regularly or I'm the only lame ass around here.

I signed up as a client and a couple days later deleted the account. I haven't purchased anything but I entered my credit card info, as it is a requirement for registration.

It turns out, SS has been charging my card for months, without me recognizing. I only recently checked my transactions and contacted them immediately via chat support. The chat guy says that deleting (or as they put "disabling") an account doesn't mean the subscription is cancelled. It runs forever no matter you have no affiliation with them.
He claims to have cancelled my sub now but of course I won't trust his word.

I also informed my bank that this was a fraud and they said they'd try to get it refunded. What do you guys think of my chances getting it back? If the bank fails, does it make sense to hire a US based lawyer? I'm from the EU. The total amount is just about $180 and i know it sounds ridiculous for any self respecting lawyer. But it's not the money, it's about stopping this shenanigan. SS is the worst experience of my life both as a contributor and as a client.

My Take on the situation:

- When you sign up with a free trial, at the end of the trial your subscription will continue and you will be charged, until you end the subscription. No fraud at all here, as others told you, you should have figured this out on sign up, it is very typical of this kind of free trial offers to work this way, not a shutterstock thing.

- You accusing SS of fraud on the other hand, could be considered defamation, not nice!

- How much sense would it make, once a client cancels his account, to check if an active subscription is ongoing and END THE SUBSCRIPTION BY DEFAULT on account cancellation?

You know, something like

"Hey, we noticed that you have an active subscription. Since you WILL BE UNABLE TO DOWNLOAD IMAGES once your account is closed, please be aware that your subscription will be cancelled together with your account."

I mean guys, for SS to keep a subscription active despite an account is closed is a very convenient bug in the Big Software (BS) that makes no sense at all from the customer point of view, and a lot of sense for SS that will keep the money and give nothing in return. Until you figure out what is going on and either re-open the account (not sure this would be so easy to re-open an account and having the new account linked with the current ongoing subscription) or end the subscription (difficult to do as you do no have an account anymore), that is.

« Last Edit: November 17, 2021, 15:05 by Ackab »


 

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