Saturday, November 17, 2012

My Experience With Stamps.com

Call me stupid. Call me trusting. Call me an optimist, perhaps. I signed up for Stamps.com's too-good-to-be-true free trial offer. I know what you are thinking...with so many bad reviews about them online, why would you do something so stupid? Like I said...call me an optimist. 

The offer I received was in a package of HP printer paper, valid for businesses only. I have a valid business license. The expiration date was 9 months off, so I figured it would be safe to assume the offer was still valid: a postage scale that measures up to 50 lbs., free mailing boxes, and $50 in free postage! I do want to stress that this was a business offer, which differs slightly from their other offers. 

So I got my welcome package in the mail...
This is the the meter shown on the offer, value of $50. 

To find a little silver postage meter that measures up to 20 lbs. not 50 lbs. Okay... the little brochure inside tells me if I want the one that was promised to me, I have to pay for it. *sigh* Okay forget that. Free meter is still free, even if it is not what was promised.


This is the meter they sent me, $10 value. 

The part they do not disclose to you: You get $5 free postage. If you want more free postage, you have to spend at least $25 in postage (boxes do not count towards your total). It would have been nice to know that before I signed up, it definitely would have affected my decision. I am informed of this by a letter inserted in with my welcome package.  They already have my credit card information. By now it is already too late. 

Now, to try the service....
At first, everything worked smoothly. The software is easy to use. I printed postage for my business, sent out big bins full of packages, paid them money for this postage...began to wonder what they did to earn their $17.99/month fee (I am still under my 30 day trial at this point) but decided that, since I send out an average of 10-15 packages weekly, the convenience of buying postage in my jammies might be worth it. I pay for 1 month of service. I never got my additional free postage, even after purchasing the required amount of postage.

THIS is when I begin to have software issues. All of a sudden, the program is only printing part of the postage label. I buy new ink and reprint the one free reprint the software allows. Still, only printing part of the label. I deal with HP...end conclusion, is it is Stamps.com's software acting up and not my system or my printer, or user error. I deal with Stamps.com customer service and am told to file a refund claim. Which I do. Which is denied.

I complain via email, letting them know that this was all going in my review for my blog, and that I was pretty annoyed with their service. They assure me that I will get my refund, however it will be by check in the mail. It takes me a month and a half to receive the checks.

One look at the website and it is pretty clear that the only way to cancel is to call in. I call the 888 number, and proceed to spend an hour on the phone with an agent. Me, trying to cancel the account and the agent trying to upgrade me and sell me more crap I don't want or need. End result ~ account cancelled! I promptly put the whole mess out of my mind, I don't even bother with the blog review. I just move on. 

6 MONTHS go by. I go to pay my rent one day and am told that I don't have quite enough in there to make it. One look at the account tells me why: Stamps.com pulled $107.94 from my bank account! That is a lump sum charge for 6 months of service, AFTER my account was cancelled, pulled all at once. What the heck?

The Good News is that it only took talking to 2 agents and 20 minutes of my time to get it straightened out. The Bad News is it took 6 days for the charges to be reversed. I now owe a $35 late fee to my landlord, which of course I just have to eat. 

My advice? Go to Consumer Affairs and read a few complaints, and you will see stories so similar to mine, but minus the quick refund. Most people don't get their money back, they are told over and over "these are legitimate charges" (what the first agent tried to tell me when I called about the missing $107.94) and even if they cancel the account, there is no guarantee you will not see more charges in the future, if these reviews are to be believed. 

Once the money was back in my account, I went to the bank and ordered a different debit card, cancelled the one I had used, and banged my head against the wall for not having used a prepaid card, like I always tell my readers. THIS IS WHY you use a dummy prepaid card for this stuff. So they can't mess up your finances and maybe your life. Luckily, I was able to soothe the landlord's ruffled feathers long enough for my funds to be reversed, and in the end there was no permanent harm. Other than the late fee that came out of my pocket. 



But let me tell you, this is not an experience I want to go through again. I think I finally learned my lesson. 

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1 comment:

  1. I also had a bad time with stamps.com, they are not a trustworthy company!!!

    ReplyDelete