Saturday, April 12, 2008

Surely not another complaint about Quesia.Com's billing methods - where is Ken Lay when we need him? provides access to thousands of academic texts and newspaper and magazine articles - but you need to beware of its trigger-happy billing system which can mean that using could very easily cost more than you think.

I'll come to my gripe (and explain the Ken Lay reference) in a minute, but first some other gripes from the Net:

Sara, on complained of difficulties in cancelling a three month subscription with Questia which renewed the subscription without reference to her. Kerim, on the anthropology blog, Savage Minds, complains also about the ease with which turned a trial subscription into a recurring subscription. Here's one on about's habit of renewing people's subscriptions without telling them.

And I notice that Lansbridge University, which uses, warns students of "Questia's policy on automatically renewing subscriptions. If you decide not to keep your Questia account before your trial period is up, be sure to contact Questia to have it deactivated. Otherwise, it will automatically be switched over to a monthly billing and you will be charged accordingly."

In my own experience, I signed up for a package which they renewed at a higher price than agreed. We sorted that out a year ago, or so I thought. This March they helped themselves to $8.62 from my credit card (which, incidentally, had expired six months earlier, thanks a lot, NIB Visa) with no explanation when my subscription, which I had no intention of renewing, still had a month to run. A small amount? Yes, but I don't exist for the purpose of giving money for nothing. I could not get an explanation from them as to why they took my money - their emails when I complained largely side-stepped that issue - and, of course, I didn't get my money back.

I wouldn't deny for a minute that this company has thousands of satisfied customers but I wonder how much's renewal policy makes for them every year? I don't know but if you don't want to be a contributor to their coffers, be very careful about doing business with these guys.

And Ken Lay?

This item from a report on on in 2002 said that "In three previous rounds of financing, over $165 million dollars had been raised, including an investment from former Enron CEO Ken Lay. Lay is also on the company's board of directors." Publisher's Lunch reports that Lay will stay on the board at least for the time being and quotes Questia's Helen Wilson as saying it would be 'premature' to speculate about his future."

Well, she was right about that alright.

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(This is the complete post. Ignore "Continue reading" link below.)

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