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  1. --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Caveat Emptor: APS Billing (for Jiu-jitsu.net)

    We've all known the day would come when the "respectable" martial arts succumbed to the pressure and became the same ruthless, unscrupulous merchandising and marketing machines that we typically associate with Shaolin-Do, Om-Young Do and others of their ilk. It's a shame that such a story has to trump Gannon's victory over Kimbo Slice, but the leader decreed it.

    Recently I learned that I am being charged 9.99 a month for some newsletter through jiu-jitsu.net. It is being done through a third-party billing company.

    I called the billing company to inquire about the charges, which were not described, and was told that it was for a subscription to jiu-jitsu.net's e-newsletter. After that call, I went to jiu-jitsu.net to register for the e-newsletter under a different email address, and there was no mention of billing, there was just a confirmation email to which I had to reply in order to finalize registration.

    I called the billing company back again, and asked to confirm with the representative that I was being billed by jiu-jitsu.net and that it was for a newsletter. She wouldn't tell me who was charging me, and told me it was a "Karate school". I told her again I wanted to confirm the company on whose behalf they were billing me. She directed me to the voicemail of the last person I spoke to.

    Not satisfied, I called back, and got the first person again. I told her that the newsletter registration didn't mention charges and required no information for registration other than an email address. She told me that they had my credit card information, so obviously I did register.

    Of course, I ordered a book from them some time ago, and that was directly through them.

    Using their checkout, I found a spot that offered a "Free-One Month Trial" of the newsletter. Which is odd because I registered for it through a blind hotmail account just an hour earlier.

    The billing company, ASP told me I have to send them a snail mail letter in order to cancel.

    And furthermore, at jiu-jitsu.net's checkout it looks like they pull one of these:

    I do NOT want to receive a 1 month FREE trial membership to Jiu-Jitsu.Net's eNewsletter and Discount List.

    What Do I Get? Regular subscription is $9.99 per month. You will automatically remain subscribed unless you contact us to cancel after your free month.
    Total charges to my account by my hasty estimate? $69.92.

    I should point out, I think I saw these charges before, but the billing company's initials, APS, made me think it was billing for a paper or something I might have ordered from the APSA, the American Political Science Association.

    I sent an email to Jiu-Jitsu.Net to complain, which was fruitless. I guess checking this one box should indicate I DON'T want to subscribe, while checking any of the others indicates that I DO want the item in question. And of course, they use small print to protect our tender little eyes from harm, and not to minimize the fact that you are going to be regularly charged for a newsletter and a "discount" that has cost me nearly seventy dollars so far.

    I responded to their mealy-mouthed apologies with this:


    This is unacceptable. I have been charged, by my hasty estimate, nearly seventy dollars. I'm a hand-to-mouth university student, and would never have agreed to sign over ten dollars a month for a newsletter.

    Your fine print notice is in bad faith. You know very well what you're doing. This tactic I thought, was
    reserved to pornographers. Those deliberate opt-out tactics are widely considered to be shady and
    deceptive. I shouldn't be charged for something I did not choose myself, and which you merely embedded into your checkout page. I had no idea I would have to be so wary around otherwise respectable retailers.

    I am contesting the charges with my bank, as I have quite deliberately been tricked.
    Last edited by The Wastrel; 11/16/2004 2:44pm at .

  2. Mr. Mantis is offline
    Mr. Mantis's Avatar

    One Ambulance, Eleven Cops...

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    under the sink
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    Posted On:
    11/16/2004 1:15pm

    Join us... or die
     Style: Kung Fu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I hate it when they do that. You might be able to do something wih the consumer sales act.

    You're argument is that there was no meeting of the minds. (not mistake, because you need mutual mistake, not unilateral mistake.)
    “We are surrounded by warships and don’t have time to talk. Please pray for us.” — One Somali Pirate.
  3. Bang! is offline
    Bang!'s Avatar

    Light Heavyweight

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    3,242

    Posted On:
    11/16/2004 1:19pm

    supporting memberBullshido Newbie
     Style: Wu Style TCC + BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Boycott!
    Boycott!
  4. The Wastrel is offline
    The Wastrel's Avatar

    Such as thou art, sometime was I.

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    9,620

    Posted On:
    11/16/2004 1:28pm

    supporting member
     Style: Brazilian Jiujitsu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Repulsive Monkey
    Boycott!
    Boycott!
    Good idea.
    Normally, I'd say I was grappling, but I was taking down and mounting people, and JFS has kindly informed us that takedowns and being mounted are neither grappling nor anti grappling, so I'm not sure what the **** I was doing. Maybe schroedinger's sparring, where it's neither grappling nor anti-grappling until somoene observes it and collapses the waveform, and then I RNC a cat to death.----fatherdog
  5. Bang! is offline
    Bang!'s Avatar

    Light Heavyweight

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    Posted On:
    11/16/2004 1:35pm

    supporting memberBullshido Newbie
     Style: Wu Style TCC + BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    The fact of the matter is that Bullshido.net has increasing clout in the MA world--at the very least through sheer numbers. If someone fucks with one of our own, they should feel it.
  6. Greese is offline
    Greese's Avatar

    Motorboatin SOB

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    Aug 2002
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    Springfield, MO
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    5,970

    Posted On:
    11/16/2004 1:41pm

    supporting member
     Style: Judo and BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Amen. If I visited that site...I wouldn't now!
  7. The Wastrel is offline
    The Wastrel's Avatar

    Such as thou art, sometime was I.

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    Posted On:
    11/16/2004 1:53pm

    supporting member
     Style: Brazilian Jiujitsu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Well, it should be broader than that. If someone fucks with their customers...
    Normally, I'd say I was grappling, but I was taking down and mounting people, and JFS has kindly informed us that takedowns and being mounted are neither grappling nor anti grappling, so I'm not sure what the **** I was doing. Maybe schroedinger's sparring, where it's neither grappling nor anti-grappling until somoene observes it and collapses the waveform, and then I RNC a cat to death.----fatherdog
  8. Bang! is offline
    Bang!'s Avatar

    Light Heavyweight

    Join Date
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    3,242

    Posted On:
    11/16/2004 1:57pm

    supporting memberBullshido Newbie
     Style: Wu Style TCC + BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    You're right. But its always funnier to incite fervent nationalism.

    In any case, we may want to sticky a list of dodgy business practices, etc. that fall outside of typical MdDojo territory.
  9. Mr. Mantis is offline
    Mr. Mantis's Avatar

    One Ambulance, Eleven Cops...

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    under the sink
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    Posted On:
    11/16/2004 2:00pm

    Join us... or die
     Style: Kung Fu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Also, I would argue, that there was no valid offer to accept. Throw in that the whole thing is unconscionable. If you can use the consumer sales practice act you get atty fees and treble damages. Title 5 rings a bell.

    I had a problem similar to this with AOL many years ago when I first was scoping out internet providers. I used their disk for their "50 hours free" thing and used the program once, determined it sucked, and moved on. I didn't cancel and they tried to bill me. I fired them off a letter, threatening to sue them. I also contested the charge with my credit card.

    I won with suprisingly minimal effort.
    “We are surrounded by warships and don’t have time to talk. Please pray for us.” — One Somali Pirate.
  10. The Wastrel is offline
    The Wastrel's Avatar

    Such as thou art, sometime was I.

    Join Date
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    9,620

    Posted On:
    11/16/2004 2:23pm

    supporting member
     Style: Brazilian Jiujitsu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Mantis
    Also, I would argue, that there was no valid offer to accept. Throw in that the whole thing is unconscionable.
    That's a good point. Who charges ten dollars a month for a "discount"?
    Normally, I'd say I was grappling, but I was taking down and mounting people, and JFS has kindly informed us that takedowns and being mounted are neither grappling nor anti grappling, so I'm not sure what the **** I was doing. Maybe schroedinger's sparring, where it's neither grappling nor anti-grappling until somoene observes it and collapses the waveform, and then I RNC a cat to death.----fatherdog
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