Stamps.com is engaged in two (2) deceptive practices in connection with a promotion that it offers by mail, providing a sheet of free, print-at-home stamps in exchange for creation of an online account as part of a purported risk-free trial. FIRST, Stamps.com does NOT clearly and conspicuously disclose that it will automatically enroll consumers who create an online account and accept the print-at-home stamps in a subscription service at a rate of $15.99 per month.
(It appears that the California counties of Santa Cruz and Santa Clara recently settled a lawsuit with Stamps.com concerning the same allegations in September 2015. See, e.g., HERE: https://www.sccgov.org/sites/da/newsroom/newsreleases/Pages/NRA2015/Stamps-com.aspx). SECOND, Stamps.com is misrepresenting its treatment of these subscription fees when consumers call requesting a refund. By coincidence, I identified the first month's subscription fee, withdrawn by EFT from my personal checking account, the same day it was first debited in May 2016.
The same day, I contacted Stamps.com to request (1) cancellation of the subscription, (2) closure of my account, and (3) a refund of the subscription fee. The net impression provided by Stamps.com's CSR orally and by Stamps.com's follow-up emails was that Stamps.com had complied with my requests and refunded the first subscription fee. However, after one week's time, it became apparent that Stamps.com had NOT actually refunded the $15.99 subscription fee. Instead, it appears that Stamps.com intended only to "waive" the NEXT month's subscription fee, but retain the $15.99 it had already charged me.
Both (1) the failure to clearly and conspicuously disclose the terms of the promotion regarding automatic enrollment in (and billing for) the subscription service at a rate of $15.99 per month and (2) the misrepresentations regarding cancellation of the service and the refunding of the original (or waiving of the subsequent) service fee are deceptive.
The Stamps.com service agreement contains a mandatory pre-dispute arbitration provision that prohibits consumers from filing or participating in a class action to resolve disputes with Stamps.com. As such, consumers cannot realistically confront the practice, and state and federal authorities should considering investigating the matter.
Product or Service Mentioned: Stamps Free Trial.
Reason of review: Not as described.
Preferred solution: State or federal authorities commence investigation to (1) change Stamps.com's practices (i.e., (1) its disclosures regarding the promo & (2) its refund practices & representations) to make whole all consumers who have been deceived and injured..