Tag Archives: complaints

Today, I Submitted a Complaint with the NY AG’s Office. Here’s Why.

20 Feb

Today, I write to you out of rage. I don’t know if you all are aware of how much scams piss me off, but they REALLY piss me off. I am not one of those people who is like,

Oh, how cute, a scam. Let’s learn more about it give the scammers more notoriety and fame, ie Caroline Calloway.

Because where ever there is a scam, there is someone(s) who is the victim of it. Someone who has been knowingly taken advantage of. So, here is a story about a decidedly un-cute scam. In fact, to all my race running and riding friends: you might have gotten caught up in it.

A few weeks ago, I signed up to run a race with a few of my friends. It is one of my friends first race ever and I was, and still am, beyond excited to get to cross the finish line alongside her! The signup for the race, which takes place here in NYC this spring, was managed through a company based in Dallas called Active Network LLC. The outsourcing of registration for races is pretty common for smaller organizations so I didn’t think twice when I went through the process. What I did do was make sure to uncheck all the boxes so I don’t get any emails, unwanted magazine subscriptions or added payments for services I don’t want or need. Just sign me up for the race and let me do the rest. And yet today when I checked my debit card I noticed a charge for $89.95 that was labeled ACT ACTIVE NETWORK. I was completely confused. The only charge I made yesterday was $10 to the Warren campaign as a congratulations for her warranted MURDER of Mike Bloomberg on the debate stage but that was done on my American Express card. So, I did what I always do and I researched.

Well wouldn’t you know it, I somehow inadvertently signed up for a trial membership, the free period of which had ended yesterday. Friends, I never sign up for trial memberships because I always forget to cancel them and then I end up spending money on shit I don’t want and don’t need.* The first thing I did was dispute the transaction. I work hard for my money and it is the winter time and the bar has been very slow. There is no way I am giving away a chunk of my money to some membership thing that I did not sign up for and don’t even understand. After doing some more digging, I found out that I am by no means the first person to deal with this. Here is a complaint that dates back to 2014! Even with this piece of information, I thought I would do the right thing and give them a call. I called the number listed on their website, it said it was out of service. So I found a second number and called that one. What I found out is that if you wait long enough they actually present you with an option related to the credit card charge that apparently takes a lot of people by surprise. (When you Google the company, the charge is one of the top search results.) After a few more minutes on hold I was put through to a person. She said hello, introduced herself and asked how she could help. So I said,

Hello. I am calling about a fraudulent charge…

It was at this point that I heard a beep and Sufjan Stevens started playing. Weird. I looked at my phone and wouldn’t you believe it — she hung up on me and my phone automatically started playing a song I didn’t even know I had! Now I was really mad. I took the reasonable next step: Better Business Bureau, bitches! What I found was that this company has A LOT of negative complaints. Here is one of my favorites:

I’m a lawyer who has litigated deceptive “free trial” offer cases and I have no idea how i got enrolled in this Active Advantage scam. I do find that there was a class action settled in California regarding this practice, as well as an Iowa Attorney General action. this practice seems ripe for some more class actions or FTC referral.

I added my complaint to the pile. I still had some rage left over so I took the reasonable next step, and some good advice, and reached out to Leticia James, the New York Attorney General!** I explained my complaint AND I submitted supporting documents because everyone loves supporting documents plus it made me feel really official. Basically like a detective. I might actually go online and order myself a cool badge and wear it around for the next few days.

So I guess I will have to wait and see what Leticia James has to say about this. Hopefully her office will respond.

I know this probably sounds like a waste of time to some of you. I was on hold with my bank and with Active Network LLC for close to an hour; I spent a fair amount of time looking for other reports to be sure I wasn’t just an idiot who missed something; I filed complaints with two different government offices, including supporting evidence. But here’s the thing. This is crap. People shouldn’t have their money taken from them via questionable means. People budget. A random $90 withdrawal from an account can be devastating. And I am lucky enough to have time, research skills and an abundance of rage – especially right now. I can take the time to call my bank, submit these complaints, and do follow-up if needed. I can sit here and write this blog. A lot of people don’t have that time and, in my opinion, that is what companies prey on. They work it into their metric that a lot of people don’t regularly check their bank statements and might miss these withdrawals year after year (I saw reports of this). They rely on the fact that a lot of people will realize what happened, cancel their membership, (maybe) get a refund and never take additional steps. And then there are a few people like me who really don’t like to feel taken advantage of by a company acting in a shadowy manner. And more than that, I really don’t like that, based off my research, they have been doing this for years. And that there is a chance they are taking money from old people. I really don’t like when people take money from old people.

Next stop: Federal Trade Commission.

Anyway, I will keep you posted. And don’t worry, my hate fire is still burning.

*Side note, I think this practice that companies have of rolling trial memberships over into paid memberships without a reminder is sneaky and should be outlawed. We all forget to cancel that shit. I think I paid for a membership to the Wall Street Journal (PUKE)  for a year because I wanted to read one article about Simone Biles that was hidden behind a paywall and then totally forgot to cancel immediately. Technically my fault but I feel like a reminder would just be the right thing to do.

**Actually I just went to the website but whatever.

Dear Restaurant Manager, Your Restaurant Sucks

13 May

I don’t like Yelp because I feel like people go on there and write bullshit about bullshit, like the time when I got a bad Yelp review for using the house vodka in our $5 Sunday Bloody Mary specials.  (I will give you a moment to digest that little nugget.)  But sometimes an experience is so bad that I feel the need to go back to the roots of this blog and write a letter to the manager about it.  So, that is what I have done.  Enjoy.  I’d be happy to tell you the name of the restaurant if you also want to have an awesome (read: horrific) dining experience.

To Whom It May Concern

This past Friday night, May 10, my boyfriend and I visited your restaurant for a glass of wine and some appetizers.  I had just finished writing my last paper for my graduate degree and was really in the mood to celebrate.  We decided, after a long amble north on Fifth Avenue, to try your spot out as we had discussed going in for a while but had never gotten the chance.  We were really impressed by the interior and I was excited that you had not one but three Gruners by the glass.  Perfect!  So we ordered a glass each, figuring if we enjoyed our snacks (which we did, very much — that tomato bruschetta situation was really fantastic) we would stick around for awhile.

Unfortunately, the tastiness of the food and wine was not enough to make up for the truly abysmal service we received.  Perhaps I made a gaffe by ordering the Gruner by the price, but I do not speak German so I figured it best not to try to pronounce the name.  Perhaps it was that my boyfriend informed the bartender that we were going to just have some appetizers and move on for dinner — I am a vegetarian and lactose intolerant so my food options are quite limited.  Or perhaps it’s just that the bartender is an asshole.  I have been in the service industry for 10 years — I am a bartender in the neighborhood — and understand that the job can be grating at times.  I understand when your customers are rude being cold is the only thing you can do to keep yourself from telling them what you really think about them.  The thing is that I am over-the-top friendly to industry people so when I am treated poorly it is really shocking to me.

The gentleman behind the bar did not seem as though he wanted to have a conversation with us or anyone else sitting at his bar, and would rather converse with his co-workers, that’s fine.  I certainly cannot fault him that.  But if you ask me how my food was without making eye contact and then walk away while I am in the middle of praising it, that is a problem, albeit one I could forgive.  What I could not forgive was when he snatched my and my boyfriend’s glasses, mine unfinished, and snapped “can I get you anything else?” without even stopping for a response which was, after our experience, a resounding no.  I felt as though I was being kicked out of the restaurant and I could not for the life of me figure out why.

So, we left him a bad tip that, even given the rude treatment, I still felt bad about.  Get what you give, I suppose.  We will not be returning to your Park Slope location, or any of the other ones, but hope you can iron out whatever staffing problems you have so you don’t lose any more customers.  Also, and normally I would not say this except the bartender was really awful, I don’t like to look at my bartender’s underwear or unwashed t-shirt while I am eating.  Tell him to buy a laundry card and a belt.



PS  The woman with whom I spoke to get your email address was incredibly friendly.