Beware of the XING premium membership

When I originally signed up at openBC I thought of it as supplement to my LinkedIn profile. Naow zey call zemselves XING and behave very correctly as a proper German company should.

At some point in 2009 I thought I should give the premium membership a try. However, I didn’t really use it though. Since it was supposedly a two-year membership, it would conveniently run it. Or would it? Well, it turns out it didn’t. And I am not the only one who got burned by this interesting business model of XING (dead links removed). When a mail – or more precisely an overdue notice – arrived in May I was genuinely surprised. Billing for what? It’s a subscription? Turns out it was and it turns out that XING goes to great lengths to hide this fact from the casual (paying!) customer. Neither the German nor the English version are very obvious in this respect.

To make it perfectly clear, they are in line with German law on this one, I had it checked with a lawyer.

Right after the overdue notice arrived I sent them my cancellation notice. No reply, except an automated receipt arrived until now. On Tuesday a second overdue notice arrived in my inbox. I’m supposed to pay the due amount plus € 4.95 in fees. When I asked back what about my cancellation of the membership I was told in an indignant tone that supposedly a reply was sent the day after my cancellation notice reached them (the contents of that mail were quoted inline). But what to expect of a company that doesn’t even sign their mail? The SMTP protocol is pretty strict about non-delivery of mail so I really can’t imagine they weren’t notified – because the mail was not delivered. BTW: exactly because they don’t sign their mail (such as I do with mine) I’m afraid that they will tell me after the following two years that their confirmation of my cancellation never happened or is invalid (this did not happen in the end). A company that treats its customers like that can’t be trusted.

Anyway, too late. They insist on my continued membership and instead of just having a dissatisfied (with their service) user now have a disgruntled one. The membership of course gets extended by the same amount of time I originally paid for: two years. Of course it would have been impossible to come to a mutual agreement and decrease the time, because that would have lowered their profits.

Thanks a bunch XING! I sincerely hope your service will be rewarded accordingly. I’ll certainly do my part. After all I now have a shiny new two years of premium membership before me. And I intend to make use of them this time.

First three digits of their bank account number? 419. Classy! So fitting … :mrgreen:

// Oliver

This entry was posted in EN, Opinion, Thoughts and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

79 Responses to Beware of the XING premium membership

  1. Brandon says:

    Here is my recent experience.

    I contacted them using the contact formula before the three weeks was up. I did not hear back from them so I contacted them 12 days ahead of time using the same form. I did not hear back from them so I switched to email 7 days before and then again on the invoice date.

    I then contacted them 2 weeks after and it was only then that I received an automatic response. 2 days later I hear from a direct person who claimed none of my previous 4 attempts are in their system , therefore the charges apply. I replied 4 days later with copies of my emails and did not hear back from them. I emailed again 12 days after and got some terrible response to check my junk file for their email because I must have missed it. I responded with that it was them that were missing my email and attachments. They then found my one email (most previous one) then claimed there were no attachments. Sent the email again with attachments as PDF instead of outlook elements. Went back and forth with them on how their system failed and I proved it by the fact that they lost 3 emails from me and they still said the charges apply. I got them to admit in writing that they did not receive my emails that I sent prior to the close date but they still said the charges apply because I could not provide proof prior to the 3 week deadline. I asked, how can I provide proof if your system did not register my communication and are we supposed to take a screen shot for every communication? etc etc etc. End of the communication was that the charges apply and they will not answer me anymore regarding the issue even though I proved and they admitted in writing to not receiving 3 out of 5 communications to their email address.

    So even when their system fails to register your cancellation communication, it is still your fault because you did not take a screen shot at the beginning and or did not send a certified letter with signature. It is still your fault because they have the German contract law on their side. The do not care about customer service or return customers. They recently just became a European company rather than just a German company. I will not be using them and will share my experience. I have had linkedin for several years and never have been treated this way.

    For my European contacts I will be looking at VIADEO. Anyone have experience there?

  2. Cesar Daniel Rojas says:

    Here’s another shot against XING. They simply do not advise you that your membership is coming due for payment. I have instructed my Credit Card Company to reclaim the charge of €95,40 today.

    They are carrying out unfair business practices and I would be ready to join a large group of dissatisfied customers in a CLASS ACTION SUIT against this entity.

    I look forward to hearing from you all!

  3. Luciano says:

    Hi Cesar, I’m planning to reclaim the Xing charges as well with my CC company. How did it go for you?

  4. michelle says:

    I’m up for joining you in the suit against them!

    I paid it because I was afraid of them harassing me and sending bailiff letters (Which apparently they can do) and it affecting my credit rating. I suppose I gave in to their bullying.

    Cesar what is the next step forward?

  5. Daniel says:

    I notified my cancellation with more than 3 weeks before the due date and they ignored it. Then they did as you described. Xing is a fraud and with this behaviour seems to be run by a gang. I would join a class action demand against them if there was a German lawyer with guts to pursue it. Their misbehaviour is reproducible. In other countries, like Spain, there’s a law saying that the time required for a customer to cancel a service can not exceed the time required to acquire a membership. What about Germany? Any such law?

  6. Michelle says:

    Daniel that is shocking!
    I take it you have a copy of the email that you sent and forwarded it to them and they still pretend they haven’t received it?
    Even when you play by their shady “rules” they ignore it.
    Linkdin charged me for another month of premium and as soon as I said I didn’t want it they refunded it immediately. It’s just good customer service. The same with Amazon.
    I had issues with Xing but emailed them within 2 weeks of the renewal so was too late. They just said it was my fault despite no reminder (all other companies send one)
    I am clueless about German law but from what I gather there is very little protection for consumers here. It seems to be very much in favour of these dodgy companies. One reason why I refuse to sign a mobile phone contract here.

  7. Thorsten says:

    I completely forgot about the subscription (my bad, I should have kept track of it), but I kind of didn’t think about the auto-renewal. This practice is according to German law, so nothing legally wrong with it. Good customer service though would have been to send the invoice or at least a notification in time and not after the failed attempt to withdraw money (because they used an old credit card).

    Interesting question: both my original invoice from last year and the renewal invoice (which doesn’t say renewal or subscription by the way) are for my Swedish address since I only recently moved to Germany. In Sweden since 2015 the law requires the company to send a notification at least 1 month prior to the cancelation period ends. So, which law does apply, the German law since Xing is a German company, the Swedish law since the invoiced customer is in Sweden or the law of Luxembourg since the invoice is send from XING SE, Luxembourg.

    The invoice says XING AG, Hamburg Germany and Court Hamburg in their footer but the leather head and last line in footer say XING S.à.r.l., 9, Avenue Guillaume, L-1651 Luxembourg.

  8. Ivana says:

    Hi guys,

    I read your post and comments and the same thing happened to me: no notification for membership ending and just an invoice for a yearly renewal.
    What I want to ask is: the invoice is for the company that paid the premium where I don’t work anymore, and the profile is personal.
    If I delete the profile, can they charge me, personally?
    Cause they don’t have my info except for my email and I do not reside in EU either :)

  9. Phil says:

    They’ve been chasing me for premium membership fees for over ten years. Fortunately despite threatening legal action they couldn’t get the charges on my card because I’d changed cards and countries during the one year I had membership. I still get threats but I ignore them. Two years ago I logged in simply to delete all my data and the threats ramped up but still I ignore them… I too cancelled within their terms but it didn’t matter as they still wanted more money. My advice is cancel the credit card and ignore the idiots…

  10. Michelle says:

    Phil. 10 years ! That is completely nuts.
    Their site is so crap I imagine this is the only way they are making money. Not sure there are any actual loyal customers who genuinely want to renew.
    German law needs to be more customer friendly. I find it so bizarre that there are no laws against these shady practices. It’s similar with the phone and internet companies. Can’t understand how Germans accept it.

  11. Manish says:

    I paid the 3 months premium membership of xing, but unfortunately amount dint get deducted from my credit card due to some issue which I was not aware. Now they sent me a mail to pay the amount but I want to cancel the membership as I dint see any job opportunities even after having premium membership, So please guide me as how to come out of this situation?

  12. memoconq says:

    I’m in the same situation. I have bought a premium 1 year ago with half price. I just got an email attached a pdf invoice on Jun 14. Saying my first-year subscription finished on Jun 13. I returned them on the same day. But they refused to cancel the invoice. I requested completely removal of my account. They accepted to delete my account after a few e-mails. But they are still refusing to cancel the invoice. They are enforcing people to pay for a service that won’t be used. What is this business model called? A mafia?

  13. Hi Oliver, unfortunately I’m also experiencing difficulties with Xing, despite they are of another nature than yours. I just wrote an article about that on my blog. Might be an interesting read for you: http://www.tamrazyan.com/why-xing-sucks/

  14. Roberto I. Pérez Castro says:

    It’s Saturday and I got a bill dated next Monday. Is that legal?

  15. furious says:

    In the UK – Exactly the same experience – asked to cancel the day after recieving notification of payment overdue – the day it renewed. One day late – won’t let me cancel a service I’ve not used. Having had no notice of renewal which was formerly paid by a previous employer.
    In disbelief that this is considered acceptable for this type of service – where is European consumer protection?
    Within 10 weeks they send a message from a law firm adding another 59.5E and various fees. Appauling customer service Avoid avoid avoid

  16. Olga says:

    I was also tricked into trying Premium Membership for half-price
    and now being ripped-off for another year.
    My idea: if we are forced into this anyway, let us organize a group “Ripped-Off by XING Premium” or something similar directly on XING.

  17. Sonali says:

    I have exact same experience with Xing. They trick you out of your money. I had mistakenly tried the Premium feature back in 2009. Forgot to cancel it then got billed in 2010, without being informed of the payment due and if I wanted to, I should cancel my premium membership. So I paid again in 2010, BUT requested cancellation and membership to Premium was duly cancelled. No problem until 2015, and suddenly I started receiving emails to reactivate Premium. I put a filter in my mailbox to send them directly to Junk folder. But then, each time there was a new contact request, I had to carefully see if this requires reactivation of Premium feature!!
    I was mostly very careful, but probably by mistake back in 2016 accepted a contact request (Smartphones, arghhhh!!!) that needed Premium feature. Got charged for it and I promptly requested cancellation and completed it. Did NOT get a refund, but at least I was happy to know that this won’t happen next year.
    Again in 2017, got the RECEIPT, apparently they used the saved Paypal details to charge my credit card. I again requested cancellation and asked for a refund. DID NOT get it and Bank said they couldn’t stop the payment as it was a “recurring payment authorization”! How EVER did a cancelled membership feature have a “recurring payment authorization”, is beyond me.
    Anyway, again the same thing happened in 2018. Got charged to my Paypal account, and got a “receipt” for the payment. There was no information that they will charge me, my account/profile *did not* have a golden “Premium” button against it, so no visual clue!!! Again no refund. Once again cancellation request + completed the cancellation.
    Fast forward 2019 – today, got an email with “invoice” and payment instructions to transfer money to their bank account. And I am pretty sure this is because the credit card they had on their records for my PayPal account is no longer valid. Expired early this year :). Hence the invoice instead of the customary receipt for payment. I am livid! What a shameless organization. What are the consequences for me? Do I have to pay? Can I just ignore? I have AGAIN requested cancellation of premium features and have duly cancelled it to the May of next year. But i want it cancelled right away. I already asked for it to be cancelled last year.
    What are my options? Can I go to the police? This is business malpractice really!

  18. Paul F. says:

    I have just read about everyone struggles with XING.
    It sounds like what was once called a “sharp operation”. I have cancelled my XING Premium but they are trying to bill me for an entire year! It is a real case of customer lock-in.
    They commit thier clients to pay the whole year in spite of removing the Premium subscription and most client will think, “ho well, I’ve paid so I might as well use it”. Only the year elapses and they are committed for another year. and on, and on it goes …..

  19. Paul says:

    Many people are just not paying.
    How can we discover how many people are having these issues with XING?
    If there are enough we might be able to attract EU actions.

  20. Paul says:

    Xing is the tapeworm of social media. One it gets its scolex (“Premium Subscription”) attached it is hard to irradicate.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cestoda

    Change your credit card, close and open a new bank account.
    Get involved in mass action.

  21. DK says:

    I’ll tell you a story, I live in Germany and use it for a business purpose. If you are new to xing or canceled member you’ll get fast an offer for 24 eurs per year. I missed to cancel this year and they charged me 95!!!!!! EUR what a rip off! I use LinkedIn more but because of the German mentality most of my clients use preferably xing :/

  22. Martjie says:

    HI, I just experienced the same problem. I am used to companies sending you an automatic reminder, so after questioning them as to why they billed me withour a reminder, I got a very rude email back asking me to show them where in their Terms and conditions it says that they have to remind me. I have never experienced such rude emails from customer care. I further sent them several emails asking why I am not able to log into my account. I clearly told them it is not accepting my password, and when I try to reset my password, I am not receiving the email with the verification code in order to reset my password. I then got an email back saying “It is not our fault you have forgotten your password (which was not the case.). They also claimed that they have sent two emails with login help, which I did not receive. It feels like you are dealing with sociopaths when speaking to their customer service. I suppose you can expect that from a company trying to make money from people by tricking them into renewing a service they did not necessarily want. How this is even legal in Germany goes beyond me.

  23. Oliver says:

    @Martjie: when I originally wrote the blog entry, I also was of the opinion that Germany has strong customer protection. I no longer have that illusion. Xing may be one particularly bad and – internationally – annoying case (and it really sucks to see them being successful with this shitty treatment of their customers), but there are many others. In fact I am dealing with one such case right now … and may end up blogging about that also in turn.

    A shame that Xing is still around after so many years and that so few people see them for what they are. The only way, I guess, is to spread the word. Because as it stands, Xing still has a lot of prospective customers which are going to fall for the same technique and end up commenting here (or elsewhere).

  24. Alena Bela says:

    I just got in the same situation with the membership. I didn’t use it for a long time and then I just received the invoice and they keep ignoring my requests. Any advice on how to proceed without loosing 100 EUR? This is really horrible approach and I’m willing to join the class action suit.

  25. Alena says:

    Hey guys, I will gather people with the same experience to make an action and stop this. Join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/457661964955606/.

  26. olli says:

    I spoke with lawyer and she advised me to find agreement with Xing. So I called them and explained them that I don’t need membership any more (have 2 pro jobs and premium) and they offered me as a goodwill 3 months of one membership and second for whole year. Then I called them again, there was another guy and he offered me also second membership to be shortened to 3 months. So I will pay something around 120 eur for 3 months and then will terminate the contract with them. I read already that I have to do that separately for each membership.
    Good school of life, I learned a lot. Cost me 120 eur for nothing but better than 300 eur.

  27. Sasha says:

    Just joined the Alena group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/457661964955606/.. Is there any class action legal tool in Europe?

  28. Qendrese says:

    Hi guys,

    I am facing the same issue. I have paid for three months subscription. Now they renewed it, sent me the invoice but canceled the premium features.

    I contacted them, but they just recall that I should have canceled three weeks in advance.

    What do you guys suggest, how should I proceed?

  29. Alena says:

    Thank you guys for sharing. We have a group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/457661964955606/ where we can keep each other in loop for new findings. I also posted the action steps there. No result out of them but let’s keep doing it, because if it helps even couple of people, it’s good. I hope Germany will soon act against these practices.

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