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 …