March 13, 2013 at 9:26 pm #39051
Hi. I recently looked at some youtube videos from Japanesepod101 and thought it was pretty good, so I went to their website, and there was a $1 deal where if you paid a dollar (and create an account) you can try out some of the features and even more videos are available to you. So great, I paid the dollar (through CC) and looked at some more videos. The next day I tried to log in again and it denied me? I didn’t know why but I emailed Japanesepod101 and it’s been one month still no reply from them. Gets worse : Today (March 14, 2013) I checked my credit card account and noticed that Innovative Language, the people behind Japanesepod101, is charching me $24.99US on that same CC. I didn’t authorize this. I don’t remember seeing anything that said that Japanesepod101 will continue to charge my account month after month. Maybe it was there, maybe it’s a part of the agreement that you had to agree to to create an account, something that majority of the people will not read because it’s lengthy and in some lawyer jargon that you won’t really understand anyway. In any case, it’s a shady and less than honest way to do business, IMHO. So I called my CC company, they’ve cancelled the CC and will try to dispute the charges on my behalf. So now you know, be careful when dealing with Japanesepod101 and read all the fine prints.March 14, 2013 at 7:51 am #39054
I definitely agree that one should read the fine print to know what it is that you are signing. That is a legal document, after all. :)
On the other hand, I’ve been using Japanesepod101.com for three years and really like what they offer. It’s not a bad company, just be aware of what offers you’re signing up for. Their marketing is rather annoying but the actual product is great.March 14, 2013 at 11:52 am #39059
Aye, the “give us your credit card number for the free trial, and we’ll automatically start charging it afterwards if you don’t specifically tell us otherwise” is pretty standard practice for website subscriptions. It’s… less than ethical (and studies have shown that it scares more people away than it attracts) but it’s not actually illegal. Unless, I guess, they’re ignoring your attempts to specifically tell them otherwise.March 14, 2013 at 5:24 pm #39073
I agree with both you (Winterpromise and Joel), that Japanesepod101 does have some good stuff for offer, and that in a legal sense the parent company Innovative Language isn’t at fault. It can even be argued in court that it is my fault for not reading the fine print… However, if this was a person, would you be friends with them? Someone who ignores you when you try to make contact, and then not being upfront about things? Just saying… It’s a real shame too, because I actually did think they have some good and helpful videos, and given time and some free or low cost trial I might have signed up for it (for example, Textfugu). Now because they’ve done this I’m not likely to sign up with them and will not recommend them. I think this kind of “trickery” marketing hurts them more than help. I mean, they have a relatively good product, why do this?March 16, 2013 at 3:16 pm #39114
It is upfront and very easy to see when you sign up on their website (non trial). There is a paragraph right under, and I do mean directly under, the area where you input your credit card details. It’s not hidden nor written in any fancy terms.
For your convenience your subscription will automatically renew at the end of your term.
You can easily cancel your membership any time, online, 24 hours a day.
It is also in the webpage you’re sent to after confirming your email address (the “You’ll Only See This page ONCE!” page). If you read the page there is a line in bold that says;
All this for nothing? All for FREE? Ok, so what’s the catch? Well, there are 2..
After the first month, if you love it, do nothing else but continue improving you Japanese learning with the course and Membership, and you will continue to have access for only $25.00 / month. If it’s not for you, for any reason, just cancel at any time.
The $1 was a ‘bandwidth fee’ for the Ultimate getting started package. When you place your $1 Ultimate getting started package order (which included your first month of premium membership for free, 1 Free product download from the ILL store, and 7 day fluency fast course) you are sent to a page to fill in your details. That page also has a picture of a box labeled “Getting Started Japanese”. No where on that page does it state you will be billed monthly after your first month as part of your subscription, that’s on the previous page. Perhaps another note on this page could have avoided this confusion. Maybe you should suggest this on their forum.
JPod101 also has an active support forum. You emailed them once and then claim foul? Let me flip it the other way, would you be friends with someone that agreed to something then suggested you were doing something shady when you were just doing what you agreed to in an upfront and clear language? You said you emailed once and then waited for a month for a reply but did you email the support email address? Did you check your spam folder in case the reply landed in there? Did you try to use the support forums? You can’t fix something if you don’t know it is broken.
I’m not trying to lay blame, only show another side of this story. Many people scam JPod101 by paying the buck and then doing a site rip, or url hacking the store. Thankfully it gets outdated as new material comes out and you lose the extra features within the site.
On a side note, you should have gotten an email for the ultimate getting started package link as well. Check your spam folder just in case. Might as well get everything they agreed to for that dollar. There’s also a JPod101 50% off Premium membership offer for TextFugu members until September.March 27, 2013 at 4:31 pm #39268
you obviously sound like you’re affiliated with jpod101…..March 27, 2013 at 4:58 pm #39269
The whole point of a free trial is so that folks can try it out, then decide for themselves whether or not they want to continue. By “Automatically Renew” Japanesepod101 in a round about way takes that choice away from you. Why isn’t it “try it for free (or a $1 in this case), and then if you want to continue then you give Jpod101 permission to do so”? I’ll tell you why, this is a trick they do in marketing, companies do this to rely on folks to forget about it after they try it out (or in my case, fail to read the fine print), and when they notice this charge a month later (more for some very busy folks), they’ve already been charged, and most average folks can’t be bothered to go through all the efforts to get their $25 back, so they just cancel it and be done. Multiply that by xx# and it can possibly add up to a good chuck of change. (This is a proven tactic I studied marketing in college). Though it’s “legal” it is hardly the best and most honest way to conduct business.
Again, let’s take Textfugu as an example. Completely, honest to goodness “free” trial, then, it’s up to the user to decide if they want to continue, only at that point payment is exchanged. Simple, clean, totally honest.
Again, beware of what you’re getting into. Easy simple and honest way to try out a site (Textfugu),
OR, more complicated, take your information and CC info so you can try it, then charge you “automatically” afterward (Japanesepod101).
Who would you rather try out? As an everyday average Joe, I think you know the answer.March 27, 2013 at 5:18 pm #39270
you obviously sound like you’re affiliated with jpod101…..
Actually, I thought his post sounded extremely reasonable…
Like I said, though, asking credit card information for the free trial is extremely common business practice on the internet. If nothing else, it helps to prevent people gaming the system.March 29, 2013 at 2:21 pm #39306
“This is a proven tactic I studied marketing in college”
And yet you still didn’t bother to check the “not-really-that-fine” print? LOOOL
“By “Automatically Renew” Japanesepod101 in a round about way takes that choice away from you.”
No, it doesn’t. They warn you that’s how it works, and if you take the free trial, you’re accepting that. I’m sure it would be illegal otherwise. If you’re really *that* busy a person that you might forget to cancel, then you shouldn’t take the risk. It would be nice if their free trial wasn’t an “automatic renew” situation, but it would also be *nice* for them to give you full access for free, no?March 29, 2013 at 3:45 pm #39309
I haven’t been to JPod101 for awhile, is it all it’s cracked to be anyway?March 30, 2013 at 8:14 am #39321
The podcasts are fantastic.
Things seem to have changed since I took a free trial; it was a simple one week free trial, and that was that.
I do remember the the “YOU WILL ONLY SEE THIS ONCE” page, and then went searching google to make sure it wasn’t a phishing site, because it really does look dodgey. Shame that they aren’t more professional in the business department, it underminds the confidence of their own potential customers…March 30, 2013 at 10:28 am #39324
When I signed up for a free trial, I remember searching on Google and seeing auto-complete results such as “Jpod101 scam” and the like haha. I was pretty worried, but it turned out to actually be pretty good. Don’t think it’s worth the full subscription price though, so I cancelled. Really wish I’d saved more of the episodes while I had the chance :P Still get many many emails from them, years later.March 30, 2013 at 2:14 pm #39328
Yeah, they are pretty keen on the emails, like everyday for the rest of your life.March 30, 2013 at 5:57 pm #39330
You know, you can always unsubscribe from those emails. That’s what I did after I got tired of hearing from them every day, and it’s been quite ever since then.March 30, 2013 at 10:46 pm #39335
Just thinking about doing that has worn me out.
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