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Scam! Usenet.nl Is a Scam: Do Not Pay Them, Here's Why

Updated on June 2, 2017
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Melanie was born and raised in southern Michigan. She is now a chemistry major in the Honors College at Purdue Northwest.

Warning

Do not use usenet.nl.

Joining Usenet.nl: Getting Hooked By a Free Trial

I have heard of Usenet services in the past but wasn't sure what it was. I found a website called Usenet.nl and they had a free trial via PayPal, so I joined. Once I was a member of the site, I got to look around more and decided it really wasn't what I was looking for.

Usenet.nl Rating

1 star for Usenet.nl

Cancelling Service

Their cancellation policy looked very difficult and there was a bit of Engrish on their website. I should have noticed these things before I signed up, but PayPal is known for protecting their buyers and I was under a free trial. Since canceling via Usenet.nl seemed nearly impossible, I headed over to PayPal and canceled under the subscription area.

Easy as pie. Nothing happened after that. I didn't get charged and didn't hear from Usenet until they realized they couldn't charge my PayPal account. They "suspended" my account, which is code for "your free trial is over, if you want to use more, you have to pay." To me, that was a confirmation that it was mutually understood that the deal was off. My account was inactive, therefore they were no longer rendering service past my free trial period. Logical.

Email from Usenet.nl Saying Account Suspended

Threatening Invoices, Bills, and "Collections"

Fast forward about a month or two and I get a bill in the mail. The letter came all the way from Europe and wanted something like €100. When I first got the letter, I thought, "Yep, this is definitely a scam."

Later, I started getting emails from another company called Tesch Inkasso, a foreign collections agency, I presume. They wanted €99 for the "contract" ( and I'm using the term contract roughly since that's the word they're using, but I don't recall any contract.) In addition, they wanted:

  • Interest
  • Dunning cost (I had to look up this word, it's something like a collections agency fee.)
  • Damages in the form of a business fee
  • Damages for mailing me a letter

Everything totaled €164.46. Furthermore, they cited that if I wanted to pay via PayPal, they would "have to charge handling fees in the amount of €15.00, making the total amount €179.46." Nice try deterring users for opting for Paypal, but I dare not give them credit card details!

Plus, didn't they suspend my account since I didn't pay after the free trial?

Usenet.nl Customer Service

I contacted Usenet and they responded,

"After an extensive database search we must unfortunately report that we have been unable to find a valid cancelation for account ########.

We will however gladly perform additional searches if you can assist us by providing further information:

After you canceled your account did you receive a cancelation confirmation by e-mail?
-If you did, can you please send us a copy?

How did you deliver your cancelation notice (support form request, e-mail or post)?
- If you used our support form or contacted us via e-mail did you use a different e-mail address and/or customer account number from the one listed above?

Thank you for your assistance and continued patience as we work to resolve this matter.

Once we have proof of your timely cancelation, your contract can be terminated and the membership fee credited to your account."

Oh. Okay, so my account wasn't cancelled even though I cancelled the subscription via PayPal? And they suspended my account?

I responded to the email, but I got:

"+++ This is an autoresponder - please do not reply to this email! +++"

Followed by,

"Stopping payment is not a termination. According to the terms and conditions it is irrelevant if you have used the provided contractually agreed services, because they have provided their service without limitation. We kindly ask you to settle your debt until 6th January 2017 to avoid further reminder cost."

How were the services provided without limitation if they suspended my account due to me cancelling the free trial via Paypal?

Lessons & Closure

To close, it's clear that Usenet.nl is a scam. They demand money for service they did not provide after a free trial that I canceled. They use bully tactics to attempt to get people to pay.

I've searched the Internet and found many other people dismayed by their business practices. Unfortunately, some people fell for the scam and did pay up out of fear.

If you find yourself in a similar situation with Usenet.nl, know that these are not legal business practices and do not pay them. I'm glad I don't keep a super tidy inbox, so I still have my account suspension notice.

Currently, I am working with PayPal to get this remedied. I'm hoping that with my evidence, PayPal will stop working with Usenet.nl. If you've found yourself in a similar situation, contact PayPal or your credit card company. Provide evidence and protect yourself from predatory business practices.

And no matter what, do not fall for their bullying. Do not pay them. And, of course, share this article to spread the word.

What if You've Been Scammed?

If Usenet.nl is sending you threatening messages after non-payment, do not pay them. They operate solely by scare tactics. Don't let them bully you into paying for a service you canceled.

If you've paid by PayPal, contact them and very professionally explain what has happened. The more people who contact PayPal, the better!

© 2016 Melanie Shebel

Comments

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    • profile image

      Rachel 5 hours ago

      They have tried to get €146 from me and sent letters to my home address. PayPal refunded and they won't be getting a penny

    • profile image

      Ziana 5 days ago

      I received an invoice in the mail, and I'd never even heard of usenet.nl until I received this invoice. I don't have an account with them, I've never signed up for anything, or used any of their services. I sent them a lengthy paragraph telling them so via their contact form. I also let them know not to expect a payment from me.

    • profile image

      Jack 3 weeks ago

      Today's victim a child below the age of 18 was going to stupidly pay £10 or €19 thanks to this I can go to the cinema tomorrow

    • profile image

      Sam 5 weeks ago

      Next victim here. I got a letter yesterday asking me to pay 23 euros or be transferred to a collection agency. They couldn't charge my Paypal account since I have no bank info linked to it. I wasn't bothered, since I had received several emails from them saying my account was blocked - I thought: no payment, account blocked so... deal off. They expect me to accept to pay even though my account was blocked and I never used the service. I'm contacting the police and a lawyer to hear what they have to say about this. Usenet.nl is not seeing a dime from me.

    • profile image

      Cursel 6 weeks ago

      Hello from Washington State USA

      I too have gotten these scam debt collection letters on seemingly official looking documents. The Usenet letterhead states they are based out of Italy, the debt collection agency is based out of Germany, Usenet uses a Netherlands extension on their domain. That alone raises serious questions.

      They target worldwide. They threaten you legally and threaten to go after your credit history. This is actually extortion and the last time I checked extortion was still illegal here and most other places I assume as well.

      This scam company is very well organized and smart. They use online contracts that are very hard to get out of as their legal basis for payment due. They use international addresses to make it harder to pin them down. They send out professsional looking invoices and collection letters. They know that a percentage will pay without a fight and this is their market.

      I have written the Washington State Attorney Generals office with supporting documents and they have actually written Usenet. They are still waiting to hear back from the fake debt collection site but did get some sort of response from Usenet.

      So here is the situation. You are being extorted for money. They will use threats against you for payment. This is illegal. You need to write and talk to your local agency responsible for handling these issues. If you do nothing they will keep doing this to you and others. So dont do nothing do something that will contribute to stopping this.

    • profile image

      UmOkay 6 weeks ago

      Hi all,

      I can't believe that I'm also trapped in this kind of thing! I signed up for the free trial hoping to find a download for an old game but I can't even cancel the account. Thing is though, I linked the account to an old gift card (that holds a few cents) and not through Paypal... I have also sent them many of those 'inquiry' messages through their site and through email too. I really hope I can get a reply back saying that they cancelled my subscription...?

      Do you guys think they can still somehow charge me or report me even though my account is linked to some old gift card? Someone please help...! Thanks.

    • profile image

      diogenes 6 weeks ago

      To John Doe below. Paypal will commence an action if you rteport any company you are not happy with. You have to ask them to do this, of course. If they agree with your side, they will back charge the "scammer," and get your money back; advice you and keep the money in your Paypal account for you to use or have them transfer into your bank. At least, that is what I have done on three occasions. Good luck! Bob

    • profile image

      John doe 6 weeks ago

      I have a problem. I was also scammed, yet I never even recall signing up. So, I always thought that the emails they sent were spam and deleted everything. Since I don't have the termination email, what do I do?

    • profile image

      Dave211 3 months ago

      Thanks Melanie, for your post, Just a repeat of everyone else problem, I signed up for the 14 day free trial then abruptly cancelled out after about 3 hours trying to sort out the in's and out's of their messy program, but after cancelling out, two weeks later I find that they had taken out the initial payment from my PayPal account, so I put a block on their services via the PayPal office. They then informed me that I had signed up for two lots of their program,(don't recall that) and had only cancelled one?? why would anyone sign up for two of the same thing the same day then only cancel one?? I sent them an email stating that I was not interested or would I ever be using their services at any time, and that when something is cancelled it means cancelled, (to which they never responded) I have just received a reminder three months later of an outstanding amount of Eur110.00 but they can go jump in the lake, as I have all PayPal and the original cancellation emails from them, which I am keeping to one side, their shoddy book keeping records should show this already, so good luck with that one. I wont be paying them a dime.

    • profile image

      Nik 4 months ago

      Same thing for me, I got charge for 110$ my payment was canceled trough Paypal, am I safe then?

    • profile image

      lee 4 months ago

      im korean same situation

      I do not speak English so I have a lot of errors to solve the problem.

      I am into Google translation...

      i dont know what to do

      i removed paypal card But can not this be solved by this?

    • profile image

      remy 4 months ago

      same situation. I think we should all contact the fbi, or maybe interpol. This is an international fraud scheme

    • profile image

      Rachel 4 months ago

      I am in exactly the same situation described. I believe I was hacked and never signed up an account. I contacted PayPal then refunded the money. usenet.nl sent me a letter in the mail wanting money so I tried to call the number. It was international and wouldn't go through so I email them. Long story short, it's been 5 months and they are still hassling me. How do I get proof it is a scam? I want to know that I can't be taken to collections in the U.S. over this mess or even my wages garnished or some other strange situation.

    • profile image

      Same issue 4 months ago

      I cancelled my subscription like last year, it took over 3 months till they send a letter to my house telling me I didn't cancel my subscription, now I am not sure if I should pay just for the sake of getting them off my back but there is no reason why they cant provide a cancel button on the site for people to cancel, or just remove the charge from my account given I only tried the service for 2 days it was awful I uninstalled and cancel within like 2 days of trying...

      I don't have copies of the original Email I sent them because it was months ago to cancel it and I have over 7000 emails, but I do have the cancel on record with PayPal which clearly shows 2 days I cancel and my account was suspended too so they lose nothing I would lose nothing...

      Regardless of a Terms & Conditions there is no way to prove where I sent them information or not I am actually thinking about destroying my account and filling it up with blank information

    • profile image

      Skhan 4 months ago

      Hi Melanie

      I am getting the same emails and letters from them. What should I do?

    • profile image

      Emily 5 months ago

      Thank you for this review. My situation is very similar. Actually I don't even know if I signed up for the free trial or if UseNet.nl just got my info, but somehow I ended up with not one, but two paypal billing agreements with them. I cancelled both billing agreements within less than 3o minutes, and went on my merry way thinking that all was fine and dandy.

      But of course, no way. I didn't go through all the proper cancellation channels for UseNet.nl! Then I didn't hear from them again until this week when they sent me two nasty-grams telling me that I owe them 173 Euros for each of the two accounts. I took screen shots that showed when I cancelled the billing agreements through PayPal and sent them as proof to the collections company by email.

      Very quickly they sent me back an email that said my proof only showed that I refused to pay them, not that I cancelled my accounts with them. It went on to say that the terms and services I signed gave specific instructions about how to terminate accounts, and that since I had not followed those specific instructions, I did indeed owe them the money .

      Now I am still scratching my head wondering why on earth I ever signed up for a free trial with them, or even if I ever did. I don't remember ever hearing about them before seeing the two billing agreements on PayPal. And what am I supposed to do about their harassing letters?

      They are not a website or a company that anyone should go near AT ALL!!

    • profile image

      Handel 5 months ago

      Thank you Melanie for this excellent post. I find myself in virtually the same situation as described by your article. I recently, and foolishly, gave Usenet.nl a chance without first googling. Well, that is a lesson learned. I have not yet received the payment harassment notices that you write about, but no doubt they are coming.

      Usenet.nl appears to be a foreign-based (outside USA), scam operation.

      One serious concern is that they can do harm to a person’s good credit rating through false allegations of non-payment. Would anyone out there know about this? Have you considered filing a lawsuit in return, asking for a cease and desist regarding unwarranted payment demands?

      If enough Usenet.nl potential “scam-ees” banded together, perhaps file a joint lawsuit against these vile scammers? I note that Usenet.nl have been sued by several major media companies for copyright infringement. This ragtag outfit apparently lives in this cesspool of conflict and deception. It is their element.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 6 months ago from Mississauga, ON

      Thanks for letting your readers and followers know. I hate those scam and collection tactics based on fear factor. I am glad you didn't fall for this fraud.

      I wish you a merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a very happy new year in advance.

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 6 months ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      It can be very unnerving to have undeserved threats of increasing costs. I commend you on your perseverance and cool under fire. Personally, I never sign up for "free" trials that require payment information up front (PayPal account, credit card info, etc) no matter who is offering it. It is in the interest of even "legitimate" businesses to make cancellation difficult. Great article.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 months ago from UK and Mexico

      Well done. There is so much of this disgusting scamming going on on the Internet. You have to look ten times at each button you press to make sure you are not being dragged in further to one scheme or another. Adding automatic renewal to many services when you have not requested same is one glaring problem. I agree that Paypal, a great service, needs to become more proactive regarding these unsavoury tactics and perhaps make it easier to use their site to seek remedy.

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