Why Usenet.nl Is a Scam
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.
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.
Another User's "Free" Trial Experience
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:
- 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! +++"
"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.
© 2016 Melanie Shebel