Feeds

Help! I can't cancel my sex site subs

iBill blames 'extraordinary growth'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Subscribers to thousands of web sites may face excess credit card charges due to technical difficulties at iBill, the online sex industry's favourite billing company.

Problems last week took iBill's client database offline for two days, leaving site owners without access to customer records and account administration.

The meltdown was blamed on "extraordinary growth" and the resultant heavy load on iBill's systems. In an e-mail sent to webmasters the company said it was bringing forward a $320,000 investment in hardware and software upgrades.

Although the client database was restored on Saturday morning, one feature has remained unavailable: Subscriptions cannot be cancelled.

Customers trying to cancel a subscription through iBill's customer service site receive the unhelpful message "Error reading rebill information!". Site owners who handle their own customer service are also unable to issue cancel commands.

This is in apparent contrast to iBill's motto of "Where Consumers Come First", as the financial interests of site owners have clearly been prioritised. A notice posted on iBill's Commerce Management Interface page states:

"CMI has been back up and running since 7:30pm Friday, October 12th. The 'Cancel Rebill Subscribers' feature, however, has been temporarily disabled. Please rest assured that transactions are still being processed through our system."

So while new sign-ups are being accepted, a small number of customers may find unwanted charges on their credit cards. If a subscription is due for renewal during the current downtime, and the customer is unable to cancel their account, iBill will automatically charge them again.

The greatest risk is to people who have taken out trial memberships. These generally cost between $3 and $10 for three, five or seven days, after which time the trial becomes a full membership costing anything from $15 to $35 per month. Someone who signed up for a trial period last week could find that they are unable to cancel before it automatically upgrades to a full subscription costing ten times as much.

iBill's decision to suspend subs cancellations will have particular impact on the customers of adult web sites (where it is a favoured payment mechanism), as the services are fairly expensive, and the price difference between trial and full memberships is generally quite large.

An iBill client services rep said today that cancellations should be available again by Tuesday. She also gave assurances that refunds issued for unwanted charges would not show up as a "black mark" against a customer's credit card, which under normal circumstances could lead to the card being declined in future.

According to the rep, however, subscribers are still able to manually cancel accounts through iBill's customer service site. But tests yesterday and today showed that this is not the case. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Premier League wants to PURGE ALL FOOTIE GIFs from social media
Not paying Murdoch? You're gonna get a right LEGALLING - thanks to automated software
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
XBOX One will learn to play media from USB and DLNA sources
Hang on? Aren't those file formats you hardly ever see outside torrents?
Class war! Wikipedia's workers revolt again
Bourgeois paper-shufflers have 'suspended democracy', sniff unpaid proles
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.