So, my wife’s birthday was yesterday. I had all the gifts wrapped, but then realized that I hadn’t remembered to get any cards to go with them.
So I went online looking for create-and-print cards that I could have done in time, and settled on AmericanGreetings.com’s “Create & Print” section. It requires a $20/year subscription, but offers a 30-day Free Trial period. So great, I’ll sign up for it, and be sure to cancel within 30 days.
After browsing around for a few minutes, I found a card I liked, and clicked to start the process of customizing and printing it. I then got a message about installing a plugin to continue. Fine. Except that the download link is a 404 (that’s for Firefox; I suspect MSIE would have worked fine).
Well, screw that. I’m not going to mess around any more with it, I just wanted it for my wife’s birthday, and dealing with tech support would be too little, too late. So I wanted to cancel the account.
The problem is, there was no obvious way to do this. I looked under “My Account” (or “My AG”), the first most-obvious place, and there was nothing there for cancellation. I had to spend around 20 minutes in the help section before I finally found it: “Currently online cancellation is not available. In order to verify ownership, we require that all cancellations be completed over the phone.”
This, of course, royally pissed me off. This is a really lousy way to do business, and I’m fairly certain that it’s illegal as well: it should be as easy to unsubscribe as it is to subscribe. I tried calling, but of course, being Sunday, I was given a “we’re closed, our business hours are…” message.
So I come around today to cancel the subscription. But their site is acting up, and four out of five page loads fail, so I’m hitting reload three to five times after every click, in order to find the page that gives the phone number. Fortunately, I was only on hold for about 5 minutes. I got “Why do you want to unsubscribe? We notice that you just subscribed yesterday…”, but after reiterating that it was what I wanted, I got the cancellation.
This is a really shitty way to treat your customers, though, and I’ll be damned if I consciously buy something that feeds money to them in the future. Of course, I won’t yell at friends or family for giving me an American Greetings card, though I do hope they read this and join me in my boycott; this kind of business practice is really unpardonable.
I’ll note here that Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears are among the properties of American Greetings. Subsidiaries include Gibson Greetings and Carlton Cards.