WARNING: Classmates.com automatic renewal system

Has Classmates.com suckered you into a Gold Membership so you can contact an old friend or organize a reunion? Did you go for that 3 month membership for $12? If so, you need to know that you may have unknowingly agreed to an automatic renewal plan that will deduct $15 from your account or charge it to your credit card every three months. They will not notify you of this charge. That adds up to $60 a year, about double what it would normally cost if you renewed annually. This is apparently noted on their website, according to their customer service people, however I didn’t see it when I signed up, and I doubt that it’s highly visible. It’s entirely possible that I was suffering from brain death the day I registered, but I think it’s more likely that Classmates took efforts to hide the fact that I was agreeing to an automatic renewal plan. They’re sneaky that way. Maybe someone who’s not a Gold Member could verify that for me.

I’m not a big fan of Classmates anyway.  Money-hungry and non-user-friendly are adjectives that pop into my head straight off. I think Facebook is a much better tool for getting in touch with former classmates. It’s well-known, easy to use, and FREE.

If you’re a Gold Card member of Classmates, you might want to run off now and change your renewal to “manual”. If you’re not a Gold Card Member, you’re probably smarter than me.

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18 Responses to WARNING: Classmates.com automatic renewal system

  1. Katy Skinner says:

    Classmates.com always gets on my nerves. Always sending me emails even tho I keep opting out of them…


  2. I poked around Classmates.com once for free years ago, didn’t like what I saw, haven’t been back since.
    Probably nobody from my high school on there anyway…I went to a very small school, and at the 25 year reunion, only 5 people showed up. (Our class wasn’t exactly known for its school spirit.) 🙂


  3. lisanowak says:

    And I thought I was having trouble drumming up interest for a reunion! We only had about 64 in our class, so Corbett’s pretty small, too.


  4. Paul says:

    You post describes my situation as well, and I’m sure there are thousands of others. Perhaps we can come up with a strategy to “un-do” the predatory billing practices used by classmates.com. I’ve begun emailing classmates “Customer Care” on a daily basis to request a refund of the unauthorized $39 charge to my account.

    If anyone reading this wants to coordinate their efforts, please contact me at pbaker@midlanticdigital.com. And thank you Lisa for your efforts to advise unsuspecting members of classmates.com


  5. Tracy says:

    Classmates.com just did this to me! [you’ll be happy to know that this link came up in the top few when I searched “classmates.com, scam]. I never received notice of a pending charge or even a receipt. Just found it by searching my statement for fraudulent charges. When I told them I did not want the plan renewed [I contacted them the day I found it – 9 days following the renewal charge] and they gave me some canned response. Basically saying renewal default is automatic for new members. I signed on for $20 last year, then get a charge for $39 the other day. Not even a notice that the renewal was going to cost double. I hadn’t been on the site since I first signed up [for a reunion thing], over 6 months ago.

    These were some snippets of the points/questions I included in my 2nd e-mail to customer service. I should note that in CS’s 2nd reply, they did not deny any of the below statements or questions:

    • Am I correct in my understanding that Classmate’s default upon payment of initial membership is to set accounts for “automatic renewal”?
    • You are also telling me that Classmates.com’s communication method is to not inform the member that renewal is approaching and a charge is pending. • And am I clear that it is your practice to not provide, via e-mail or any other method, receipts or notification that an automatic renewal took place? • I should also mention that the charge was double the cost of my initial membership payment and I was not notified of the renewal pricing increase. • It is inconsistent that I received a receipt when I signed up in July of 2008, but not when you made a charge to my credit card a second time.
    • Is this how Classmates runs the company and how you treat your “Gold Members”? If so, Classmates.com is turning into a scam.

    They tried to say their e-mails “could have” went into spam. Um, no, trust me, I get about 5 a day from them!

    I just told them in my 3rd e-mail today that I’ll be sharing this with my hundreds of friends and family via social networking as well as spreading the word offline. 😉


  6. heywally says:

    Same experience – didn’t see any kind of auto-renew during my $15 sign-up but just discovered a ‘pending’ charge on my credit card yet they refuse to negate that or issue me a credit so … I just filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s office in Wash state – classmates is located in Seattle. (hint – don’t ever bother with the Better Business Bureau) We will see what happens but I will doggedly pursue it.

    My goal is to force them to change the way they are doing this auto-renew, costing them thousands of dollars, rather than the $15 they could have simply and fairly refunded to me.


  7. Dr. Gerald DuBrino, PhD says:

    New scam coming thru Classmates.com
    MVQprivacymatters is now using the database and website to scampeople ot of $19.99 for something that nobody has signed up for
    MVQ PRIVACY Matters Complaints – Unauthorized Charge
    Review all MVQ PRIVACY Matters complaints
    MVQ PRIVACY Matters
    Posted: 2010-01-03 by Mikell

    Unauthorized Charge

    Complaint Rating:
    Company information:
    MVQ PrivacyMatters
    United States

    I signed up for ClassMates for a $9.95 membership and recieved a charge of $19.95 on my VISA from MVQ Privacy Matters which I understand is affiliated with Classmates for some reason, I did not sign up for anything with MVQ Privacy …just a heads up to anyone else …you can google the company name …This is a fraudulent and unauthorized charge


  8. heywally says:

    I urge anyone with complaints about classmates.com to file a with the Attorney General’s office in Wash State it is easy to do online – http://www.atg.wa.gov/FileAComplaint.aspx#Online

    I currently have a complaint open about the auto-renew issue and have just updated that with my new problem with them – they refuse to unsubscribe me from their email list. That is called illegal spam. Don’t know how helpful the AG office will be though – they responded about my refund but I am trying to get them involved in forcing changes to classmate’s business practices. We need more complaints with them!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Mikki says:

    Thanks for posting this. I did a little research because this just happen to me and your site come up. I NEVER choose AUTOMATIC withdraw for my account, EVER!! Not even for my car payment (which I should). Anyway, my story was I did a 3 month trial from Feb 22nd to May, 2008. I just wanted to take a little peak, nothing more. I was charged $39 without my approval on May 2009 but missed it on my statement. I was charged again on May 2010 but saw this one. I called to ask if I could get a credit because I didn’t authorize this. Not a chance. She said, she could changed my account to manual instead of automatic. I said, “I can do that”. How can you get charged for a full year when you NEVER agreed to one. I actually DELETED my credit card information. I do not respect companies who practice this kind of business. They will NEVER get my business ever again.


  10. Sarah Strain says:

    Just called and spoke to the company customer service representative about the $40 unauthorized charge for Classmates.com. He said he couldn’t refund me but he would take me off of auto-renewal for next year. I said that I was aware of the class action suit against the company for fraudulent charges and I asked to speak to the supervisor. She was conveniently not available; however I was given my refund with a confirmation number. I will be checking my account to verify that I am credited. Hope this information helps anyone else who was unwillingly charged. FYI I used the following phone number 425-917-5000 press 1 for customer service.


  11. Lewis Thompson says:

    Classmates.com just auto billed my credit card for $39 renewal even though I had my account set to renew manually. Working with my credit card company to get that reversed. This is the way they choose to operate, hoping that you don’t notice it on your statement. Statements are usually 30 days or so after the transaction and they may claim that you have used the service during that time and that their policy is not to refund. It is a big hassle to get your money back. I review my credit card account online daily and I was able to dispute the charge immediately. Classmates has promised a refund within 30 days. We shall see if they keep that promise.


  12. earl seago says:

    I can’t find their mailing address to renew. Anyone have it? its not on the bottom of their page any more


  13. another disatisfied customer says:

    File a complaint with the BBB against Classmates and they will refund your $ to close the complaint and keep their bogus A+ rating


  14. Nola Smitley says:

    I got on classmates a couple yrs ago for the free trial ONLY. but ina about a year they auto deductected from my acct & I did NOT chose to do this I just got on to take a FREE look but diecided I didn’t like it. So I didn’t use it any further but to my surprise there it was ,taken from my acct over 5o buck that I could not afford due to living on a fixed income. I am trying to cancel this before I get charged again this summer. They did resopnd to my email with instructions how to cancel but so far I have been unsuccessful trying to access their site to cancel,I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone.


  15. Mary Strawser says:

    I’m trying to file a complaint with the BBB about these crooks taking 39.00 out of my account. Does anyone know what state classmates is in?


    • Lisa Nowak says:

      Sorry, I don’t know. Good luck.


    • Scott McNulty says:

      I just filled an BBB complaint and intend to follow up with Attorney general of at least wash state and maybe others as well due to their auto renew deception

      1501 4th Ave Ste 400
      Zip/Postal Code:
      Business Phone Number:
      (206) 301-5700


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