My experience with InterNations was similar to others’ reports, here and elsewhere online. My credit card was — with no warning at all — charged for a membership I did not agree to. In 2013, I joined InterNations, thinking it was a fine way to meet others in the international community. Their initial mailings seemed friendly and I decided to try their “Albatross” membership for one year. However, early in 2014, shortly after paying the annual fee, I started receiving repeated emails about recruiting new members, and their local get-togethers seemed to emphasize bringing new people. Also, their meetings were at inconvenient times and in odd, out-of-the-way locations. In general, InterNations’ correspondence reminded me of multi-level marketing schemes. That’s not what I’d expected when I joined. Then, my family moved to another state. I decided to downgrade my membership to the free level, which supposedly assured me that I would not be billed again. That seemed better than deleting my account, in case the InterNations group in our new location seemed more interesting. I didn’t get involved with InterNations in our new community. At the end of my membership year in 2014, I was not billed for a second year. At that point, everything seemed fine. Then, at the start of 2015, far more than a year after I’d first signed up, InterNations automatically charged me for a new year. I was astonished when I saw the deduction on my bank statement. It was nearly $70 (US). I contacted them by email (they have no phone number listed). At that point, I assumed that — at some point late in 2014 — they’d had a database crash and had restored from old records in which I was still a paying member. That seemed a reasonable explanation, because — when I visited their website — I saw my old mailing address on the account, as well as my membership incorrectly noted as “Albatross” level. (I downgraded my account again, as soon as I saw that error.) And, at that point, I was still cheerful about this. Computer crashes happen. Sometimes, backups aren’t current. When a database error is pointed out, the mistake is fixed and any fallout from it is handled in a cordial, professional manner. That’s routine for most companies and organizations that do business online. To my surprise, I received a form letter that said: In regards to the charge which has occurred on your credit card, If you kindly take a look at the bottom of your invoices as well as the Membership tab of your My Account section, you will notice the statement “For your convenience, your membership will be renewed automatically”. This is printed in a normal size font and visible for you to read and is also stated clearly in our Terms and Conditions. I have no “invoices” (plural), just one from 2013 when I first joined. They refused to correct their mistake. The footer of their email included two paragraphs that seemed very odd and repetitive. We have taken steps to ensure that this email (and any attachment) is free from computer viruses and the like. However, it is the recipient’s responsibility to ensure that it is actually virus free. Any emails that you send to us may be monitored for the purposes of ascertaining whether the communication complies with the law and our policies. This email (and any attachment) is free from computer viruses and the like. However, it is the recipient’s responsibility to ensure that it is actually virus free. Any emails that you send to us may be monitored for the purposes of ascertaining whether the communication complies with the law and our policies. I continued to contact them about their billing error, and continued to receive form letters that simply said: As advised, the payment was taken in-line with our General Terms and Conditions which were marked as read and accepted by you. We also provide the information that your account will be automatically renewed after the initial payment on the account screen and further to this, in the invoice provided to your email address upon your first transaction. If you wish to read over our Terms of Service, you may do so by visiting the below link: – www.internations.org/about/term_conditions?ref=fo_tc In this case, the InterNations Team is unable to provide you with a refund due to the aforementioned reasons. I was astonished. They’d charged me for an upcoming year’s membership, though I neither need nor want that membership. This seemed an odd response to what I still believed was a simple database error. That’s when I went online and researched “InterNations” and “scam,” and discovered that others had experiences similar to mine. The irony is that they charged me for an “Albatross” membership. Per Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, the second definition is: “a continuing problem that makes it difficult or impossible to do or achieve something.” From what I’m seeing online, signing up for membership with InterNations is indeed an “albatross.” I hope others have succeeded in having their unusued (and unwanted) membership fee refunded. So far, my experience with InterNations has ranged from disappointing to frustrating. At the very least, their behavior is very unprofessional, and a cautionary tale to anyone considering joining their community. I’m still hopeful my issue is a matter of miscommunications, and an unfortunate effort by InterNations to cover a database error. Nevertheless, after reading others’ reports, this looks very similar to a simple rip-off.
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This complaint and/or review was posted on HolySmoke.org on 06:02 am, March 03, 2019 (CST) and is a permanent record located at: https://www.holysmoke.org/scam/internations-review/.
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