I recommend everyone read Hal's latest statement, it's his best statement to date and I believe shows the ECA finally has gotten our message. In it he offers better explanations for what happened with the auto-renew function, promises to notify members of changes to terms of service, and even apologizes.
In my opinion, if the ECA follows through with what he's saying they will have done a lot to fix this. Also, a lot of his explanation and tone is much friendlier and clearer. They seemed to be listening to ours and others concerns and making right. For that, I applaud them.
12/9: The ECA has removed the section of the TOS referring to their ability to change your CC's expiration date, again a positive change that they should be commended for.
Latest word from the ECA's Gypsyfly:
"Right now ECA is working on implementing an online option for members which will require creating a new business, accounting, and site module as the site never had this option. They will also notify members of policies changes via their members newsletters even though they are not required to, some items in the TOS will also be updated moving forward to better reflect the needs of members."
I'd recommend waiting a bit before spending the time and money on a certified letter, we'll hopefully be able to cancel a more convenient way soon.
12/4 update: the eca has a new faq that includes info about canceling. They still require written notice. While they say it doesn't need to be traceable, I'd still recommend it given part 12 of their terms. They also now say they are working on another way to cancel and an option to disable auto renew.
I am pleased progress is being made, I still strongly feel they need to send an email to all members stating that the disable auto renew feature was never functioning. Also, while they say the feature was only available for a short time, there are indications it was available as far back as March and as late as the end of October (thanks blisskr for finding these posts). I wouldn't consider that a short period time, certainly its long enough to necessitate personal notice to all of their members. Please also note a mod responds to the March post and makes no mention of its non-functionality. I would also think that means they should have known about the button as early March, yet it was not removed until several months later. Additionally, according to several CAGs, the nonfunctional button gave verification that the auto renewal feature was canceled. It's very difficult to trust someone with your credit card information if such a major mistake is left on their website for months.
I am well aware that this is not a deal and many will flame me and say this is the wrong forum or that this is a re-post. However, at one point it seems like the majority of CAGs gave these people their credit card information in order to sign up for a paid or "free" membership. It should be emphasized that everyone who became a member(including free ones) had to give their credit card info, in case you have forgotten. Many if not all who signed up immediately canceled the auto renew billing feature using the website. It appears that it is now ECA's stance that anyone who did this did not actually cancel because it was never a working part of their website. They claim that the auto renew feature was only available for a limited time and never actually did anything because of some glitch, but anecdotal evidence from CAGs suggest it was online for several weeks and possibly months. Up to this point, they have refused to adequately accept responsibility for this mistake and have failed to personally notify their members of this problem. The original thread where I got this info from is found here, full credit should be given to Cager arcane93 for pointing all this out in this thread.
The ONLY way you can cancel your membership is by a letter through some form of TRACEABLE mail.
send your cancellation here, which according to their terms must be sent 30 days prior to your renewal date:
[FONT="]Attn: Accounting, ECA, 64 Danbury Road, Suite 700, Wilton, CT 06897-4406. [/FONT]
What info is needed to cancel?
Just say you want to cancel and include your full name and email.
THERE IS NO WAY TO TURN OFF AUTO RENEW- you can only cancel your membership, they say here that "You will be notified a month before hand of your account expiring. So you have time to cancel if you decided to do so." But according to section 4 of their terms you must cancel 30 days prior to your renewal date. Obviously, this is highly problematic.
---for those concerned about potential unwanted charges: the charge shows up as: "ENT. CONSUMER ASSOC" Phone number 203-761-6180 CT"
Here are some tidbits from the ECA mod's themselves, taken from their forum:
Was there a button for auto-renewing?
Yes, for some browsers, but it wasn’t intended to be there, wasn’t a working option and was removed as soon as we became aware
Why can’t we terminate via email?
Because the org has grown too large to handle the volume and requiring a mailed piece separates those who are serious from those who are lazy or finicky – joining and leaving repeatedly – and it gives us written documentation, a paper trail to reconcile against
Notable Parts of their terms of service:
[FONT="]5.[/FONT][FONT="]Right to update Credit Card Account Information[/FONT][FONT="]. If the credit card provided by Member to ECA has expired during an attempt to bill fees per section 4, ECA will revise the expiration date and proceed with billing using the same credit card account. <----this was removed from their TOS 12/9[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana]12. [/FONT][FONT=Verdana]Receipt of Mail. ECA cannot guarantee that it receives any mail that Member claims to have sent. Member should, at Member’s own expense, send any notices to ECA in a form to ensure to Member that the[/FONT][FONT=Verdana]ir communication arrived at ECA, which form may include but not be limited to FedEx, UPS, USPS Return Receipt Requested and USPS Certified Mail.
[/FONT][FONT=Verdana] ECA's current cancellation policy, and Hal Halpin's response to concerns can be found here[/FONT][FONT=Verdana]
[/FONT][FONT=Verdana]Information about the ECA's views on EULA's can be found here
[/FONT][FONT=Verdana]Consumerist article, second
Kotaku first article, second
Penny Arcade's comment[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana] Better Business Bureau:[/FONT]
ECA contact info:
phone: +1 (203) 761-6180
fax: +1 (203) 761-6184
ECA Sponsors(thanks NicaVic for list)
Edited by CheapyD, 10 December 2009 - 11:05 PM.
TOS change noted