Classmates.com automatic renewal scam

classmates is a scamSummary: Stay away from Classmates.com and do not fall for any of their tricks to get you to sign-up as a gold member.

Last year I upgraded my Classmates.com subscription from the free one to the paid one simply to see what the difference was for paid members.  As we were building the VendorCity service and business model, it was useful to see freemium models from other services.

It was immediately apparent that the subscription was a waste of money.  No one was actively using it and the additional features were useless.

Today, without any warning or notice from Classmates.com, I received a $39 bill on my credit card.  Apparently, when you sign-up, there is so small TOS that states they will enable automatic annual billing.  However, did they mention they would do it without any warning or option out?  Of course not, because they are already going out of business and are using nearly illegal tactics to try to keep cash flowing.

I called Classmates.com and they refused to refund the money so I am contacting my credit card company to dispute the charge.  I’ll follow-up when I get a resolution one way or another. 

So, my suggestion to you is simply stay away from Classmates.com. They are dying and dying companies do desperatethings.

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5 responses to “Classmates.com automatic renewal scam

  1. Just a quick follow-up: my credit card company issued me a credit for the classmates.com charge. The dispute was handled very quickly no issues at all so be sure to call your CC company if this happens to you.

  2. Looks like classmates is getting desperate….gold is now 9.95 for a year…they got me for $5 or so a few years back on the auto-renewal, didn’t bother fighting it, knew it would happen…
    My peeve with them is my HS closed forever in 1979, but they have people attending every year since then right up to now……??????
    Explain that, classmates!

  3. JC….just wondering if the credit from your credit card stuck? My credit card issued me a credit, but classmates came back and refused, stating I did sign up. This is the 3rd year in a row, I even went in and changed from automatic renewal to manual…and it happens again? I have found 1000′s of people this has happened to. This company needs to go. This time I cancelled my credit card so it can’t happen again!

  4. Hi Shelly, sorry to hear about your bad experience as well. I was fortunate that the credit did stick. These are the acts of a desperate company going down fighting (illegally I might add) against a tide of change as facebook becomes the defacto way of connecting with friends (both new and old).

  5. To be fair, there were very few websites like classmates.com when it started up in the late ’90s. I signed up as a gold member in 1998, having fully read the TOS and completely accepting the annual $39 charge (which was not in small print back then). With it, I was able to keep in touch with people, and someone from my graduating class used it to organize a reunion. Before the arrival of myspace and facebook, classmates.com was THE place to find friends. (A few minor sites, like gradfinder.com and reunion.com, offered similar services, with paid membership offering more perks.) The site is becoming irrelevant now, and I ended my subscription three years ago. Still, classmates.com was useful during the height of its popularity. Calling it a scam would be highly inaccurate.

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