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Beware Yahoo Personals' deceptive billing policy

You might be wondering what a post like this is doing on a blog largely about VoIP, but bear with me. To some extent, this post is about VoIP.
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Written by Russell Shaw on

You might be wondering what a post like this is doing on a blog largely about VoIP, but bear with me. To some extent, this post is about VoIP.

And athough I try not to air my consumer grievances here, I am writing this post to warn you about a practice that your knowledge of can save you some dollars.

OK, first let us go back a year. My love life, my dating life, was in a rough patch. (If you want details, you buy the next pitcher).

Not wanting to remain in the state I just referred to, I decided I would declare a jihad on loneliness. Being a creature of the Internet, I posted a profile on several dating sites including Yahoo! Personals.

My Match.com profile soon led to a happy result. That's her photo on the top of my CPU tower.

As soon as the ultimately "happy result" became quantifiable, I let my Yahoo! Personals account lapse.  I ignored Yahoo's multiple emails begging me to continue as a member.

The charges stopped around February, 2007. And in May, I reported the Nordstrom Visa credit card I used for Yahoo! Personal's automatic billing was lost.

A replacement soon came with a different number.  There would have been no direct way for Y!P to have knowledge of ths new number. That's the point of a replacement card, no?

Fast forward several months. In October, I signed up for

Yahoo! Voice.  Here's where things got real dicey.

To enable Yahoo! Voice, I bought $10 of outbound minutes, as well as an inbound number. And because I like using that aforementioned Nordstrom Visa credit card rather than others available to me, I charged those minutes and the inbound number on my Nordstrom Visa.

Then hey guess what.  Yesterday, I went on line to the Nordstrom Bank site, and looked at my Nordstrom Visa account. There was a $74.95 charge from Yahoo! Personals.

WTF?

My initial conclusion was that when I updated my credit card information to sign up for Yahoo!'s voice services, the new credit card number I just placed with Yahoo! Voice eventually found itself available to the folks at Yahoo! Personals.

Keep in mind that at no time had I authorized my dormant Yahoo! Personals account to be reopened, not the least, charged with a new credit card account number I had trusted Yahoo! to use only for Yahoo Voice!!

I called the dispute department @ Nordstrom Visa, and we concluded that this was an example of what the customer service rep called "forced authorization."

Well, maybe that's true, but "forced authorization" with my money, for a service I no longer wanted? A service reactivated on the imprimateur of a credit card number I trusted Yahoo! to use for Yahoo! Voice only!

If I sound p.o'd, you betcha.

I am fighting this, and will let you know how it turns out.

Have any of you had similar experiences?

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