Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How Realplayer Rips Us Off

Realplayer is one of the biggest traders on the Internet. Just about every PC owner has downloaded Realplayer in order to listen to music and watch videos. Yet, Realplayer is one of the biggest rip-off merchants on the Net.

I've seen various complaints from irate customers but can vouch for this one because it happened to me.

Eight months ago I purchased Realplayer Plus which enables one to download videos from the Net and then burn them onto a VCD disk using Roxio software. The process worked very well until suddenly a request flashed-up on my PC screen asking me to reaffirm the legal agreement I had made with Realplayer. I did so and then discovered that the Burner button would not move to Enable. It appeared to be locked.

This was unusual because until then the Burner button would move to Enabled a few seconds after choosing the Burn/Transfer option. Now it wouldn't. What appears to have happened is that on renewing the Terms of Contract the software was automatically altered on the Burner facility. Why would Realplayer do this? Firstly, to allow people to use the Burner as part of the free Realplayer. But this causes confusion among existing subscribers who, like me, think their Burner is no longer working and are misled into buying new software that they really don't need. That's what happened to me. What followed was an excruciatingly lengthy exchange with Realplayer's Technical Support people before the problems were solved, causing me a lot of time, expense and grief.

By then I had paid for and downloaded more Realplayer software thinking that my subscription had run out. Later I discovered that it hadn't and that I still had four months left. On discovering my mistake I alerted Realplayer, informing them that I had been misled into paying for unnecessary software. Within seconds of my having made the order, the charge for £19.99 was displayed on my bank account.

I was told by Realplayer that as soon as the funds had been credited to them they would cancel and process a refund. Just in case they had 'forgotten' I sent them an email reminder. Silence. Finally I got onto their Customer Support Live Chat and this was what followed:

Chris: Hello. Welcome to Real's Live Chat. How can I help you?

Rory: Hello Chris, this relates to Incident: 080218-002442, Refund Claim I was promised.

Rory: Please respond.

Chris: May I have time to look over on the incident?

Rory: Sure, basically I was promised a refund as I explained that I was misled by Realplayer into ordering unnecessary software (my current software was bought last 26 June) and I was told that once my payment of £19.99 had been credited to Realplayer it the order would be cancelled & I would be refunded. So I am requesting that now as the money has been paid in.

Rory: FYI, the Order# is 134225314 made on 18/02/08 for £19.99.

Rory: Waiting for your reply

Chris: Thank you for your time and patience.

Chris: I have gone ahead and verified your e-mail response, I found that your case has been escalated to our Level 2 e-mail team. You will receive a response as soon as possible.

Chris: Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Rory: Yes

Chris: I'm listening. Please go ahead.

Rory: There's no need to escalate it now I've solved the Technical Support problem. It's simply a case of someone in Customer Support cancelling the order & refunding me.

Rory: I emailed a request for a refund at 13:52 our time. It is now 21.32. That's nearly 8 hours ago and it STILL hasn't been dealt with!

Rory: "You have now been paid by my bank so I request that you now refund the sum of £19.99 without delay. Many thanks. Rory Winter"

Rory: Sent nearly 8 hours ago at 13.52 hours GMT!

Chris: I'm really sorry for the inconvenience caused to you.

Rory: So am I. So can you please act now to do the necessary, ie cancel and refund?

[refuses claiming he 'doesn't have authority']

Rory: No, YOU can do it now. Don't rip me off or I'll publicise this across the Internet!

Chris: After escalation of your case we are not authorized to proceed further.

Rory: That's bullshit! My circumstances have changed & there's no need to escalate. Just do what I request now or put me onto yr Supervisor.

Chris: Please give me a couple of minutes.

Rory: Note: ALL this is being recorded & will be put on my blog under the title HOW REALPLAYER RIPS OFF ITS CUSTOMERS

Rory: Someone there will have the authority to finalize and honor this request. It's not a lot to ask for is it?

Rory: I wonder just how many folk have been deceived by RP in this way?

Rory: Anyway, if you guys refuse to deal with me honorably you will just be earning Realplayer some real bad publicity on the Net. So give me a break, huh?

Rory: Still waiting ...

Chris Has Disconnected

So much for the caring attitude of Realplayer's Customer Support.

It's more than likely that many others have been ripped-off by this company. Maybe it's time to take some form of legal action against Realplayer? Meantime, my advice is think carefully before you take a risk of being stung by Realplayer.

Realplayer's International Headquarters:

Real Networks Inc., 2601 Elliott Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121


No comments:

Post a Comment