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DannyS

Smugmug - A Word of Warning

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Just wanted to give a heads up to anyone using or planning to use Smugmug.

 

In Sep 2014 I gave Smugmug a go and subscribed for a year.  I was sure I unticked the 'automatic renewal' box.

 

A year later I was billed $150 and was obviously very surprised.  I went into the settings and unticked it, double, triple checked it.  I sucked it up and used it for a while.

 

Recently I was billed again!  I went back in and looked at the settings and, the box was ticked.  I sent them an email and they replied...

 

Hi Danny,

Thank you for contacting us about your account :)

Per our Terms (http://www.smugmug.com/about/terms/ Part B, subscription renewals are automatic and you authorize us to complete those renewals by agreeing to the Terms when signing up for your account.

...

So basically, the auto-renewal checkbox does nothing...except trick you into thinking your safe.

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Hi DannyS, I had something similar happen to me a while back.  I tried to explain to the issuing card company that it was not a charge I had authorized but because of the "small print" authorization their hands were tied and it would take a long time to resolve.  Workaround..., in my case, was to have my bank issue another card with a different number.  

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Hi Danny,

 

I am a SmugMug Support Hero.  All SmugMug accounts are auto renew subscriptions and there is no auto renewal checkbox.  Here is a screen grab showing the subscription page in SmugMug account settings:

 

i-pxpMqVx.jpg

It includes your plan type which includes the plan and frequency as well as your next renewal date and a link to close your account.  If you're on a yearly subscription as described in your post a reminder email is also sent to your on file email address 30 days prior to your renewal.

Prior to subscribing to the account you did agree to our terms of service which explain under section 4 Term and Automatic Renewal how recurring charges and renewals are handled.  You can see the terms here: https://www.smugmug.com/about/terms

 

And, it's also much more simply stated here: https://www.smugmug.com/about/terms/guide

 

Specifically:

Your subscription to SmugMug automatically renews.

If you purchase a subscription to the SmugMug website and services, you are responsible for all subscription fees associated with the subscription plan you purchase. Your subscription to SmugMug will automatically renew unless you choose to cancel your subscription.

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Phyxius,

That is all well and good your current sign up and renewals are now explained.

Is there a reason why you have not also explained precicely how to cancel a subscription, and how long before renewal it must be done?

Does your "close account" button act instantaneously, removing access? If so do you have a way to "remove renewal" that would naturally expire your subscription when you had finished getting what you had paid for?


Patrick Connor

Serif (Europe) Ltd.

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Hi Patrick,

 

I did explain how to cancel the subscription, by closing the account.  In the account settings (in the screen grab included) there is a CLOSE ACCOUNT option.  Clicking the Proceed >> link under close account will close the account immediately.  The account can be closed anytime prior to renewal.  So, if the account was due to renew on June 1st closing the account any day/time before midnight (PT) on May 31st would prevent the renewal.

 

The screen grab embedded in my previous reply isn't displaying so, I'm linking it here, too: https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-pxpMqVx/0/O/i-pxpMqVx.jpg

 

There is not an option to remove/prevent renewal other than closing the account.

 

Regards,

Christina

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Thank you for confirming there is no unsubscribe without closing the account. So other than to remember to press it on the last day before renewal there is no way to get the full amount of time that you have actually already paid for. Perhaps you should consider adding a method to achieve this so users can get their full use without having to cancel their payment card like the user above did.

 

I appreciate you coming back and making that clear.


Patrick Connor

Serif (Europe) Ltd.

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What puzzles me is that DannyS wrote "I was sure I unticked the 'automatic renewal' box." and "I went into the settings and unticked it, double, triple checked it." and then "Recently I was billed again!  I went back in and looked at the settings and, the box was ticked." So how did Danny see, untick, and later find reticked, a box which supposedly doesn't exist? :huh:


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I’m curious as to why DannyS would not expect to be billed for an open account.  Since he says he went in and unchecked the auto-renewal, twice, he was obviously aware that the account still existed.  Which kinda’ indicates a need to pay for it, right?

 

I’m not a current fan of SmugMug.  I recently closed an account of 11 years standing.  But my complaint was over a format change, not their honesty.  They were always open and above board about their policies and quick to respond to any customer questions about an account.

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I’m curious as to why DannyS would not expect to be billed for an open account.

 

I don't think he is saying that that was his expectation. If you sign up for an ongoing service, you expect to be billed at regular intervals, and if you consent to auto-renewal then you expect payment to be taken automatically. But if you withhold or withdraw consent for auto-renewal, then it's entirely reasonable to expect that you will get a reminder when your subscription is about to expire, and that if you don't respond to that reminder (either because you forget or because you choose not to renew) then no payment will be taken and the service will cease to be available to you once your current subscription expires.


Alfred online2long.gif
Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher 1.7.1.404 • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
Affinity Photo for iPad 1.7.1.143 • Designer for iPad 1.7.1.1 • iOS 12.4 (iPad Air 2)

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It was 11 years ago when I first opened an account with SmugMug, and since I preferred auto-renewal and therefore didn't look at that section again, I don't remember if there was ever an Auto-Renewal "Option" or when it might have been removed if it ever existed.  I can say though that for ALL those years, about 2 weeks before my renewal date, I received a Reminder email from SmugMug that my renewal was due on such-and-such a date.  Every year, you are warned, well in advance, that your renewal will be billed on that date.

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What puzzles me is that DannyS wrote "I was sure I unticked the 'automatic renewal' box." and "I went into the settings and unticked it, double, triple checked it." and then "Recently I was billed again!  I went back in and looked at the settings and, the box was ticked." So how did Danny see, untick, and later find reticked, a box which supposedly doesn't exist? :huh:

Correct, we definitely do not have a box to tick or untick regarding renewals so, I'm not sure what setting DannyS was referring to.  We have never had an option to prevent auto-renewal. When an account can not auto-renewal (lack of funds in the account, expired card, etc) our system sends out error messages via email.  We also display a message to the logged in user warning them that eventually the account will close.  Too often someone disregards those alerts and comes to us months or even years later asking where their photos are. :( We know how important photos/memories are to our subscribers and we do our best to make sure their photos are safe on SmugMug for as long as they want them there.  This does mean that we REQUIRE the user to cancel the account and we include a warning at that time that content will be deleted when the account is closed. We never want to hold someone hostage but we do want to make sure they don't lose their photos accidentally.

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