I don’t normally go out of my way to badmouth a company, generally because 99% of them are able to resolve most matters peacefully..
My little adventure started off by searching for “free solicitor information” and eventually refining my query to “ask a solicitor”. A Google PPC ad brought me to a page like this:
FREE is the keyword here, and when it’s this prevalent on the page, most consumers don’t think twice. Even a web savvy consumer like me actually missed their 14 day trial* statement and their tiny print at the bottom explaining the asterisk (I’ll elaborate on this point later):
* Your subscription will last for 12 months. We’ll collect monthly payments of £19 to cover the cost of your subscription once your free trial has concluded.
You may cancel at any point during your free trial, and pay nothing.
Then at the very bottom of this page, you’ll also notice some more small print:
The LegalCare service is offered on the basis of a 14 day free trial. If you do not notify us that you wish to cancel within the 14 day trial period you will then enter into a 12 month subscription.
What was my experience using the site?
I asked my question and got a sub-par answer back within a day. I wasn’t given the name of the solicitor and still to this day, I don’t actually know who answered my question. I’m not convinced that I was even speaking to a solicitor given the fact that this company recruits members in MLM fashion.
The answer was useless, but I didn’t think much of it because it was FREE FREE FREE, right?
What happened next?
Since I needed to activate my paypal account, I immediately logged back in to Paypal and cancelled this 12 month recurring payment. Job done, Paypal notifies the seller that a subscription has been cancelled. No harm, no foul.
Wrong. I signed up on February 15th 2013, cancelled my Paypal the next day (16th) and received this lovely letter on March 18th:
Dear Mr Sottimano
We have been notified that your recent payment for your LegalCare subscription has been cancelled.
In accordance with our terms and conditions, there is a monthly charge of £19 for your LegalCare subscription and we have not received your latest payment which is now overdue.
As per the user terms and conditions you have agreed to, ‘Access to the LegalCare service is for a minimum 12 month period and in the event of default we have the right to recover payment for the full 12 month period’.
Please find attached an invoice for the remaining subscription. Please ensure that payment reaches us within 14 days, you will find the suitable method of payment on the invoice provided. If you fail to pay as requested we will pass your debt to a third party for collection and our additional administration fees of £50 will be added to the total amount outstanding.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Yep – I got mad. Wouldn’t you?
Apparently in their Terms & Conditions, cancelling the payment through a third party (Paypal) isn’t good enough. But on their website during the signup process I looked back and there is contradictory information. Here they mention that you need to inform them:
Yep. Paypal can and usually will send the seller a notification email but these guys decided to hide a little clause in their Terms & Conditions (see Free Trial section) that this just isn’t good enough.
You know how most companies usually tell you who you’re talking to? Or maybe even give you a customer support number? Not these guys, because they don’t want you to know who they are.
At this point I knew I was in scammer territory, because when I offered to pay for the £19 (that equals 1 month of service), they refused, and they even demanded the full year’s subscription!!!!
Great customer service LegalCare! Woohoo, I’m going to tell everyone just how great you are!
Why am I so mad?
Good companies that value their customers would have done the following:
- Sent me and email at least 2 days before the trial was up, and given me explicit instructions on how to cancel
- They could have used this opportunity to get feedback on their service, and see if I was happy
- Given me a number to speak to someone
- Given me the name of someone rather than hide behind a generic email address
- Either cancelled the subscription or accepted to let me pay for the £19
Instead, they hide behind their Terms and Conditions and employ a solicitor’s office to harass you for payments for a service you won’t EVER use again. Are there others like me? Yep, I posted this legalcare.co.uk forum post and recieved a flurry of emails from others who have experienced the same problem.
Look a bit deeper and you’ll notice a few other people who have voiced their opinion online too:
- Legalcare.co.uk Paypal complaint on Moneysavingexpert.com
- Legalcare.co.uk complaint on Consumeractiongroup.com
- Legalcare.co.uk cancellation complaint on Freeindex.co.uk
Legalcare.co.uk contact details
It’s pretty hard to find contact information, but here’s a few details I managed to find.
From their seller information on Paypal:
Phone: +44 843 642 0042 (Although this has never worked)
Business address: Maritime House, Basin Road North, Brighton & Hove, East Sussex BN41
1WR (Someone is actually in the office, it’s located in the industrial, fish packing district in Brighton and it looks just as dodgy in real life as it does on Google maps)
UK business information: Aska Professional Limited t/a LegalCare (Company number: 06672529)
GBP solicitors are their “collectors” - these guys won’t leave me alone, but when I return their calls, they have absolutely no clue as to what’s going on, who handles the legalcare.co.uk accounts etc..
What do I hope to accomplish?
Well, I want this company to be transparent and honest about their trial. I want them to be a decent company instead of a bunch of beggars needing to take £240 from unsatisfied consumers.
I want them to expose their contact information publicly.
I want them to acknowledge that they did not do enough to make me aware of their cancellation requirements.
I don’t want anyone else to have to go through this, because it sucks.
I want a better company that cares about customer service to adopt this solicitor’s business model, because it makes sense – just not in the hands of these people.
I want them to stop harassing me for my hard earned money and actually do something to earn it, not try and scam me for it.
You in the same position? Let me know in the comments and I’ll do whatever I can to help fight
For those of you who are looking at this with an impartial, logical mindset – you’ll probably think I’m in the wrong. Maybe, but then again, butting in line and blowing cigarette smoke in someone’s face aren’t illegal either – they just piss people off and you shouldn’t do it.