**NOTE: There are now 3 updates added to the end of this post. The latest update occurred on January 26, 2009**
I'm pissed off.
Last September, my youngest daughter begged me to let her join up on Miley Cyrus' website, "Miley World." Membership allowed you access to games and newsletters and fan info about Miley, who plays the popular Hannah Montana. I relented, and within a couple of days, my daughter totally lost interest in the site.
In the months that followed, Cyrus was involved in a number of controversies that tainted her "wholesome" image, including a topless photo shoot for Vanity Fair, a pregnancy rumor, and a number of risque pictures leaked online that Cyrus snapped herself. I was glad that my daughter lost interest in the mediocre actress/singer, and didn't give the Miley World site another thought.
Until yesterday, that is, when I opened my credit card bill and found a charge for $29.95 from Miley World. It was labeled as an "Auto Renewal". I immediately went to the website to try and contact them, but--surprise!--there is no way to email them directly without logging in first. I had to request the Username and Password (long since forgotten) and finally managed to access the site and fill out a "customer service ticket" to ask for assistance.
They wrote back to inform me that they DO NOT GIVE REFUNDS. Supposedly, they send out an email 30 days before automatically renewing your membership, and if you don't go to the site, navigate through your profile and unclick "Auto Renew", they will hit your credit card.
The problem is: I never got any email from them, and was completely unaware of the charge until it hit my bill. Their response? Too bad. No refunds. No exceptions. Thanks for being a fan of Miley World!!
I am incredulous over this. The fact that they have such a staunch "no refunds" policy tells me that they must screw people over so often with the auto-renewal, they just don't give a crap anymore.
I am filing complaints with the FTC and the Internet Crime Complaint Center. This website is guilty of internet fraud, and must be stopped.
For anyone reading this who experienced a similar issue, I now have their direct email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Quite a misnomer there, since the LAST thing they do is support people.
I'll keep you updated as this unfolds. In the meantime, I'm calling the credit card company and putting the $29.95 in dispute, and reporting their sorry asses to the Powers That Be. Wish me luck!
As you can see in the comment section of this post, I have received many comments from folks who also fell victim to this Miley World auto-renewal scam. At the suggestion of one commenter (Peg), I opened a case file with the Better Business Bureau in Tennessee, which is the location handling the complaints for this company.
You can lodge your complaint quickly and easily ONLINE, and it only takes a few minutes of your time. Be sure to provide as much info as you can, including the dates of your correspondence, the amount you want refunded to you, and your account number at Miley World.
I will post an update if and when this matter gets resolved. Good luck, everyone!
TO LODGE A COMPLAINT, CALL OR VISIT THE WEBSITE BELOW:
BBB of Middle Tennessee
201 Fourth Ave. North, Ste. 100
Nashville, TN 37203-3984
They agreed to issue me a full refund!
Well, it's now January, 2009, and the comments and emails just keep pouring in from readers who have had similarly bad experiences with MileyWorld. The latest email comes from Leslie, regarding a photo contest hosted by the site. I told Leslie that I would relay her story here, in the event that others are having the same problem.
"My child begged to join MileyWorld to enter a contest to meet Miley. Once on the site we learned she would need to submit a 1 minute video. She spent her savings to purchase a camera to video record herself for the entry. By the terms listed on the site the contest was suppose to end Oct 31st and the winner was to be announced no later than Dec 31, 2008. The site never posted any information and continued to accept new entrants into the contest. My daughter contacted them by email as did I and the response was vague. They stated they were attempting to give everyone a chance to enter and did not know when the contest would end. They continued to have the same dates posted on the site and never posted that the contest had been extended. Just recently they revised the dates to end the contest Jan 2009. My daughter and I now feel that the contest is not legitimate. She is so crushed. I am upset I feel they took advantage of my daughter and tens of thousands of other children. She has not picked up that camera since. She wasted her money on a fraud.
I contacted the site with a more stern email and was told that the only thing they were willing to do is give my daughter 30 more days free membership to the site. "No thanks". I have contacted the BBB and the Consumer Protections Agency in Nashville with complaints."
Leslie is upset that the site did not inform subscribers of the change to the contest rules and deadlines. As the revised January 31st deadline approaches, we'll be keeping an eye on this to see if the contest closes, or is extended yet again. Stay tuned.