A service that offers to help keep your personal information more private sounds like a very good idea, but in the case of MyPrivacy from Reputation.com it turns out to be a very bad idea.
MyPrivacy from Reputation.com (a service offered through AOL’s Lifestore and fulfilled by Reputation.com) claims to:
- stop up to 80% of junk mail from ever reaching your mailbox
- wipe your salary, address & phone from websites
- help protect your personal life from marketers, scammers & thieves.
In practice, I found the MyPrivacy from Reputation.com service sold through AOL’s Lifestore to be a feeble (and misleading)—service. I was extremely dissatisfied with the product’s results which I felt in no way lived up to expectations set by the sales copy. Needless to say I decided to cancel my account. But bigger than the story of a service that, in my opinion, overcharges and underperforms, is this: MyPrivacy from Reputation.com wouldn’t let me cancel my account. I’m genuinely worried that a department within AOL might be running an outright scam. Here’s why.
I tried to cancel on March 30—a call that lasted 17 minutes. First, I was told that accounts couldn’t be closed by calling this number and that I’d have to log into my AOL account. But after some wrangling and sharing all of the necessary account info, I was told it was cancelled. But rather than actually having my account cancelled as requested, I received another MyPrivacy from Reputation.com bill 8 days later.
When I called customer service again today (for the second time) and spoke with a person named Rowell—and then his supervisor Ivan—I found no real answers as to why I was still being billed after my March 30 cancelation request. Ivan’s unbelievable explanation was that the person I spoke with days earlier must have “misunderstood” my intentions to cancel. Ivan said that his logs did show that I called on the 30th but not that I had requested to cancel—he said there were no notes whatsoever.
I find Ivan’s explanation that there was a misunderstanding about my intentions impossible to believe: there’s only one way to interpret the words, “I’d like to cancel my account.” A customer service representative would have to be completely inept to spend 17 minutes with a customer on a call and not understand what they wanted.
I am told that my account has finally been properly terminated, but how can I be certain? I certainly can’t trust MyPrivacy from Reputation.com’s reputation or track record in the cancelations department.
Attempting to get to the bottom of this customer service malfunction, I asked to speak with Ivan’s supervisor. When Ivan asked me what point that would serve, I told him that this resolution was not good enough (since canceling my account and crediting my card for the inappropriate charges was literally the least he should do—as he admitted), that I wanted further compensation in the form of a refund for previous charges and, more importantly, that I wanted to get to the bottom of this debacle. He disconnected the call after claiming that I just wanted to hear what I wanted to hear and that my requests weren’t going to happen—that they were “too much.”
I am deeply concerned about MyPrivacy from Reputation.com’s customer service practices. My experience certainly felt like a scam. The question is—how many “misunderstandings” do Ivan and his team have when customers call to cancel? And who does Ivan report to? Is there ANY accountability for Ivan and his team’s accounting blunders? Let’s say 1,000 customers want to cancel their MyPrivacy from Reputation.com account today and Ivan’s team disregards their wishes: that would be an additional $9,990 a month in MyPrivacy from Reputation.com’s coffers.
One major problem with MyPrivacy from Reputation.com is the co-branding between Reputation.com and AOL. A customer who signed up for MyPrivacy from Reputation.com would assume, as I did, that calling Reputation.com to cancel an account or to ask any account-related questions would be the correct way to proceed. But it’s not. Such calls are re-directed to AOL. While Reputation.com did have some of my account information, they had no control whatsoever over billing.
I reached out to Reputation.com for a comment on this situation and Rich Matta, a GM, told me that this was an “unfortunate” situation given the co-branding between Reputation.com and AOL and that AOL has “been a great partner for us and have been very reliable.”
I will update this story with more information as it becomes available.