It all started on October 31, 2017 – it was 8.15 in the morning and the phone rang.
I saw a Frankfurt, Germany city code and didn’t think of anything when I answered the phone. The moment I said “Barbara Schmidt” a woman greeted me in English, started talking and didn’t stop. I have to admit I needed a couple of seconds to “adjust”. I mean when I see a German city code I don’t really expect an English sales talk.
And to be honest, I don’t really expect a sales talk on a holiday – October 31 was a federal holiday celebrating 500 years of Reformation. And not at 8.15 in the morning – when I am ready to get on a hiking trip in the surrounding mountains.
Okay, I’m listening – who are you and what do you want?
It took me a while to realize the lady called from myHeritage.
First of all she told me that my account with them had been transferred to the main office – whatever that means. Reason for the transfer being that I am a veteran client. WHY? I never asked for that. I was quite comfortable with the customer support I received so far.
To be VERY honest, the main reason for me staying with myHeritage was the people I had contact with. For sure to mention Silvia DaSilva.
Then the sales talk kept going on and on how beautiful my family tree project was, how grateful they were of how much work I put into it, how much she enjoyed looking at it. – and so on.
Please get to the point!
It appeared that I didn’t keep my credit card information up to date to renew my paid account. I apologized and told her I would fix that when I am back home that day.
Guess what? According to the lady, I couldn’t do that as my account was frozen and she was the only one that could unfreeze it with a special code. And she needed my credit card information.
FYI, I never provide my credit card information on the phone if I am not the caller but the called.
I replied I don’t have my credit card with me as I was getting ready to leave the house and I wouldn’t be back all day – since it was a holiday. She was a bit stunned and asked what holiday. Well – newsflash: if you support German clients – get to know their schedule, calendar and customs.
She didn’t want to let me go and kept telling me that she would be in the office for three more hours and she would try to call me a bit later. I was getting a bit annoyed – but not frustrated yet – telling her again, that I planned a day outside – since it was a HOLIDAY!!
This was going back and forth until I was ready to just hang up – I guess that’s when she realized it’s better to back off. She just mentioned that one of the secretaries would call me. Wait a second! Wasn’t she the only one who is able to unfreeze my account?
But it gets better. Back home in the afternoon, I checked my emails and saw 2 standard emails from myHeritage telling me my credit card was expired and reminding me to correct the data in my profile to be able to use all the functions I used before – until then, my account was frozen. I had 7 days to do so.
Now I was confused – didn’t the lady need a special code? Well, I guess not.
Stay with me – the story is not over yet.
The next morning – and again, November 1 is a holiday in parts of Germany – the phone rang at 7.45 am. My alarm clock rings at 8 am. I didn’t even bother to answer the phone. 2 minutes later my mobile was ringing – I didn’t answer that either.
I didn’t really want to talk to them as I wouldn’t provide them my credit card information, I didn’t like that she lied to me telling me that she would be the only one able to unfreeze my account and thirdly – calling me at 7.45 am.
The next 8 days the phone kept ringing and ringing until I decided to block the number.
But hey, it gets even better – I was so annoyed with the behaviour of myHeritage that I was thinking about cancelling my account with them. I didn’t decide yet and was going over it in my head – discussing pro and contra. In the meantime I didn’t update my credit card information and they kept trying to charge my card (I always get a text message in case my card is used or tried to be charged). All of that just added to my frustration and anger.
This behaviour had stalking quality!
And then, I received an email. I couldn’t believe my eyes. myHeritage offered my 40% discount for renewing my subscription. Instead of 170€ I was only to pay 101€
I re-read the mail and was thinking – WHAT???
Thanks guys but no thanks! And my decision was done – Goodbye myHeritage! Veteran client or not, you just lost me.
As a conclusion – what went wrong from my perspective as a client?
- calling me on a holiday very early in the morning
- as a German company reaching out to a German client – speaking English
- transferring my account without even asking me if I preferred to be supported by the German office
- lying to me: “I am the only one who can unfreeze your account with a special code”
- trying to persuade me to provide them with my credit card information although I told her, I wouldn’t
- trying to force me into another call the same day “our secretaries will call you”
- stalking me with calls for the next 8 days – only me blocking their number stopped that phone terror
- and to top that: offering me a 40% discount when I kept my account suspended
Some of you might frown now at the last point. Isn’t a discount a good thing? Normally it is. But think about it: what would have happened if I would have just provided her my credit card information on October 31, 2017 – I would have paid 170€.
That much to being a veteran client!