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Tschakko

Different prices of Premium Membership

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My membership was due so I asked if Groundspeak would honour their previous promise not to increase my membership which was not auto renewal and received the following reply.

 

"Thank you for contacting us. I have reviewed your accounts in our system and even though you have been a Premium Member with us for several years, your account was not set-up to auto-renew.

We have stated that Premium Members with recurring memberships, that are set-up to auto-renew, will be grandfathered in the payment system and are not affected. They'll continue to pay their original rate.

I apologize for the frustration. As a courtesy, I have added 7 free days of Premium Membership to your accounts.

Let me know, if you have further questions and concerns."

 

So thanks Groundspeak for 7 free days amounting to about 57 Cents. Do I feel insulted, of course I do.

 

Just pleased someone has just gifted me a membership.

 

Dear Groundspeak,

After careful reconsideration, I have determined that your current terms are unacceptable and I will not be renewing my Premium Membership.

 

Thank You,

 

If I truly felt strongly about this, that would be my reply.

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[snip]

 

Thank you. This is not the type of post that my comments were directed to. I'm sorry if I offended anyone that is trying to discuss this in a reasonable manner. I think what set me off was some of the comments directed towards the moderator who's sole stake in this is to enforce forum guidelines and has nothing to do with Groundspeak's business decisions.

 

[snip]

 

I understand that this issue is being discussed in a substantial number of local forums? I think that you all need to organize and come up with such an email and flood Groundspeak with it. You are simply not going to get the satisfaction that you desire by posting in this user forum. If they receive enough serious emails that are more than an emotional sounding rants and raves, they may see that this could possibly effect their bottom line and be forced to address it.

 

Don J, much appreciated. I also did not mean to pick on you, but your post set mine up nicely.

 

Hypothesis: The challenge that some, probably the majority of non-posters face is a lanuguage barrier. For the Germans, who represent, together with the Dutch two of the larger non-US based Geocacher communities (to the point that they have their own subforum in thier mother tongue) this barrier is significant. Some have posted in german here to be ignored and others vent in local forums (to the same result).*

Either way, when you look at the intial posts, they were angry (imho understandibly so) but were soon followed by very factual, evidence based posts. Those posts have been responded to by GS in, what was perceived as a sub-par manner, triggering another wave of angry posts, that, in the absence of a better explanation became more and more polemic.

 

Now, the impression that I get (and this might be wrong or right, but it is my impression) is that GS is internally retreating to the viewpoint, that 'these people' are unreasonable and whiny and we (GS) do not deal with people that behave that way (pretty much like you described).

Which, while understandable is also missing the point.

The 'whiny' people use the ONLY means they have to make their voices and opinions heard. The ONLY one (I count emials to GS as non-public forum posts and the TheGeckos post shows how those are being treated). The point is a non-transparent, sudden decision, that is explained by non-valuable, self centered arguments. Saying 'we thought long and hard' makes every negative response to that almost like a personal insult. So to turn the 'whiny' around, one could say GS is pouting. Neither behaviors are very adult...

 

Your post, read from that viewpoint, allows GS to say 'See? someone else is seeing this as whiny and unreasonable, too. So we are right to ignore the others.' I know, not your intent, however it fit.

 

For GS, I, as so many before me, want to ask them to talk to us. Recognize that the people that post here are the ones who CARE. And instead of ignoring us, talk to us! Re-read the earlier posts, put aside egos, filter out what the folks want to know and answer them/us.

 

If all of the above is poppycock, fine. Still stop ignoring this thread. I am certain people will listen to reason, even now. Because they want to and they care.

Thore

 

*I have not checked the FB page, but even if there would be a generic post in GE/EN/FR/... that people would only have to 'like' I am not certain it would fly or change GS' behaviour.

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Two quick points with regards to that post, that have already been raised:

a. The VAT changes from country to country in Europe, so applying a flat fee seems... arbitrary? See highlighted section for a few very good thoughts

b. This applies to the United Kingdom as indicated by the first two letters in the acronym HMRC, which stand for 'Her Majesty', laws are different in Germany (for example) as pointed out by Tschakko

 

Any more thoughts? What is your personal opinion, btw? You think it fair?

 

The "one stop shop" that Groundspeak uses is designed to apply a simple way of paying the VAT for e-services (VOES) across Europe. Different businesses use different countries as their point of registration, but it is designed to have a consistent approach. I don't think Germany would apply any different rules for e-services by non-EU businesses that are registered under the one shop format. But that is why I asked if people could point to any specific rules under the VOES scheme.

 

"Thank you for contacting us. I have reviewed your accounts in our system and even though you have been a Premium Member with us for several years, your account was not set-up to auto-renew."

That, as everyone except Groundspeak seems to know, was not the promise. The wording, before Groundspeak carefully removed it in advance of not announcing the price increase, was "...so long as you continue to renew". There was no mention of auto-renew.

 

I think that the "promise" was a contractual obligation - regardless of whether it was wisely made or not. It was the classic "offer and acceptance" that was not tied to recurring membership or any other changes in operating costs or fees. Groundspeak could have added the VAT to the membership fee, but they should not have raised the base price for premium members who signed up under their offer. A contract, of course, can be modified, but it should not be unilaterally changed. So I think it should have been honored, but I doubt that there is a legal remedy short of a class action.

 

For new members, I would have followed the examples of other businesses that set a base price and apply the VAT from there, rather than have differing rates for each country in Europe. Any system would be a little arbitrary. You set a fee and go with it. Even if I went with Groundspeak's approach, I would have made sure that everything was fully communicated as I discussed above. And I would do my best to satisfy concerns. 7 days of premium membership does not do this.

 

The money involved is not substantial and (except for the issue discussed above), I see nothing to establish that Groundspeak is not following the law. But Is it fair? People can make their own judgments.

Edited by geodarts

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The bit that seems like a real shame to me is that £24.99 for a premium membership, as a simple proposal, doesn't seem like such bad value for money. Even though my cache find rate has dropped from 50/month to more like 5/month and sometimes not even that, it's good to be able to download pocket queries so I've got just about everything within 30-odd miles of home so that when I'm out on the bike I can see if there are caches nearby any time I fancy a break. And since I was paying $30/year, which worked out somewhere between £18-20 depending on the exchange rate, the extra £4.99 per year works out at 10p per week, so the monthly increase is less than the cost of a can of drink after a ride.

 

It's a shame that Groundspeak lacked the gonads to just come clean about what they were going to do and why from the beginning rather than throwing out a few tidbits of information that literally left European customers wondering why a decade-old law was suddenly being followed, why nobody had the gonads to just tell us that the price was going up as a result of taxes, and what Groundspeak thinks they can achieve by providing just enough information to cause people to suspect they may be using a tax most of us hate as a way of increasing their own profit margins.

 

Of course after the badly delivered information came a resounding silence, which does little other than suggesting to everybody that Groundspeak really couldn't care less what we think. That is also a shame, since for the longest time they seemed to bridge the gap quite nicely between a hobby and a business. Now they give the impression of having become a large faceless corporation that really doesn't care what anyone thinks as long as the money keeps flowing. Assuming the 7-day extension posted by another user above is genuine (and there's no specific reason to assume it isn't), it just looks like yet another example of a faceless corporation throwing a few crumbs to a peon customer who got annoyed in the hope a token gesture would make them go away.

 

Personally I'm undecided whether I'll renew my premium membership. For me the endless proliferation of film pots behind signs and the general decline in the quality of cache hides and the caching experience (*) has left me more disillusioned with the hobby than even Groundspeak-style ineptitude. I'm considering giving it one more year to see if I get enough pleasure out of it during 2013-14 to continue, but I'll look to get a friend in the US to gift me a membership as a matter of principle so Groundspeak's latest silliness will just wash over me. I'm also considering not renewing simply because as a rule I dislike doing business with companies that treat their customers with such contempt, and since my caching activity is minimal these days it's not like it will be a huge loss to me if I just drop it completely.

 

(*) This isn't intended as an invitation to discuss what counts as a quality cache, just an observation that in my opinion (which is what counts when I'm paying) the overall quality of caches is steadily declining, while Groundspeak appears to devote more resources to twitface integrations and mobile apps and fewer resources to improving the web site.

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As an Australian who is not (yet!) affected by this policy, I've nonetheless been following this thread with interest.

 

Frankly, Groundspeak's actions and attitude here are disgraceful.

 

They may well be being dragged into compliance with tax laws, and of course they would have no choice in that.

 

To raise prices by more than the tax margin, and claim it is because of the tax, is dirty.

To do it by stealth, with no announcement, hoping nobody will notice, is arrogant.

To claim the rise is for the convenience of those now charged more, is an insult.

To treat the community with contempt by ignoring the public outcry, is itself contemptible.

To refuse to honour the perpetual-renewal price lock-in contract (however foolishly it was made), is disgusting.

 

Groundspeak, it's not only the Europeans who are appalled by the way you're treating them.

Edited by EngPhil

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No Answer from GS till now? Newsletter was a Movie Competion! MMMmh i think the Oscar goes to -..... Groundspeak for no Information about this Thing! Thanks GS!

 

There has NEVER been any business related announcement in the newsletter. There has never even been any news in the newsletter. Complaining that they are now ignoring you in the newsletter just makes you look like a complainer.

 

Here's my suggestion to all of you collectively. If you're going to quit, quit and get it over with. If you are not going to re-up your premium membership, then don't. If you are going to report them for tax fraud, do it.

 

This is the way that Groundspeak does business. It has been this way for quite some time, so for all of you to sit here and continually whine and place idle threats and not actually do anything, or add anything useful to the discussion, just makes you look like a bunch of whiners.

 

Anyone that thinks that Groundspeak is going to give them a personalized response about their accounting system, in a public forum, and then complains when it doesn't come, probably has much bigger problems going on then just being charged a couple of extra euros.

 

What else to expect from an American...

 

Edited to add: This discussion will keep on going until there is an answer. And even if there is not, it should keep going just to make more people aware that they are being cheated upon by G$ in several ways on this topic!

 

I am American but you can bet that i don't agree with Don_J. That's one of the problems with our society,, people turning their heads and not standing up for what is right. What i am seeing shouldn't be just swept under the rug. To be honest though, this is what i feel Groundspeak is hoping for. Maybe not swept under the rug but that the concern will lose interest and go away. I've seen it happen a few times on this website.

 

The basic membership fee for using the site should be the same for everyone. Taxes, vat, or other fees levied from beyond Groundspeak's control would simply be added at checkout. To surprise customers with an arbitrary price and say it covers fluctuations and the such is not right.

 

Where did I say that people shouldn't stand up for their rights? If anything, I said that they should stop complaining and actually do something. Words without action don't mean anything. Either you accept it or you do something about it, complaining just makes you a complainer.

 

Personally, I don't know how anyone can read Geodarts explanation of the tax system and not accept it for what it is. It's sad that some guy in California has a better grasp on this than all of the people over there that it actually applies to. If you do accept it but are simply pissed that Groundspeak didn't notify you, get over it.

 

No, you didn't say specifically that people shouldn't stand up for their rights. At least for me however, it did come across as implying this. Calling people whiners and telling them things like "If you're going to quit, quit and get it over with" doesn't help with this complaint.

 

I understand and agree with your "words without action" statement. I figure that Groundspeak reads and takes into consideration, some of the concerns voiced here in the forums. However, i also figure that they know that the thread will eventually die and go away if they simply don't do anything. Writing to Groundspeak first, and then if nothing's done, not renewing your premium membership are probably the better ways to let them know how serious your concern is.

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It's a shame that Groundspeak lacked the gonads to just come clean about what they were going to do and why from the beginning rather than throwing out a few tidbits of information that literally left European customers wondering why a decade-old law was suddenly being followed, why nobody had the gonads to just tell us that the price was going up as a result of taxes, and what Groundspeak thinks they can achieve by providing just enough information to cause people to suspect they may be using a tax most of us hate as a way of increasing their own profit margins.

 

 

This rather sums it up from my perspective.

 

Gonads=0

 

:(

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It's a shame that Groundspeak lacked the gonads to just come clean about what they were going to do and why from the beginning rather than throwing out a few tidbits of information that literally left European customers wondering why a decade-old law was suddenly being followed, why nobody had the gonads to just tell us that the price was going up as a result of taxes, and what Groundspeak thinks they can achieve by providing just enough information to cause people to suspect they may be using a tax most of us hate as a way of increasing their own profit margins.

 

 

This rather sums it up from my perspective.

 

Gonads=0

 

:(

 

I think that we are now at the lack of gonads stage, but I don't that is where it started. I think that it started with a basic lack of understanding as to who their customers are. That, and the mistaken belief that our loyalty will eventually overcome whatever they throw at us. They may have shot themselves in the foot this time. It's not banning ALRs, or forcing grey icons on us, it's about money and trust. You screw with those, it can be a long road back.

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It's a shame that Groundspeak lacked the gonads to just come clean about what they were going to do and why from the beginning rather than throwing out a few tidbits of information that literally left European customers wondering why a decade-old law was suddenly being followed, why nobody had the gonads to just tell us that the price was going up as a result of taxes, and what Groundspeak thinks they can achieve by providing just enough information to cause people to suspect they may be using a tax most of us hate as a way of increasing their own profit margins.

 

 

This rather sums it up from my perspective.

 

Gonads=0

 

:(

 

I think that we are now at the lack of gonads stage, but I don't that is where it started. I think that it started with a basic lack of understanding as to who their customers are. That, and the mistaken belief that our loyalty will eventually overcome whatever they throw at us. They may have shot themselves in the foot this time. It's not banning ALRs, or forcing grey icons on us, it's about money and trust. You screw with those, it can be a long road back.

My thoughts are nearly the same. Since even non-EU charter members are considering to let their PM lapse because of this incident, it clearly isn't just about the money.

 

I didn't become a PM because of the benefits, I've always treated the charges like a donation to a non-profit association. My mistake, won't happen again.

I also believe that Bryans statement will stay the ultimate answer to this discussion, regardless of how many people felt insulted by it. GS is not able to come up with a better explanation.

 

GS relies on the fact that most people won't notice, let's see if it works out. Hopefully there will be enough "voting with my credit card" members to steepen their lurning curve.

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I wonder how many people haven't renewed there premium membership over this.....

I am on that list....

although i notice under my avatar is says premium member.. i haven't renewed, go figure...

Edited by ZRXRider

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Americans get to play more of the game than we do anyway. Of the 18 cache icons you can get, only 14 of them are available outside of America. Therefore, as we only get to play 14/18's of the game here in the Rest of the World, we should only pay 14/18's of the price. Instead we are being asked to pay another $8.50 approx at current prices compared to what the Americans do. Which is approx 23/18's of the price. How does that work? People that can play all the game pay 18/18's of the price, and people that can only play 14/18's of the game have to pay 23/18's of the price. To use an Americanism "You do the math..."

 

My own personal preference is to wait until a week or so before renewal time, download as much cache info as possible (i.e. PQs etc), and then cache on this old data for a month or so before renewing a month or two later, thereby effectively paying the same amount as I did before. Of course, if I have to get to 14/18's of the price, this will take a little longer :angry:

 

Perhaps GS need to recruit a PR consultant?

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Americans get to play more of the game than we do anyway. Of the 18 cache icons you can get, only 14 of them are available outside of America. Therefore, as we only get to play 14/18's of the game here in the Rest of the World, we should only pay 14/18's of the price. Instead we are being asked to pay another $8.50 approx at current prices compared to what the Americans do. Which is approx 23/18's of the price. How does that work? People that can play all the game pay 18/18's of the price, and people that can only play 14/18's of the game have to pay 23/18's of the price. To use an Americanism "You do the math..."

 

My own personal preference is to wait until a week or so before renewal time, download as much cache info as possible (i.e. PQs etc), and then cache on this old data for a month or so before renewing a month or two later, thereby effectively paying the same amount as I did before. Of course, if I have to get to 14/18's of the price, this will take a little longer :angry:

 

Perhaps GS need to recruit a PR consultant?

 

Just because you choose to place value on worthless icons doesn't make this a valid argument. If that is what this thread has been reduced to, Groundspeak is already on the way to putting this well behind them. They understand money, not reasoning (valid or flawed). You (collectively) only have one bargaining chip. Are you really prepared to withhold it? Time will tell. That is the only thing they are watching.

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To be clear, only new/nonrecurring members will be paying the new rates. If you have a recurring membership, you are locked in at the rates you have always been paying.

 

(I haven't read the posts after this one I'm replying on now, so maybe someone else replyed on this before.)

 

Dear Moun10Bike,

what are you trying to tell me: I'm a Premium Member for at least 4 years now, but only with non-recurring payments. And now you're telling me, that I'm a Premium Member with a minor status, even though I payed the same full amount than every other PM? I now have to pay 33% more, just because I have chosen the wrong way of payment? Is Groundspeak now dividing between Members, Premium Members and Premium Premium Members? Well, thank you very much for this unbelievable arrogant kick in the a...

 

That makes my decision to renew or not renew much more easy: Thank you for the wonderful past 6 years of geocaching with Groundspeak and bye bye.

Edited by westpier scouts
potty language removed

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what are you trying to tell me: I'm a Premium Member for at least 4 years now, but only with non-recurring payments. And now you're telling me, that I'm a Premium Member with a minor status, even though I payed the same full amount than every other PM? I now have to pay 33% more, just because I have chosen the wrong way of payment? Is Groundspeak now dividing between Members, Premium Members and Premium Premium Members? Well, thank you very much for this unbelievable arrogant kick.

 

I believe the promise was always:

 

As long as you continue to renew your membership, you will always be guaranteed the rate at which you first became a Premium Member!

 

(Yes, I do happen to have a copy of that page saved off from when I first became Premium.)

 

No mention of recurring payments there at all.

Edited by Keystone
potty language removed in quoted post

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I wonder how many people haven't renewed there premium membership over this.....

I am on that list....

although i notice under my avatar is says premium member.. i haven't renewed, go figure...

 

That won't change until you sign out and then back in.

 

If only the few who have complained in this thread fail to renew, it won't mean squat.

 

If they all tell ten friends, who in turn tell ten friends, who in turn...and ALL of those people fail to renew...THEN the message will be received.

 

You can stomp your little feet and hold your breath until Mount Rainier erupts and buries Seattle under 20 feet of volcanic ash and it won't matter.

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Americans get to play more of the game than we do anyway. Of the 18 cache icons you can get, only 14 of them are available outside of America. Therefore, as we only get to play 14/18's of the game here in the Rest of the World, we should only pay 14/18's of the price. Instead we are being asked to pay another $8.50 approx at current prices compared to what the Americans do. Which is approx 23/18's of the price. How does that work? People that can play all the game pay 18/18's of the price, and people that can only play 14/18's of the game have to pay 23/18's of the price. To use an Americanism "You do the math..."

 

My own personal preference is to wait until a week or so before renewal time, download as much cache info as possible (i.e. PQs etc), and then cache on this old data for a month or so before renewing a month or two later, thereby effectively paying the same amount as I did before. Of course, if I have to get to 14/18's of the price, this will take a little longer :angry:

 

Perhaps GS need to recruit a PR consultant?

 

Just because you choose to place value on worthless icons doesn't make this a valid argument. If that is what this thread has been reduced to, Groundspeak is already on the way to putting this well behind them. They understand money, not reasoning (valid or flawed). You (collectively) only have one bargaining chip. Are you really prepared to withhold it? Time will tell. That is the only thing they are watching.

 

I'm glad that I read your response as I was getting ready to offend everybody again. :) Heck, I'd have to travel 1150 miles to get three of those icons and to wherever the Maze might happen to be to get the fourth, you over twice as far. I guess AmayaTom would have to travel quite a bit further, but no one is preventing them from doing so.

Edited by Don_J

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what are you trying to tell me: I'm a Premium Member for at least 4 years now, but only with non-recurring payments. And now you're telling me, that I'm a Premium Member with a minor status, even though I payed the same full amount than every other PM? I now have to pay 33% more, just because I have chosen the wrong way of payment? Is Groundspeak now dividing between Members, Premium Members and Premium Premium Members? Well, thank you very much for this unbelievable arrogant kick.

 

I believe the promise was always:

 

As long as you continue to renew your membership, you will always be guaranteed the rate at which you first became a Premium Member!

 

(Yes, I do happen to have a copy of that page saved off from when I first became Premium.)

 

No mention of recurring payments there at all.

 

I've been a PM since '05 and I don't recall even seeing this. Where exactly was it posted? On a payment confirmation page or something. I'm not disputing that it didn't exist, I'm just surprised that I never saw it, despite renewing seven times.

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As long as you continue to renew your membership, you will always be guaranteed the rate at which you first became a Premium Member!

 

(Yes, I do happen to have a copy of that page saved off from when I first became Premium.)

 

No mention of recurring payments there at all.

 

I've been a PM since '05 and I don't recall even seeing this. Where exactly was it posted? On a payment confirmation page or something. I'm not disputing that it didn't exist, I'm just surprised that I never saw it, despite renewing seven times.

 

It was on the signup page, https://www.geocaching.com/Membership/default.aspx -- a page which no longer exists, but now redirects to one with no such promise.

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As long as you continue to renew your membership, you will always be guaranteed the rate at which you first became a Premium Member!

 

(Yes, I do happen to have a copy of that page saved off from when I first became Premium.)

 

No mention of recurring payments there at all.

 

I've been a PM since '05 and I don't recall even seeing this. Where exactly was it posted? On a payment confirmation page or something. I'm not disputing that it didn't exist, I'm just surprised that I never saw it, despite renewing seven times.

 

It was on the signup page, https://www.geocaching.com/Membership/default.aspx -- a page which no longer exists, but now redirects to one with no such promise.

 

Thanks. I guess I saw the 2005 version of that page and I don't recall anything about a locked in rate. That doesn't mean that it was there, but I'm wondering if it was added later. I've never had a reason to look at the page since as I have always simply responded to the link in the reminder email, which brought me straight to the payment system.

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Thanks. I guess I saw the 2005 version of that page and I don't recall anything about a locked in rate. That doesn't mean that it was there, but I'm wondering if it was added later. I've never had a reason to look at the page since as I have always simply responded to the link in the reminder email, which brought me straight to the payment system.

 

The 2005 version ( http://www.geocaching.com/subscribe/ ) contained the text:

 

In appreciation for supporting the web site, you will be locked in at the current rate as long as you continue to renew.

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Thanks. I guess I saw the 2005 version of that page and I don't recall anything about a locked in rate. That doesn't mean that it was there, but I'm wondering if it was added later. I've never had a reason to look at the page since as I have always simply responded to the link in the reminder email, which brought me straight to the payment system.

 

The 2005 version ( http://www.geocaching.com/subscribe/ ) contained the text:

 

In appreciation for supporting the web site, you will be locked in at the current rate as long as you continue to renew.

It can be found at the "Way-back-machine" at archive.org: http://web.archive.org/web/20050829125729/http://www.geocaching.com/subscribe/

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Thanks. I guess I saw the 2005 version of that page and I don't recall anything about a locked in rate. That doesn't mean that it was there, but I'm wondering if it was added later. I've never had a reason to look at the page since as I have always simply responded to the link in the reminder email, which brought me straight to the payment system.

 

The 2005 version ( http://www.geocaching.com/subscribe/ ) contained the text:

 

In appreciation for supporting the web site, you will be locked in at the current rate as long as you continue to renew.

It can be found at the "Way-back-machine" at archive.org: http://web.archive.o....com/subscribe/

 

I was doing the very same reseach. :)

 

I found it in 2011/02/09 version http://web.archive.o...ip/default.aspx

 

and the exact statement, was:

 

"

Support Geocaching.com<br style="color: rgb(66, 66, 66); font-family: Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 14px;">Support the development and maintenance of the Geocaching.com site. As long as you continue to renew your membership, you will always be guaranteed the rate at which you first became a Premium Member!

"

But, as other said that proved to be a silly promise. And soon or later GS would be forced to abandon it. The problem is the lack of comunication and respect for its customers that GS persistently shows. A clear, direct and honest comunication and I think we all would understand the need to move forward with the price policy.

 

edit: "2011/02/09"

Edited by MAntunes

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"

Support Geocaching.com<br style="color: rgb(66, 66, 66); font-family: Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 14px;">Support the development and maintenance of the Geocaching.com site. As long as you continue to renew your membership, you will always be guaranteed the rate at which you first became a Premium Member!

"

But, as other said that proved to be a silly promise. And soon or later GS would be forced to abandon it. The problem is the lack of comunication and respect for its customers that GS persistently shows. A clear, direct and honest comunication and I think we all would understand the need to move forward with the price policy.

 

I'm not so sure that the promise in itself was so silly - they could have kept that promise to those they'd made it to, even if they had to stop making it going forward.

 

Over time, a smaller proportion of their members would be locked in, so their impact would be minimal -- especially when compared with the impact of losing them entirely, and the negative goodwill caused by poor treatment of their most loyal customers.

Edited by EngPhil

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... The problem is the lack of comunication and respect for its customers that GS persistently shows. A clear, direct and honest comunication and I think we all would understand the need to move forward with the price policy.

 

This is exactly the point!

Nothing is forever. A clear statement like "We're working hard to improve Geocaching for you, please help us to help you. We have to raise the annual fee to an amount of XXX USD" for all PM's worldwide and only a few people would complain.

But to raise the membership costs without prior announcement, just for some PM's (the Europeans) and there just for those who klicked the wrong PM-renewal button, lackeys bringing some flimsy excuse and still no official Groundspeak statement is extremely unprofessional and an arrogant slap in the face of all the eejits like me, who are paying for Groundspeaks profits.

 

To be honest: Yes, I'll miss the pocket querys, but I won't let someone treat me like a doormat. My PM-renewal is now due, but I will not extend my Premium Membership under these circumstances.

Edited by westpier scouts

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Thanks. I guess I saw the 2005 version of that page and I don't recall anything about a locked in rate. That doesn't mean that it was there, but I'm wondering if it was added later. I've never had a reason to look at the page since as I have always simply responded to the link in the reminder email, which brought me straight to the payment system.

 

The 2005 version ( http://www.geocaching.com/subscribe/ ) contained the text:

 

In appreciation for supporting the web site, you will be locked in at the current rate as long as you continue to renew.

It can be found at the "Way-back-machine" at archive.org: http://web.archive.o....com/subscribe/

 

I was doing the very same reseach. :)

 

I found it in 2011/02/09 version http://web.archive.o...ip/default.aspx

 

and the exact statement, was:

 

"

Support Geocaching.com<br style="color: rgb(66, 66, 66); font-family: Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 14px;">Support the development and maintenance of the Geocaching.com site. As long as you continue to renew your membership, you will always be guaranteed the rate at which you first became a Premium Member!

"

But, as other said that proved to be a silly promise. And soon or later GS would be forced to abandon it. The problem is the lack of comunication and respect for its customers that GS persistently shows. A clear, direct and honest comunication and I think we all would understand the need to move forward with the price policy.

 

edit: "2011/02/09"

 

I am glad that the original promise was found. I would've bet big money that i had read that a time or two in the past. It's not a silly promise that cannot be realized since it affects only those who joined when the promise was in affect. In addition to joing at the right time, those members would then have to keep their membership active. Groundspeak could change or take the promise away at anytime but they should honor the promise for those who joined under it. Hopefully gs will do just that. Anyone joining up after would be under the terms listed at that point in time and should be locked in to anything promised at that time.

 

To be honest, i figure Groundspeak is covering costs and making a tidy profit to boot. As with many companies and individuals who succeed, they simply want more! Of course this is all well and good but they do need to watch how they go about accomplishing it. Communication with it's customers is one thing Groundspeak needs to get better at. Another, they definitely need to make sure not to be, or at least look, "shady" to their customers..

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Thanks. I guess I saw the 2005 version of that page and I don't recall anything about a locked in rate. That doesn't mean that it was there, but I'm wondering if it was added later. I've never had a reason to look at the page since as I have always simply responded to the link in the reminder email, which brought me straight to the payment system.

 

The 2005 version ( http://www.geocaching.com/subscribe/ ) contained the text:

 

In appreciation for supporting the web site, you will be locked in at the current rate as long as you continue to renew.

It can be found at the "Way-back-machine" at archive.org: http://web.archive.o....com/subscribe/

 

I was doing the very same reseach. :)

 

I found it in 2011/02/09 version http://web.archive.o...ip/default.aspx

 

and the exact statement, was:

 

"

Support Geocaching.com<br style="color: rgb(66, 66, 66); font-family: Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 14px;">Support the development and maintenance of the Geocaching.com site. As long as you continue to renew your membership, you will always be guaranteed the rate at which you first became a Premium Member!

"

But, as other said that proved to be a silly promise. And soon or later GS would be forced to abandon it. The problem is the lack of comunication and respect for its customers that GS persistently shows. A clear, direct and honest comunication and I think we all would understand the need to move forward with the price policy.

 

edit: "2011/02/09"

 

Well, I now have a whole new perspective. The 2005 version says "locked in". The 2009 version says "guaranteed". One is a promise, the other a guarantee. Neither say anything about auto-renewal. both say "as long as you continue to renew".

 

I can't believe that they are breaking a promise or failing to honor a guarantee. You can't just delete it from the website and pretend that it never existed.

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... The problem is the lack of comunication and respect for its customers that GS persistently shows. A clear, direct and honest comunication and I think we all would understand the need to move forward with the price policy.

 

This is exactly the point!

Nothing is forever. A clear statement like "We're working hard to improve Geocaching for you, please help us to help you. We have to raise the annual fee to an amount of XXX USD" for all PM's worldwide and only a few people would complain.

But to raise the membership costs without prior announcement, just for some PM's (the Europeans) and there just for those who klicked the wrong PM-renewal button, lackeys bringing some flimsy excuse and still no official Groundspeak statement is extremely unprofessional and an arrogant slap in the face of all the eejits like me, who are paying for Groundspeaks profits.

 

To be honest: Yes, I'll miss the pocket querys, but I won't let someone treat me like a doormat. My PM-renewal is now due, but I will not extend my Premium Membership under these circumstances.

 

Have you written them and told them that? Odds are that they stopped reading this forum thread about 400 posts ago.

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<snippage> Communication with it's customers is one thing Groundspeak needs to get better at. Another, they definitely need to make sure not to be, or at least look, "shady" to their customers..

 

That's actually the nub of the problem I think.

 

I assume American customers in states that charge sales tax pay extra for that sales tax? I assume the amount varies by state? Or at least, that sales tax is collected at some point. If, suddenly, they're liable for tax in the EU (and presumably other territories at some point in the future) then **say so** up front and in advance. Let people know prices will go up. Convince them that you're being honest and open about this and that the benefits of membership (which many apparently hold to be really quite high) outweigh the extra costs incurred.

 

But if you can't communicate with your customers and you're an e-business there's a major institutional problem somewhere along the line that needs to be dealt with.

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I assume American customers in states that charge sales tax pay extra for that sales tax? I assume the amount varies by state? Or at least, that sales tax is collected at some point.

 

Will they just up PM to, let's say US40 and say it "includes sales tax" or will they charge US$30 and add the correct amount? We all know how they, after long and hard thinking about it, solved the simple percentage calculation for EU customers.

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Odds are that they stopped reading this forum thread about 400 posts ago.

 

I doubt it as they seem capable to edit/delete posts within minutes after they are posted.

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<snippage> Communication with it's customers is one thing Groundspeak needs to get better at. Another, they definitely need to make sure not to be, or at least look, "shady" to their customers..

 

That's actually the nub of the problem I think.

 

I assume American customers in states that charge sales tax pay extra for that sales tax? I assume the amount varies by state?

No, only PM's in Washington are charged sales tax. That is incorrectly charged because all Washington residents pay the rate for Seattle. Seattle has the highest rate in the state, there are localities where the sales tax is nearly 2% less than Seattle. If the interstate sales tax law ever passes then they are going to need to charge sales tax for all US sales, except for five states that do not have sales tax. The law, if passed, will require the rate to be correctly charged by locality. Where I live it is 0.9% less but I'm still charged the Seattle rate.

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Odds are that they stopped reading this forum thread about 400 posts ago.

 

I doubt it as they seem capable to edit/delete posts within minutes after they are posted.

 

That just means that the volunteer forum moderator is doing his job. It has no relevance on if any actual Groundspeak employees are paying attention.

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Does anybody know a responsible EU/German/British etc. authority (with e-mail or address) where we can report the behaviour from Groundspeak:

Net price is not stated, VAT percentage is not stated, VAT ID is not published at their web site, no invoice and so on.

I checked other companies like Amazon and ebay. All of them have done this, sure, because it is legally required.

In the meantime we have a web site from an authority where we can complain.

But what about the rest of the countries? E.g. I could not find an address or an e-mail for Germany where I could complain about irregular VAT business.

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E.g. I could not find an address or an e-mail for Germany where I could complain about irregular VAT business.

Try your local Finanzamt or the nearest Hauptzollamt. But as G$ claims to be registered in the UK a complaint to HMRC will do the trick anyway.

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No, only PM's in Washington are charged sales tax. That is incorrectly charged because all Washington residents pay the rate for Seattle. Seattle has the highest rate in the state, there are localities where the sales tax is nearly 2% less than Seattle. If the interstate sales tax law ever passes then they are going to need to charge sales tax for all US sales, except for five states that do not have sales tax. The law, if passed, will require the rate to be correctly charged by locality. Where I live it is 0.9% less but I'm still charged the Seattle rate.

 

OK - I seem to recall the same thing always applying to physical goods as well - you only pay the sales tax if you live in the state it's sold in, not in any other state? Yes? And, I guess, that applies to services such as this within the US but not in other territories where different laws come into play?

 

I think I got that right, yes?

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No, only PM's in Washington are charged sales tax. That is incorrectly charged because all Washington residents pay the rate for Seattle. Seattle has the highest rate in the state, there are localities where the sales tax is nearly 2% less than Seattle. If the interstate sales tax law ever passes then they are going to need to charge sales tax for all US sales, except for five states that do not have sales tax. The law, if passed, will require the rate to be correctly charged by locality. Where I live it is 0.9% less but I'm still charged the Seattle rate.

 

OK - I seem to recall the same thing always applying to physical goods as well - you only pay the sales tax if you live in the state it's sold in, not in any other state? Yes? And, I guess, that applies to services such as this within the US but not in other territories where different laws come into play?

 

I think I got that right, yes?

 

The laws vary from State-to-State. In Texas (currently, anyway) you pay sales tax if the selling entity has any "physical presence" in the state. For instance, Amazon has a distribution center in Texas, so Texans pay sales tax when they buy from Amazon.

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No, only PM's in Washington are charged sales tax. That is incorrectly charged because all Washington residents pay the rate for Seattle. Seattle has the highest rate in the state, there are localities where the sales tax is nearly 2% less than Seattle. If the interstate sales tax law ever passes then they are going to need to charge sales tax for all US sales, except for five states that do not have sales tax. The law, if passed, will require the rate to be correctly charged by locality. Where I live it is 0.9% less but I'm still charged the Seattle rate.

 

OK - I seem to recall the same thing always applying to physical goods as well - you only pay the sales tax if you live in the state it's sold in, not in any other state? Yes? And, I guess, that applies to services such as this within the US but not in other territories where different laws come into play?

 

I think I got that right, yes?

I can't speak for other states but I did look this up on California's website last night. If I buy something from an Internet business that has a physical presence in California, they are supposed to collect the California State Sales Tax They are not supposed to collect for any individual locality that they or I may be located in. CA's sales tax is 7.5%. Where I live, you lump on LA County and LA City taxes, you're at 9.75%. I have no idea about WA, but it sounds like they have been bungling taxes for awhile now.

 

The laws vary from State-to-State. In Texas (currently, anyway) you pay sales tax if the selling entity has any "physical presence" in the state. For instance, Amazon has a distribution center in Texas, so Texans pay sales tax when they buy from Amazon.

Edited by Don_J

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The laws vary from State-to-State. In Texas (currently, anyway) you pay sales tax if the selling entity has any "physical presence" in the state. For instance, Amazon has a distribution center in Texas, so Texans pay sales tax when they buy from Amazon.

That is pretty much the case everywhere. That is the driving factor in the internet sales tax law, namely even without a presence the selling party needs to collect taxes from the buying party regardless of bricks and mortar presence. Of course some states have passed a law requiring the payment of use tax if sales tax is not collected. I'm sure everyone voluntarily pays the used tax when due. :)

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*snip*

Nothing is forever. A clear statement like "We're working hard to improve Geocaching for you, please help us to help you. We have to raise the annual fee to an amount of XXX USD" for all PM's worldwide and only a few people would complain.

But to raise the membership costs without prior announcement, just for some PM's (the Europeans) and there just for those who klicked the wrong PM-renewal button, lackeys bringing some flimsy excuse and still no official Groundspeak statement is extremely unprofessional and an arrogant slap in the face of all the eejits like me, who are paying for Groundspeaks profits.

 

To be honest: Yes, I'll miss the pocket querys, but I won't let someone treat me like a doormat. My PM-renewal is now due, but I will not extend my Premium Membership under these circumstances.

 

Have you written them and told them that? Odds are that they stopped reading this forum thread about 400 posts ago.

 

No, I haven't. I won't go begging. If they don't react on all these complaints, then I'll react my way. G$ is not the world. There are alternatives and they get even more attractive with every day, G$ refuses to take a stand.

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*snip*

Nothing is forever. A clear statement like "We're working hard to improve Geocaching for you, please help us to help you. We have to raise the annual fee to an amount of XXX USD" for all PM's worldwide and only a few people would complain.

But to raise the membership costs without prior announcement, just for some PM's (the Europeans) and there just for those who klicked the wrong PM-renewal button, lackeys bringing some flimsy excuse and still no official Groundspeak statement is extremely unprofessional and an arrogant slap in the face of all the eejits like me, who are paying for Groundspeaks profits.

 

To be honest: Yes, I'll miss the pocket querys, but I won't let someone treat me like a doormat. My PM-renewal is now due, but I will not extend my Premium Membership under these circumstances.

 

Have you written them and told them that? Odds are that they stopped reading this forum thread about 400 posts ago.

 

No, I haven't. I won't go begging. If they don't react on all these complaints, then I'll react my way. G$ is not the world. There are alternatives and they get even more attractive with every day, G$ refuses to take a stand.

 

It is not begging to send an email to them to tell them what has upset you, why, and what you are doing about it. That is really the only thing that puts a direct correlation between the loss of a premium membership and this issue. I seriously doubt Groundspeak will take the time to compare the ID's of expired memberships with the angry posters on this topic. Assuming, of course, that you want them to get a message from your decision. Just not renewing without saying anything, with their regular fluctuations in paid membership, will not even be a blip on their radar.

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No, I haven't. I won't go begging. If they don't react on all these complaints, then I'll react my way. G$ is not the world. There are alternatives and they get even more attractive with every day, G$ refuses to take a stand.

 

It is not begging to send an email to them to tell them what has upset you, why, and what you are doing about it. That is really the only thing that puts a direct correlation between the loss of a premium membership and this issue. I seriously doubt Groundspeak will take the time to compare the ID's of expired memberships with the angry posters on this topic. Assuming, of course, that you want them to get a message from your decision. Just not renewing without saying anything, with their regular fluctuations in paid membership, will not even be a blip on their radar.

 

Yes, normally I would agree with your opinion, but after reading about the experience TheGeckos made with writing G$, I'm sure G$ gives nothing about the concerns of it's customers:

My membership was due so I asked if Groundspeak would honour their previous promise not to increase my membership which was not auto renewal and received the following reply.

 

"Thank you for contacting us. I have reviewed your accounts in our system and even though you have been a Premium Member with us for several years, your account was not set-up to auto-renew.

We have stated that Premium Members with recurring memberships, that are set-up to auto-renew, will be grandfathered in the payment system and are not affected. They'll continue to pay their original rate.

I apologize for the frustration. As a courtesy, I have added 7 free days of Premium Membership to your accounts.

Let me know, if you have further questions and concerns."

 

So thanks Groundspeak for 7 free days amounting to about 57 Cents. Do I feel insulted, of course I do.

 

Just pleased someone has just gifted me a membership.

 

No, I won't write G$. I'm sure, they know what's going on here in this thread and not-reacting in any way is a total lack of respect for it's customers. Sad but true.

Geocaching is important in my life, but it IS NOT my life and breaking with G$ doesn't mean breaking with Geocaching in general

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I wrote an e-mail to GS, asking

- where I can see the percentage of the VAT and how much it is.

- if I get an invoice with the stated VAT for my PM

- where I can see the public VAT

(in my opinion all is legally required)

 

The only answer to all question was:

 

Thank you for your questions. We have talked to multiple experts who recommended that we do not display our VAT ID on our home page. VAT laws differ from country to country, and in our specific case, we are only required to state VAT included, which we are complying to.

 

If you still have doubts about the legitimacy of our business, feel free to do your research.

 

Best regards

 

...

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The only answer to all question was:

 

Thank you for your questions. We have talked to multiple experts who recommended that we do not display our VAT ID on our home page. VAT laws differ from country to country, and in our specific case, we are only required to state VAT included, which we are complying to.

 

If you still have doubts about the legitimacy of our business, feel free to do your research.

 

Best regards

 

...

I wonder what kind of "experts" they talked to (if any) and why they recommended not to give vital information. HMRC warns, that if a company doesn't give its VAT number customers should be careful...

 

To me it seems now even more likely that G$ does not pay VAT and is not registered with any European tax authority.

Edited by squirrel42

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To me it seems now even more likely that G$ does not pay VAT and is not registered with any European tax authority.

 

They sure do their best to make it look like they pocket the extra charges.

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I wrote an e-mail to GS, asking

- where I can see the percentage of the VAT and how much it is.

- if I get an invoice with the stated VAT for my PM

- where I can see the public VAT

(in my opinion all is legally required)

 

The only answer to all question was:

 

Thank you for your questions. We have talked to multiple experts who recommended that we do not display our VAT ID on our home page. VAT laws differ from country to country, and in our specific case, we are only required to state VAT included, which we are complying to.

 

If you still have doubts about the legitimacy of our business, feel free to do your research.

 

Best regards

 

...

 

This is rather curious. Groundspeak is not legally required to issue a VAT invoice under the special scheme for electronic services (VOES). I have no reason to believe that they are not following the VOES rules. But the fact remains that other companies using the same scheme provide the information you sought to varying degrees.

 

As I discussed in other posts, some companies see fit to display the applicable VAT percentages (Blake Quarterly Magazine); others do not provide a formal VAT invoice but still tell their customers the amount of VAT that is being added to the basic services (Amazon Web Services); others provide the VOES registration number either on the invoice or on a FAQ page (Tracker, HostGator, Kagi).

 

Bryan stated that Groundspeak would provide the VAT number if they could. I know of no reason why they cannot do so -- as the example of other business indicates. Unfortunately, Groundspeak has retreated from what Bryan stated and is now divulging information only if they believe it is legally required. That is a significant difference and one that will weigh heavily in my future decisions regarding this company.

 

The response you got does not meet Bryan's stated objective of providing better communication. Nor does it provide the kind of customer relationship that a business that depends on a community should foster. Groundspeak has absolutely no reason not to tell customers the amount of money they are paying for their services, and the amount of VAT that is being added to that. It is true that you can easily determine the amounts that are at issue, as I did in other posts for a few countries. But Groundspeak has utterly failed if their goal is communication and integrity.

 

It is very disappointing, although perhaps not surprising given Bryan's failure to follow up his post and how readily the company broke its contractural obligation not to raise rates for certain users. However, since Groundspeak has encouraged users to do independent research, has anyone tried to verify if they are registered under the VOES? I am not sure it can be done.

Edited by geodarts

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Groundspeak has increased the charges for a premium membership for European customers.

 

And now they want to make it a multi-stage puzzle (for those affected) to see where the money is going? :unsure:

 

REALLY? :angry:

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I also contacted GS and guess what answer I got:

 

Hello,

 

Thank you for your questions. We have talked to multiple experts who recommended that we do not display our VAT ID on our home page. VAT laws differ from country to country, and in our specific case, we are only required to state VAT included, which we are complying to.

 

If you still have doubts about the legitimacy of our business, feel free to do your research.

 

Best Regards,

 

Paige Edmiston

Community Manager

 

...

 

This is my answer via mail and via post:

 

To say it clear and simple. Yes, I have doubts about the legitimacy of taking VAT, as you are not able or willing to show me, how much you take. And due to the german law, taking VAT has the consequence to show the VAT - ID on your homepage(as basis for taking VAT) and to inform the customer, how much VAT you take (as basis for the controll, how much VAT you have to forward to the german finance minister). So please check again with your experts.

 

Instead of bringing solvation and a friendly and cooperative communication, you still answer in an arrogant and "we know, we are right, but we dont have to tell anyone some facts" way. We need your platform and you need our caches, so please act fair to the european cachers, which are a real big part of your customers. Just give us facts, informations to understand this. See, you started the changing by telling us, it is nice for us, because of the "no risk of exchange rate" and "no banking fees" (this information was only shown in Facebook and was deleted after a short time) ... and now it is only VAT ... and no further informations to all the cachers … a price increase, without telling your customers. What would you think, how would you feel as i.e. amazon would tell you informations like this ...

Edited by Chapeman

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Could it be possible that recurring membership is no longer available? I can see only the options "1 year" and "3 months".

Edited by dbox

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Could it be possible that recurring membership is no longer available? I can see only the options "1 year" and "3 months".

Klick on "1 year". It seems, that the non-recurring is no longer available.

 

But still they advertise the price at 30$ with no clue the price might vary for some countries...

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*snip*

Nothing is forever. A clear statement like "We're working hard to improve Geocaching for you, please help us to help you. We have to raise the annual fee to an amount of XXX USD" for all PM's worldwide and only a few people would complain.

But to raise the membership costs without prior announcement, just for some PM's (the Europeans) and there just for those who klicked the wrong PM-renewal button, lackeys bringing some flimsy excuse and still no official Groundspeak statement is extremely unprofessional and an arrogant slap in the face of all the eejits like me, who are paying for Groundspeaks profits.

 

To be honest: Yes, I'll miss the pocket querys, but I won't let someone treat me like a doormat. My PM-renewal is now due, but I will not extend my Premium Membership under these circumstances.

 

Have you written them and told them that? Odds are that they stopped reading this forum thread about 400 posts ago.

 

No, I haven't. I won't go begging. If they don't react on all these complaints, then I'll react my way. G$ is not the world. There are alternatives and they get even more attractive with every day, G$ refuses to take a stand.

 

Tell you what, get up out of your chair, walk over to the wall and have a conversation with it. You will probably get more satisfaction from that then you will preaching to the choir in this forum. Don't you get it? No one is paying attention. You need to write to them directly. Telling them that they are not getting your money until they address the issue is not begging.

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