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The price increase is due to the high cost of Groundspeak converting GB£ to US$, as well as allegedly collecting some tax on behalf of the EU. The only problem is they won't confirm they are actually paying it.

 

http://forums.Ground...howtopic=309954

 

Under Reciprocal Trade Agreements with the US and EU, sales taxes due in each country for Goods bought from one Country or economic area , for delivery from either area to the other. Where Sales taxes are due on the item. The Originating Seller is Legally Required to collect the Sales Tax, and pay that to a Unified Collector in the particular Country or Economic Area.

 

In the case of Digital Subscriptions, which Premium Membership is. Under EU law [this can all be confirmed by contacting HMCR or a Net search] wherever they are purchased from, become Liable to VAT, when the person is resident in the EU. Again HMRC or the net can confirm this.

 

Groundspeak on doing a review, came across the fact that for a large number of years, they had been legally Liable to collect VAT off EU residents, for a Digital Subscription, for a number of years.

 

After negotiations with the Unified Collections Agency in the EU, which in Groundspeak's case is the UK's HMRC. Groundspeak now collect the relevant VAT amount liable for each Premium Membership, which is then paid to the Unified Collections Agency, who then forwards the relevant payment of VAT collected, to the persons Country of Residence within the EU, where the VAT is liable for payment.

 

By suggesting

as well as allegedly collecting some tax on behalf of the EU
you are insinuating that Groundspeak is committing a Criminal Act, in falsely charging VAT, and not paying that to the Unified Collections Agency. A criminal act in the US that is. Somehow I do not believe they would be stupid, to do such and post that they are collecting VAT, in a public forum, unless they are actually paying all such VAT collected, to HMRC as the Unified Collections Agency for the EU, especially as they are subject to US Accountancy Laws and Federal Tax Laws.

 

They have set the cost of Premium membership, in Dollars, converted that at the Exchange Rate at the specific time they were working things out. Then added a currency conversion fee. This was done, to stabilise the amount received, as in the past the exchange rate has been as low as £15 sterling, which when received, due to the fluctuations in the exchange rate, might have after currency conversion fee's been well under $30. As when recieved the Exchange rate might have risen to £19 Sterling.

 

Then VAT is charged on top of this, this is set by the EU and not Groundspeak, so if you have issues, with having to pay VAT, on the currency conversion fee. You need to take that point up with your MP or MEP. As Groundspeak are liable to apply VAT in the way set by the EU.Which is chargeable on the total amount payable [you pay VAT on Fuel Tax in the UK. Which is why fuel is so expensive]

 

As for the poor communication on the matter, well Groundspeak have been known to have poor communications with their customers, going way back to the early days of the company. Nothing new, and just something which is easy to get on with, as it does not affect you going out and find caches. Then again as the members from 2001/2/3 can tell you, that might be better, than a very brutally truthfully Jeremy posting. He did not take to fools, and people putting Geocaching and Groundspeak down, very lightly.

 

Deci

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As for the poor communication on the matter, well Groundspeak have been known to have poor communications with their customers, going way back to the early days of the company. Nothing new, and just something which is easy to get on with, as it does not affect you going out and find caches. Then again as the members from 2001/2/3 can tell you, that might be better, than a very brutally truthfully Jeremy posting. He did not take to fools, and people putting Geocaching and Groundspeak down, very lightly.

 

Deci

 

So Dave if your bank suddenly bunged a charge on your account(s) without telling you about it, you'd happily accept it on the basis that you bank's always been cr@p at communication so it's understandable that they didn't tell you about it and you shouldn't, as a customer, have the temerity to expect better? and you wouldn't dare complain because then the bank manager might be upset about it and might tell you where to go?

 

It's appalling that you think this is an acceptable way for a company to treat it's paying customers.

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I've read page after page of the VAT argument, and feel Groundspeak has been very open with everyone. I think (without being a lackey) that we need to focus on two key points and move towards a solution and not a continual rant trying to debunk a companies practices with suspicion as the only catalyst.

 

  • The collection and payment of VAT has been publicly acknowledged.
  • Free accounts are available as well as paid.

My first opinion is this. EU residents feel Groundspeak is breaking the law by not providing proof of their EU VAT registration number, but have been made aware TPTB are awaiting approval to release that info publicly. If we look apathetically at the situation this is a smaller American company, without an actual base in the UK. The possibility they aren't 100% up to speed I think is a likelihood. I believe in the benefit of the doubt, however, if you don't, you can swap to a basic account and hold out until the forthcoming promise has been realized or take action that has merit based in erudition.

 

My second opinion is if there are laws on the books requiring it, why not grab the text and message it to the CEO or file with some reporting agency locally instead of a public forum with no direct effect? I'm not trying to be combative but so many of us seem to be placing nefarious motives on what appears to be a company charging for services, augmented by government interference, and assume its all about generating a source of otherwise unavailable revenue.

 

Thank you and have a nice day!

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The change in the EU payment structure was announced in the Main forums, so it was not slid in completely under the radar. It has always been advisable to subscribe to the Topic areas in the Notices from Groundspeak area.

 

Deci

 

No it wasn't "announced", the first mention of it was here

 

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=309954&st=0

 

in response to a question asking why prices in Europe had suddenly been increased. So yes it was slid in under the radar and if you can find an "announcement" pre-dating that thread I'd be interested to see it. Even when that discussion started all the "shop front" pages selling premium membership quoted the price at $30, when you went to the PM upgrade page it still said $30, it was only when you clicked the payment button did the numbers mysteriously change to the higher price, with nothing to say that the price had suddenly gone up and no indication why.

 

I don't give a tinkers about the increase as it's too easy to circumvent, but It's a appalling way to treat paying customers and they only get away with it because there's no viable alternative.

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Greetings from Geocaching!

 

As far as we’re concerned, you’re now a Geocaching rock star. You not only

have full access to all the features on the site, but you also just showed your

Geocaching pride. Thank you!

 

Start using your Geocaching Premium membership now.

 

Happy geocaching,

Geocaching HQ

 

Now chill out dudes B)

Edited by Heol Y Nant Hobbits
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Until a couple of years ago, I used to Geocache with another disabled friend, I used to photograph the cache for her, if she couldn't manage to reach the target area.

 

Eventually, our E-trex, the most user unfriendly piece of equipment that I've ever encountered, finally gave up the ghost.

 

For a couple of months, we carried on with another, borrowed, E-trex, but inputting data using those rubber buttons, became too much for us, and we stopped.

 

One month ago, I purchased an Ipad mini, and yesterday discovered the "Groundspeak" app - wonderful!

 

I intend to "do" my first "Ipad-cache" this morning, but may I ask a question, please?

 

My caching pastime was free previously, when were payments introduced?

 

John, (bmwman)

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My caching pastime was free previously, when were payments introduced?

 

 

Premium membership was introduced many years ago, somewhere around 2002/3 IIRC , it's always been optional and still is. You can still do it for free like you used to, but paying for PM brings a number of additional features - e.g. you would have been able to download cache details to your GPS without inputting them manually. Things changed a bit wth the advent of smartphone apps and they are usually charged as many other app, but the Premium Membership is still there and still worthwhile if you're seriously into it.

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This post proves to me it's not just a tax issue that they have 'found' and decided to pay....

Not necessarily (to be fair) - they may have decided to pay the tax out of the money recurring members already pay, having decided, perhaps, that the technical issues associated with changing recurring billing and the associated customer service fallout might simply be too much of a cost.

 

Don't get me wrong, I think much of the whole issue was handled badly and will not now pay for the premium membership I was considering before the changes (on principle - I would still, if asked, contribute to a "server fund" for example). But I think you're probably being a little unfair on their motives there.

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Just checked back on bank accounts and we paid £10 the first year £19.33 last year and now it's £24.99.

Premium membership has always been $30/year. Of late there have been variants on this price as Groundspeak tries to find the best way to market something which is internally priced in dollars, but the base US price has been $30 since 2001/2. So I'm not sure how you managed to pay only £10 - maybe you only bought a 3-month trial, or you got a discount code - but any increases in the Sterling price are due to VAT, exchange rates, fluctuating bank/credit card charges, and the whole "what should we charge for this in market X" question which all companies that operate internationally have to go through. (Compare the US and UK price of any high-tech gadget!)

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The change in the EU payment structure was announced in the Main forums, so it was not slid in completely under the radar. It has always been advisable to subscribe to the Topic areas in the Notices from Groundspeak area.

 

Deci

 

No it wasn't "announced", the first mention of it was here

 

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=309954&st=0

 

in response to a question asking why prices in Europe had suddenly been increased. So yes it was slid in under the radar and if you can find an "announcement" pre-dating that thread I'd be interested to see it. Even when that discussion started all the "shop front" pages selling premium membership quoted the price at $30, when you went to the PM upgrade page it still said $30, it was only when you clicked the payment button did the numbers mysteriously change to the higher price, with nothing to say that the price had suddenly gone up and no indication why.

 

I don't give a tinkers about the increase as it's too easy to circumvent, but It's a appalling way to treat paying customers and they only get away with it because there's no viable alternative.

HEAR HEAR

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A warning for those who are relying on recurring membership to keep their sub to $29.99. If your payment method expires (as all credit cards do), you have to update it BEFORE Groundspeak attempts to take the payment. If you don't realise until after the payment fails, Groundspeak will send you nice emails asking you to update your payment information - but you won't be able to. You'll have to take out a new subscription at the higher rate.

 

Ian

:mad:

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As for the poor communication on the matter, well Groundspeak have been known to have poor communications with their customers, going way back to the early days of the company. Nothing new, and just something which is easy to get on with, as it does not affect you going out and find caches. Then again as the members from 2001/2/3 can tell you, that might be better, than a very brutally truthfully Jeremy posting. He did not take to fools, and people putting Geocaching and Groundspeak down, very lightly.

 

Deci

 

It's more than poor communication. When one of the lackeys explicitly promised that "if they were allowed to disclose the information they would" and this was subsequently overruled by another lackey saying "we don't have to tell you so we're not telling you" it demonstrates that promises made by Groundspeak mean nothing.

 

It's one thing to have poor communication, it's another thing entirely to make promises and then brazenly state you have no intention of keeping them.

 

It really is very difficult to draw any conclusion other than that Groundspeak regards its paying customers with utter contempt.

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I let mine lapse at the end of March as I wasn't already on the automatic deal when the price was hiked. It's a small protest but a move like Groundspeak's has to be viewed as an experiment and it's one experiment I'd like to see fail.

They pay 21% VAT in The Netherlands. And $29.99 for Premium Membership. Just sayin'. <_<

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My Premium membership has just renewed automatically.... £17.87 plus £0.49 that the bank charged me for an overseas transaction.

I thought this move was supposed to avoid any overseas transaction requirements?

Auto renewals that have been active a long time will be in the old dollar price and hence cheaper in total.

Edited by lodgebarn
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My auto-renewing membership happened ok. From my credit card:

30.00 USD AT 0.59500/GBP which equals £17.85 plus NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE £0.53 so £18.38 total

 

£1.50 a month to access a pretty functional website which has useful listings on seems quite reasonable IMHO. Much less than I pay for some other things, many of which are less fun!

 

They did seem to mess up the comms issue re VAT(again) and there's a fair confusion over different prices and things. I struggle to see Groundspeak as part of the Evil Empire though. I can think of worse organisations! B)

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