Just a warning to be wary of so-called "free trials" on genealogy websites. I made the very serious mistake of signing up for a free, 14-day trial to FindMyPast.com.au. Or at least I thought
it was free.
After using the site for a while, I decided that it was not for me. The search is very difficult to use, their record coverage of the areas I am interested in is sketchy, and while I did like the newspapers, but BritishNewspaperArchive.co.uk have a much better search and UI. Overall I will stick with Ancestry, FamilySearch and subscribing direct with BNA when I want access to newspapers.
So I thought to cancel the trial. I logged on to my FMP account, found the subscriptions area under my account, clicked the cancel free trial button and thought that was that. I received an email confirmation shortly afterwards that reassured me:
Your free trial has been cancelled...
We're sorry that you have decided not to continue with your subscription on findmypast. As requested we have cancelled your free trial and you will not be charged.
Almost too easy... For not 10 minutes later I received another email from FMP:
Thank you for renewing your 1 Month World Subscription. Your payment has been processed.
Your payment details are as follows:
Package: 1 Month World Subscription
Reference: << a reference number >>
Amount: $19.95 AUD
Woah! This isn't what I expected! I cancelled my free trial and FMP confirmed the cancellation AND confirmed that I would not be charged for anything and now they have helped themselves to $19.95 from my card.
I immediately emailed their support, but so far have not heard anything from them. I tweeted my disgust and @findmypastAU replied that I should contact their support, so they know about the issue, but still nothing.
A 14-day free trial is only free if you do not charge your customers for it. When you say that customers can cancel at any time and confirm via email that they will not be charged, how can you then charge them? It seems I will have to trudge down to my bank and file a fraud complaint to have this fraudulent charge reversed.
From now on I will be recommending that anyone I know avoid FMP altogether and stick with the reputable genealogy sites.