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Barnes and Noble


Unauthorized membership renewal charges

Complaint Rating:  95 % with 62 votes
95% 62
I have been a member of Barnes and Noble since May last year. My husband asked me yesterday if we would like to renew it as we he had received the renewal notice in the mail and we were thinking about renewing it when we went to the store on weekend. This morning I was checking my credit card charges online and I came across a Barnes and Noble $25 membership renewal charge. I did not remember authorizing them to charge my account automatically. I called the store and then the member ship number they gave me. The complied to remove the charge. When I expressed my dissatisfaction from the incident, I was told when you open it at the store, you will automatically be renewed unless you tell them. That is nice. They solicited me and told me verbally about all the benefits and all I have to do is to fill in my information, but forgot to tell me about the renewal policy. Then they told me that the credit may take up to two months. This is close to fraud as I could have missed the charge or may have thought that I had bought a book at the store. Even though, I was going to renew the membership, I will NOT anymore and will stop shopping at that store. This is clearly BAD practice if not fraud.
Complaint comments Comments (34) Complaint country United States Complaint category Books


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 24th of Jun, 2009 by    0 Votes
Actually, when you fill out the paperwork, there is a little box right underneath where you sign your name that says explicitly to mark it if you do not want to renew automatically. If you failed to read the paper you were filling out, that is not Barnes and Noble's fault. It is clearly written right there! In addition, at the store I work at, most of us point it out to the customer (knowing that there are many who will simply ignore that portion of the paper) so that these situations can be avoided.
 11th of Jul, 2009 by    -4 Votes
Little box? It is pretty noticeable. I think it is bigger then what other companies display.
 2nd of Oct, 2009 by    -2 Votes
At my store, we also point out the box to customers signing up for the Membership, because there are many people who will fill out a form and sign their names with no idea what they are signing. If you would read the VERY SHORT disclaimer right above where you are signing, it basically says that you authorize signing up for automatic renewal of your membership card. DONT SIGN ANYTHING BEFORE READING IT!!! :/
 16th of Oct, 2009 by    +1 Votes
In my opinion, no renewal should be 'automatic' ** by default **. The checkbox should be to opt IN to auto-renewal. This is just another way the United States is SO FAR out of Europe's leagues. For privacy and security reasons, European countries use the Opt IN method instead of the Opt OUT method.

How much better for the reputation of a company to get customers to WANT to renew -- rather than trick and offend them with a *GOTCHA.*
 24th of Mar, 2010 by    +2 Votes
I do not understand how the charge was not communicated to you. Unless you did not provide the correct address or email, the company contacts you at least 30 days out and tells you that they are going to renew the card unless you tell them not to. I have had a membership for years, and it is a nice thing for me to enjoy it without having to worry about it being active or if I have the card with me.
 24th of Mar, 2010 by    0 Votes
Update: My store manager is now telling us that it is "illegal" for us to point this out to our customers! Shady business, man. She was getting upset because too many of our applications had the "opt-out" box checked. Unfortunately, her ethical viewpoint is not as important as her desire for profit. Sigh.
 25th of Sep, 2010 by    0 Votes
The box has been there for a while. You should probably read it.
 4th of Oct, 2010 by    0 Votes
It is a scam. When you sign up for a card, it should simply be a one-time option. The fact that Barnes & Noble uses this type of option - check the box if you don't want to be charged" tells me they are trying to scam people. Their own employees - the honest ones with integrity - know it is a scam or the "manager" would not complain that the "opt out option" is being selected. Shame on you Barnes & Noble for your lack of integrity.
 14th of Oct, 2010 by    +1 Votes
I didn't check the box on the application and still got the automatic renewal. I think the store clerk does the checking of the box for you whether you like it or not. You don't get to complain unless you notice it on your charge receipt. I saw it and when I called, they had to know ever little detail about me including my email address. If you get all kinds of spam from them you make all correspondence from them spam. What a scam!!!
 13th of Dec, 2010 by    0 Votes

Barnes & Noble - Gift scam
Barnes & Noble
United States

When I purchased a Nook Color from the B&N store, I was suggested to use gift cards for the purchase so that I can use a promotion to get $20 back, sweet right? The part they do NOT tell you is, if you return the product, all you get is $200 worth gift cards, NO option to credit your money back to your credit card. Basically, they render their product impossible to return. If you try to return it like I did, you get no money back, they steal your money, and you get stuck with a high amount of useless gift cards that you will never ever use.

My advise to everyone is steer clear of Barnes & Noble, since their business practices are dishonest. They do big mistakes as they did in my case, and they don't admit their mistake. All they care is how they can sit on your hard earned money, buy luring you by phony promotions to prevent you from ever being able to return their undesirable products. I am truly sorry to be so stupid to ever step in their store, at least you don't repeat my mistake!
 5th of Jan, 2011 by    -1 Votes
Your an idiot momscookies. Your supposed to check the box if you DONT want it to automatically renew.
 7th of Feb, 2011 by    -1 Votes
I had the same thing happen to me. When I tried to call and undo it, I was on hold for over an hour. They finally straightened it out but patronizing such a business is not something I want to be a part of. With a perfectly nice Borders down the street, I'll be taking my book buying business there.
 28th of Apr, 2011 by    +1 Votes
I am also a victim of this same deceitful practice. I'm a pretty sharp guy, and I'm very guarded about automatic renewals. I can assure you that the store clerk did not point me at the opt out box. And if this were a practice intended as anything other than trickery of their customers, B&N would have made it a point to have, just as posters above have suggested, made it an opt in box instead of an opt out box. At the very least, if they were conducting business in an honorable way, they would have made the check box more visible.

Here is what really bothers me. On a post above a person said that B&N notifies you prior to making the charge on your card. Had that happened, I would not have been so offended. But I did not receive this disclosure. And I sure didn't know they were storing my credit card information.

Shame on B&N. I was spending about $100 / year there. In order to take my business to a competitor, I'll now be willing to pay a higher price for my books if I need to.
 12th of Jul, 2011 by    +1 Votes
What you are referring to is probably their Christmas gift card promotion... you buy $100 worth of gc's and get a $10 gc for free. Then, you paid for your product with the gc's. Gc's are non-refundable in cash in almost all states and at almost all retailers. Nobody lured you.
 18th of Jan, 2013 by    0 Votes
I agree with the original poster that this practice borders on fraud (if not technically illegal). I myself have been a victim of Barnes and Noble's "auto-renewal" gimmick. The problem is that nobody purchasing a membership has a reason to anticipate auto-renewal unless they are verbally notified by the sales clerk at the time of purchase. Suppose I were to purchase a magazine at a store and pay for it via credit card. Suppose further that the credit card slip I signed included a special "auto-renewal" provision in fine print (which nobody would even think to look for when making a simple credit card purchase). I would feel cheated, even though I "signed the form". Barnes and Noble should be ashamed of itself. To make matters worse, they actually had the gall to renew my membership one month before it expired! Never trust a company that plays games like this.
 23rd of Feb, 2013 by    +2 Votes
I got hit with an unauthorized renewal fee as well--they changed the conditions on us without notice or approval. When I called to complain, they refused to refund the money because the transaction date was over 30 days old--nevermind that I received my credit card statement too late to meet their deadline. I am disputing the charge with my credit card company, wish me luck. I recommend that members actively cancel their account, what a mess.
 8th of May, 2013 by    +2 Votes
I received a charge on my credit card for a renewal fee and I have not been a member ever. Anyone else have this happen?
 13th of Aug, 2013 by    +1 Votes
I was renewed without my permission. I never saw any box nor was I told there was a box. How dare they renew my account which btw I didn't even know I had an account ince i only buy books there. I do not have a charge account there without my knowledge that is.
 14th of Feb, 2014 by    +1 Votes
I don't even remember even signing up for this membership. Discovered the auto-renewal two days ago, called up and told them to cancel my membership. They complied but I am still waiting for the bank to refund my money. I think I will call my bank today to make sure Barnes & Noble actually refunded my money. I am unemployed and due to the Senate not extending the unemployment benefits it sucks that B&N stole money out of my account. Another example of corporate America, behaving in a greedy, manipulative way. For Christmas, my son expressed that he wanted a Kindle instead of a Nook, said that B&N was having financial issues. He got his Kindle and I am most likely will be purchasing a Kindle myself after this incident.
 15th of Aug, 2014 by    0 Votes
I had the same thing happen. I received no email or letter. These addresses have not changed. What really bothered me: they charged a card that I did not use at the original time of sign-up. I got a new card in the mail a month before the automatic charge. It is linked to the same bank account. I called my bank. After investigating, the bank employee found that this was a "terminal" transaction. They somehow got my new card number and charged it. My bank immediately helped me file a fraud claim and refunded my money. The claim has not fully processed yet, but the bank assured me it was suspicious. Now I'll probably have to get a new card again! I'll never shop there again. And to everyone who said "read it closely": I have very poor eye sight, which glasses cannot completely correct. Believe it or not, surgery and glasses are not a cure-all.

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