Columbiahouse.com — Was tricked into a Columbia House membership, which still haunts me four years late
I, like many others, was tricked into a Columbia House membership, which still haunts me four years later. After I learned I had to decline their "director's choice" DVDs every three weeks, under penalty of being billed for something I wanted nothing to do with, I began looking for ways to cancel my membership. Needless to say, the company's customer service is a gauntlet designed to keep angry "customers" (a company like this has victims, not customers) at bay. With sites like consumeraffairs and compaintsboard alone you could fill a bookshelf with complaints of false advertising, extortion, harassment, and so on. Thus I gave up on trying to cancel my membership, and dutifully declined my DVDs every three weeks until the cutoff date, the point at which I would be billed for any unfulfilled membership buying requirements. This was when I began getting harassing, sometimes multi-daily, calls from NRA (National Recovery Agency) and more recently the Takhar Group. I have chosen to not dignify these immoral attack-dogs by answering their calls. This was all well and good, but in the meantime this could be damaging my credit and is certainly a nuisance at the very least. Worst of all, I have to experience this slow-motion implosion from the inside, and watch as others get trapped in the web of Direct Brands Inc and BookSpan, and all they encompass. When I think about it, it is clear that the crooks who started these parent companies had no intention fo being in business for the long run. It is perhaps the farthest thing from a "sustainable business model" I've ever had the horror of knowing. The intentionality is clear: They wanted to make a little money off their DVD, book, CD, etc. sales and an exponential fortune off late fees and whatever their collection henchmen could squeeze. To prey on the ignorant, unwilling, and stupid; how sad a company of people that would think to unleash this and call it "business." I hope this is a learning experience for those caught in the wake of this corruption, and a hearty push towards more consumer-centric legal precedents - such that we may prevent future reincarnations of this beast.