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Ancestry.com / Marketing Practices

United States Review updated:
Ancestry has made a business of selling peoples' family history back to them over the years. I have never liked their way of sucking researchers in with a little free information and then requiring payment for a subscription just when you think you are getting somewhere. Don't know how easy it is to use their 14 day "free trial" subscription and then get out of it but I would certainly never give them a credit card number to try out their trial offer. I have been able to get much better and quicker information over the last 30 years using Rootsweb mail lists and message boards. My latest complaint about Ancestry.com relates to their "free" installations in State Historical Societies. Here in Minnesota, you can do free searches in Ancestry.com databases at the History Center but cannot print out the results or save them to media. The screen does let you "share" your results by sending them to anyone via email. Since I wasn't about copy a lot of detailed census information by hand, I sent about 10 census page images to my own email address. The Ancestry.com screen showed that each one of the 10 was emailed successfully. When I got home, all 10 were in my email inbox. I was able to open the first four with no problem but when I tried to open the fifth, the Ancestry.com site said I couldn't see anymore unless I signed up for their 14 day "free trial." So all the time I spent at the History Center finding and sending the last six pages of information was lost. Ancestry.com should at least warn people after they send four emails to the same person or should not allow sending emails for History Center installations at all - just another example of their distasteful marketing tactics. It is interesting, but not surprising, that it is not easy to find anywhere on their site to make complaints.


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  25th of Feb, 2011
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Try sending an email using this form: http://ancestry.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/ancestry.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php

Just make sure that you label it a complaint and inform the reader that you want the complaint logged in their official complaint log (or whatever they may call it). Usually with companies like this, customer services reps can't do a lot, but they can send the complaint to someone else with more authority. Believe it or not, but some policies do get affected this way.

If you're interested in the free trial, just make sure you get it cancelled completely if you don't want it billed. There are unofficial tutorials on how to do this here: http://www.familytreeshortcuts.com/avoiding-issues/
  6th of Jun, 2016
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
Ancestry is FRAUD! Do not repeat my mistake, beware of this scam!

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