SUBMIT A COMPLAINT

Busuu.com / Shame on them for their awful business methods

Review updated:

Busuu.com claims to be a free language learning site. However, the free aspects of busuu.com are very limited. In order to get more benefit from this site, users are enticed to pay for a 'gold' membership for one, three or six months. Busuu.com will automatically renew the membership just before it runs out FOR THE SAME LENGTH OF TERM THAT THE MEMBERSHIP WAS INITIALLTY TAKEN OUT FOR, i.e. if you have taken out a 6 month membership, then busuu.com will automatically renew it for another six months if you have not cancelled before the end of the initial membership. Should you decide to cancel your membership, say after one month, you will already have paid for six months and busuu.com will NOT REFUND any money already paid, effectively tying you into a contract. Shame on them for their awful business methods.

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Comments

  • Bu
      Mar 09, 2011

    Dear Groned,
    thanks for your comment. We are sorry that you are disappointed by our service. Nevertheless we are informing CLEARLY on our subscription page that the membership will be renewed automatically (which is wanted by many of our happy customers which simply don´t want to fill out the payment info again month after month). You also have the chance to cancel your membership at ANY time and still enjoy the service until the end of the paid payment. Unfortunately we are not able to refund your membership just because you decided to cancel your e.g. 6 months membership after 1 month. That´s why we offer a monthly subscription in order to give you the chance to test our services. Anyhow you can test for free our premium membership for 7 days so we assume that once you subscribe you are sure about your decision. An automatic renewal is actually common business practice in many subscription based services such as e.g. mobile phone contract (imagine you would need to contract your mobile number every month again...), gym contract etc.
    Anyway we are sorry that apparently you didn´t like our services and we can assure you that we are continuously improving our platform and have recently received a 70% satisfaction rate among our premium users in an internal survey.
    The busuu.com team

    -5 Votes
  • Im
      Jul 05, 2011

    This seems like a pretty standard practice - but thanks for the heads up. I wouldn't call Busuu.Com a scam though!! I have used Busuu.com for only a couple short months and right now I am actually using my learned Italian while sitting in a hotel in Lake Como, Italy. $99 for 1 year of unlimited learning of multiple languages while their method ACTUALLY WORKS is a small price to pay and hardly classifiable as a scam.

    -3 Votes
  • Pa
      Jul 14, 2011

    It is true they warn us. Also it is the same everywhere. it is a contract so you can't stop whenever you want. The longer you take the cheapest it is. So if everybody cancel after 1 month then they won't never earn their living ! Do you think the gym clubs would allow you to stop your 12 months contract after 2 months for free ? well you should go out there if you don't know how it works.
    Busuu is free for a lot of stuff so why complaining ? If you want to go further you pay ! As simple as that !

    -1 Votes
  • La
      Aug 09, 2011

    It isn't a scam if you sign up for something with no refund policy and then decide to cancel. My gym, my college, and my violin teacher and my karate instructor all have the same type of contract. Because of this contract, I pay 12/month for the use of 24-Hour Fitness and less than $10/ month for Busuu. Busuu is comparable to Rosetta Stone in the benefit I am receiving, and talking to native speakers every day is so motivational!

    0 Votes
  • Sh
      Aug 27, 2011

    I bought the bussu app for my Android phone... The full version will NOT download. Their tech support keeps emailing me back instructions on how to fix it on an Iphone. I do NOT have an Iphone!
    I even bought an expensive new memory card just in case that was the problem! They will not refund or fix the bug that stops many users like me who cannot download what they paid for to their phones. I loved the free lessons... just wish I could get what I paid for or find something similar to it that actually WORKS!

    -1 Votes
  • Sh
      Aug 27, 2011

    K, I can't figure out how to delete my comment, but I voted it down.. .lol! It appears that they actually took the complaints from the Android users seriously and fixed the bug! I now have my purchase on my phone. The volume doesn't work on many of them, but I am confident that will be fixed soon too. Thanks busuu!

    +2 Votes
  • B
      Aug 28, 2011

    Just like every other online service such as Netflix, hulu, game subscriptions, etc. they will keep billing you every month unless you cancel the service. Not only do these companies tell you but it's so commonplace that its almost common sense. The less you know, the more you will get "ripped off.". Ignorance costs.

    -2 Votes
  • Kr
      Sep 20, 2011

    Busuu is a total disgrace. I had no idea that they would keep my details and use them in what seems a fraudulant way ie: they took a six months' further subscription amount from PayPal and even though I cancelled immediately on the day they took it, they have effectively stolen about £60 from me. They refuse to give it back. I used their site until I found out that there are so many mistakes in the courses, including some really bad English, that I gave up. The sad thing is that many people believe they are learning from correct content.
    I cannot afford someone purloining money off me. I am 82 years old. I come from a time when dubious profiteering was the rarity. I am disgusted at having been caught out.

    +3 Votes
  • Da
      Oct 04, 2011

    In my opinion Busuu is great. The people who are complaining about the "scam" have not read what they sign up for. This practice is standard. Most things you sign up for and get buyer's remorse will not come with a pro-rated refund. Wow, I would hate to think any of these people sign into an automobile lease or a cell phone contract. In fact these have a penalty for early cancelation.

    If you are interested in a scam, try Sirius Radio, or AOL, they continue to charge after you have caneceled and your initial plan runs out.

    -1 Votes
  • An
      Dec 06, 2011

    Busuu never responded to my complaints of a hacker who got into my busuu mailbox and deleted all incriminating correspondence regarding him/her. Also, I was disappointed with the course content. And I found too many were eager to use me for free English lessons or were only interested in "relationships" and not serious language study. So, I quit.

    +2 Votes
  • El
      Jan 28, 2012

    (1) Busuu does not publish any phone numbers, and replies to emails and online enquiries selectively.
    (2) If they inted to keep your credit card details, this NEVER should be a small print
    (3) If they are about to renew a YEARLY subscription, an advance warning is a practice that every decent company adheres to. The absence of warning when you are charging someone 70 euros, its a typical sign of a dishonest practice.

    +3 Votes
  • Ve
      Mar 14, 2012

    This guys do a scam membership. I was on a month-to-month membership for 3 months getting a feel for the website and stopped using it. Then I was automatically enrolled for a 12 month membership at their highest rate of $20.95/month. Busuu.com are not working with me to cancel or refund a membership I never signed up for and haven't used in 6 months. I am locked in to $262/year now. Absolute rubbish customer service, responding only with standard emails. Have never experienced this level of impersonal computerized customer service from any educational merchant.

    0 Votes
  • La
      Jul 06, 2012

    I think Busuu should have more control over the sort of people using their site. I am tired of guys thinking it is some sort of sex chat line and only wanting to have Webcam sex or show me part of their anatomy I really don't want to see!. I joined the site because I thought it was a language learning site but it seems to me there are lots of people using it for cheap thrills. As I tell them there are plenty of sites around for this. Please do something about this Busuu.

    0 Votes
  • Ka
      Jul 08, 2012

    Busuu.com is a scam!!!
    I had a one year premium membership and although I cancelled in time and even received am email confirming the cancellation they charged me again. When sending emails to them I just received a template email confirming cancellation to next year.
    I'm thinking of pressing charges for fraud.

    At least I made sure they cannot charge me again by cancelling the pre-approved subscription with PayPal.

    0 Votes
  • Mo
      Oct 21, 2012

    I'm very disappointed in busuu:( I signed on for only one month knowing they would automatically renew another if I did not cancel ahead of time. Two weeks into the program I called it quits.( Learning french) The speakers spoke to fast and pronunciation did not seem all important to learn. With french I think its vital!!! After ending my subscription two weeks ago I received an email saying that I was ONCE AGAIN A PREMIU M MEMBER. They completely disregarded my request in advance to end my subscription. I've tried yet again to unsubscribe so we'll see next month if they get it right.

    0 Votes
  • Bu
      Oct 29, 2012

    Dear all,
    We are sorry to hear that some of you were not aware that busuu operates on a subscription model and that your memberships were automatically renewed.
    Please note that we are informing users clearly on our subscription page that the membership will be renewed automatically. Every user actually has to tick a box to confirm that they agree with our terms & conditions.
    You also have the chance to cancel your membership at ANY time and still enjoy the service until the end of the payment term. Unfortunately we are not able to refund memberships just because users decide to cancel your e.g. 6 months membership after 1 month. That´s why we offer a monthly subscription in order to give you the chance to test our services.
    In addition, everyone can test our premium service for free for 7 days when first signing up with busuu, without having to commit to any membership.

    0 Votes
  • Ka
      Jan 15, 2013

    I'm triyng to contact busuu but they don't answer 2my e-mails and I can't find their new phone number. I called the Madrid's one and they told me busuu isn't there anymore. How can I contact a client service or something? I already paied for one year!!Few days ago, but then I changed e-mail and now I'm not able tu use my account...

    0 Votes
  • Fa
      Feb 15, 2013

    I bought premium yesterday with credit card and site said :

    if u bought with credit card upgrading your account take one or more hours

    and now im still waiting to they upgrade my account to premium

    i paid 54 usd for 1 year premium -_-

    0 Votes
  • Gl
      Feb 15, 2013

    Bought the app. No mention of any monthly subscription. Now cannot access the app I paid for. Have to pay 16.99 to access language lessons already previously paid for. Busuu refuses to respond to my emails. Busuu is a scam. Apple should have nothing to do with them.

    +1 Votes
  • An
      Feb 16, 2013

    Absolutely definitely they are a SCAM

    DO NOT BUY their android application levels. I just downloaded busuu mandarin, and purchased A1 and A2 levels, which busuu will not give access to me. The error for downloading the levels i've bought reads

    "Sorry, something went wrong with the download. To retry download, please start over the purchase process again (You won't be charged again!). Be sure to be connected to a reliable connection and do not quit the app."

    Again absolute garbage, redownloading does not work, retrying the process also does - nothing, you will not get the software to download the content which is what you paid for, you get left with a bill and whatever was free for download originally.

    I will be doing a credit chargeback with these scammers who dont even have any techsupport or any level for app support to resolve this issue.

    +1 Votes
  • Fa
      Feb 18, 2013

    still im waiting for they activate my premium 4 day passed

    0 Votes
  • Ll
      Mar 04, 2013

    They are scammers. Absolutely no customer service at all. Standard form letters, hiding behind their terms and conditions regarding auto renewal of subscriptions. I sent them a request to stop the auto renewal of an account I hadn't used, but fulfilled my obligation in paying for, on the same day they renewed it, and they can't even be bothered to answer, other than their standard form letter that auto renewal is in their terms and conditions.

    There are much better options out there for learning languages from companies who have decent, personal, humane customer service practices. I would likely have been a returning customer when I needed language help for upcoming travel, but the way they treat their customers, especially with regard to auto renewals is very short sighted, not the way to build a solid loyal returning customer base.

    +2 Votes
  • Ra
      Mar 10, 2013

    I agree with many people on this forum, and I think it's laughable that busuu keeps commenting that everyone agrees to their terms and conditions and thus agrees to the automatic renewal of subscriptions. Yes, that is very true - I did agree to the terms of use and to automatic renewal. I admit that. But I've done the same thing for other services as well, but the difference is, legit businesses that actually care about how they treat their customers and care about keeping their customers happy don't steal money from their customers, and kindly send a warning message in advance that the customer's account is about to be renewed and charged. I had almost $100 stolen from me because busuu made me agree to an automatic renewal and took advantage of the fact that a whole year later I would most likely forget about that. It is disgraceful and insulting to be treated like this. I hope they never claim that they "value" their customers, because that is complete BS. Thank you for taking advantage of me, busuu. I will do my best to keep people from using your service in the future, knowing that you will, in all likelihood, rip them off too.

    0 Votes
  • Mm
      Mar 20, 2013

    I paid 1 month Premium account and cancelled subsequent subscription for next months. But next month I was charged again! Why is that? Are you gonna charge me every month???

    0 Votes
  • Mm
      Mar 28, 2013

    After a week since I've contacted Busuu support team, money were returned to my account.

    Except of this situation with inappropriate charge, I must admit, Busuu is good service for languages learning.

    0 Votes
  • Al
      Apr 04, 2013

    please to whom ever it may concerned should bear with me.i need online members on busuu.com

    0 Votes
  • Th
      Apr 30, 2013

    What I find totally disrespectful is that they do NOT send out any messages saying the premium membership is coming to an end, nor do they ask you if the card details are the same at the time of renewal (which means they simply access my account when they please!). They simply send you an annoying message ONCE it's been renewed. In my case I purchased 1 year membership last year, found the course useful for a month - that was until I reached B1 level (as universities called for), which proved quite irrelevant and repetitive. So, I stopped visiting Busuu.com for the past 10 months or so, until one random day a message popped up saying 'your credit card has been charged'! Totally disgraceful and dishonest service!

    0 Votes
  • Li
      Sep 15, 2013

    Busuu, in my opinion, is very good. If you are worried about it being an "imprompto dating site" just don't do the webcam on busuuchat or just ignore the messages. If you are worried about their premium policy I suggest 3 things.
    1) Only buy the cheapest one w/ a discount (like buying a discount with virtual busuu berries)
    2) Actually read the terms and conditions.
    3) Just be a free member (which is what I'm doing, and I'm learning french fine)
    Hope I could help.

    0 Votes
  • Mi
      Oct 24, 2013

    I tried Busuu and the sound does not work most of the time also I have not received any help or feedback on how to fix this problem,
    I am glad I did not waste $99 dollars on this crappy site, try Live Mocha it is much better and the sound actually works.

    0 Votes
  • An
      Dec 13, 2013

    Je me suis inscrit pour un an sur le site de Busuu, je ne voulais plus continuer par la suite et je me suis dit que mon inscription allait prendre fin après un an. Après cette période je n'ai pas pensé à annuler mon inscription, il me semble que la plusparts des personnes feraient comme moi et je remarque qu'un montant de $102.00 cdn a été chargé sur ma carte de crédit et ce sans autorisation de ma part. J'ait écrit à Busuu la journée même et je reçoit comme réponse qu'isl ne me rembourseront pas. J'avais payé via Paypal et j'ai donc fait une plainte à Paypal pour utilisation de ma carte de crédit non autorisé. Paypal a donc après quelquel jour annuler le paiement, sans eux j'aurais perdu mon argent.
    Je met en garde les gens qui s'inscrivent sur ce site qui n'a aucun scrupule à se servir sur votre carte de crédit sans votre autorisation et ne veulent même pas vous rembourser par la suite. De telle agissement envers leur propre clients mérite que ce site ne soit pas encouragé peu importe sa qualité pédagogique. Pour ma part, je ne leur donnerai jamais plus d'argent.

    0 Votes
  • Da
      Jun 10, 2014

    Busuu,

    Give me my money back!!

    0 Votes
  • Sa
      Aug 07, 2014

    I am very happy with my Busuu subscription that I purchased. I have had it for nearly a year now and I couldn't fault the program at all, until now. I took a hiatus from the Learning Centre for a couple of months but have returned to it recently, only to find the whole main page set up has changed and all my training has been set back to 0% complete. That wasn't that bad, I can always re-do and put it down to a refresher, but my main issue is I have no sound on the program. It doesn't appear to be my computer, as I have various other programs on my computer where the sound is working. I have been unable to find an email or contact number or technical issue contact details for Busuu, so I can't speak to them regarding the issue. I'm frustrated, as I wish to continue using this program as my subscription is still current and wish to continue my membership.
    Has anyone experienced the sound problem and how was it resolved or is there contact details for Busuu that someone wouldn't mind sending me.
    Thanks in advance

    0 Votes
  • Tt
      Aug 30, 2014

    Dear Busuu,

    I have signed with you 2 years ago for my son to study English . At the first year you didn't renew it automatically so my son asked me to renew it again so I did it myself. This year however, you chanced your policy. Although I have decided not to renew it, you did it without my permission. My last payment was for 12 months and now you have charged me another 12 months. This is not fare. You steal people's money as I didn't sign anything, I didn't accepts your policy. You may renew monthly subscription may be, but not 6 months or 12 months. This is robbery ! I don't accept this payment and I have already rejected to my bank about this. This money was taken without my permission !

    Tolga

    0 Votes
  • Co
      Dec 05, 2014

    Usefulness of busuu's website aside, I'm really disgusted with how they handle (or rather, DON'T) membership renewals/cancellations. My 1-year premium membership was coming to an end in late October (2014), and I duly logged into my busuu account to downgrade from Premium to Basic membership to avoid being charged GBP59.99 (roughly $65-70) again. I remember searching in my Paypal account for the list of recurring payments as well but was in a hurry and couldn't find it. Now I wish I'd taken the time to look properly and cancelled the payment instruction there. Because, despite changing of the membership type, busuu took out the annual membership fee anyway.

    I promptly complained about it and the customer service rep who replied assured me that the error had occurred on their side ("technical difficulties") and that I should get the money back within 3 days or else I should get in touch with them again. Five days later, nothing. In another reply I received nearly 2 weeks later, it then said that it could take up to one month for the refund. Well, guess what. It's now 41 days since and no sign of any refund. And unsurprisingly, the up-to-then seemingly apologetic and polite correspondence has stopped, too, and there's only silence.

    So, all I can say to anybody reading this: if you signed up for a fee-based membership with them and don't want to renew it, don't even bother cancelling the service in your busuu account - IT WILL GET IGNORED. If possible, rescind any payment instructions (Paypal, CC issuer, etc.) well before the renewal date.

    0 Votes
  • Ka
      Jan 03, 2015

    We should file a public appeal and sue there ###!

    0 Votes
  • Ma
      Feb 05, 2015

    I am a busuu member and can say that it seems like they do not have UI developer. Because the new design is just really really inconvenient. Besides most of things like recording your voice or page with feedback don't work. Moreover, exercises have mistakes. I really got angry especially when I paid my premium membership and I still cannot use everything on the site. If anyone from busuu company reads it, please, write to me margo.[protected]@gmail.com and I will tell you what exactly is wrong with your site.

    0 Votes
  • St
      Apr 08, 2015

    They are lying thieves, as confirmed by several others with similar experiences here. They offer "7 day free of obligation trial" but they have no intention of honouring this claim. I could not cancel even with the first day, They should be shut down for this alone. When you try to cancel, the functionality to do so on their site is missing. Another fraudulent approach to their business style. The site is also riddled with technical bugs and the content is poor - especially what comes with "premium membership". They have no concern for their customers, they are maliciously compliant and once they have your money they refuse to part with it under any circumstances, they have no channel of communication and ignore feedback, they have on-going technical problems that never get fixed, they have poor content containing several errors that never get fixed. Like I said - stay far away.

    0 Votes
  • Am
      Apr 29, 2015

    Hello everyone,

    Thank you for your comments. I am the Customer Service manager here at busuu and wanted to let you know that we are addressing the issues mentioned in these complaints. If you have further direct questions or wanted to expand on issues mentioned above, you can email [protected]@busuu.com and request that your email be passed on to me directly.

    Thanks and kind regards,

    Amy

    0 Votes
  • Gi
      Jun 16, 2015

    I'm really disappointed by busuu. I subscribed last year planning to make a single subscription. I did not realize immediatly it was self resubscribing. So I closed every pay pal permission and I requested immediately to get a refound as it was elapsed just one day and I'm supposed to have 7 days refoud time. It was answered to me that I will not get any money back so ths service is a fraud!!! I never used ths service any time in the last 9 months so According to european law (85/577/CEE) and 5.1 point of premium service conditions I have ths right. They are abusing of my rights!!!

    0 Votes
  • Am
      Dec 09, 2015

    Hi Giuliano,

    In our response of 17th Jun we advised the refund had been processed, so we would appreciate you closing this complaint.

    Kind regards,

    Amy

    0 Votes

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