JDate.co.il members now need to call customer support (yes, on the telephone) in order to turn off automatic renewal of their paid membership.

And, automatic renewal is something JDate signs you up for, by default, any time you buy a membership.

And, not only is it the default but while going through the payment process, there is no option to opt out of automatic renewal.

And, because automatic renewal isn’t mentioned on the page where you make the payment, probably most people don’t even know they are being signed up for it. There is a link to terms and conditions which mentions this apparently unimportant detail but one would actually need to click on it and read the whole thing in order to gain this knowledge.

Sneaky?

The only thing that is new from all of this is that there is no way to turn off automatic renewal on the website; you need to call them to turn it off.

The ramifications of this latest change is that every single person who purchases any kind of membership with JDate, is forced to call their customer service number if ever they want to stop paying them.

I suppose that’s one way to retain clients.

When I found out about this last week, I called customer service and asked the rep about this change. She said that they did it so that they could have the opportunity to help their members use the site better. She said that they wanted to know why people were cancelling their memberships so they could help the members solve problems they might be having on the site.

They really care!

When I asked her if this was a permanent change, she said that for now they are planning on keeping it.

I asked Miriam Schwab, Friendly CEO of illuminea, what is so bad about JDate’s client retention tactics. She said:

Service providers should be transparent. Users should not find out after signing up for something that they were also signed up for something else without agreeing to it.

Miriam explained that one of the reasons some companies try to get people signed up to recurring payments is because a certain percentage of those people forget about it and end up paying indefinitely without noticing. In other words, sometimes the goal in getting people into recurring payment is to trick them into paying for a service they might not want or need.

Even if this wasn’t JDate’s thinking, these kinds of decisions do not endear them to us, their clientele, and they create absolutely no sense of loyalty.

As Miriam said:

I believe that these types of practices can’t hold out in the long run. Look at the Israeli cell companies. As soon as the market opened up to real competition, so many customers went scrambling.

 

What JDate needs is real competition so people can jump ship and go where they’re respected.

Actually, one of my dreams is to build a totally cool new Jewish dating website. (Are you “not Jewish and not willing to convert”? Sorry, this site won’t be for you.) I do manage awesome web development projects (at illuminea) for a living so it’s not totally far fetched…

Meanwhile, I know that with this latest change, it’s hard for me to see myself buying a membership from them. I have a huge issue with giving my money to someone who doesn’t allow me to make my own payment decisions, by myself.

Despite all of this, why would I possibly go back for more? Because they continue to be the biggest Jewish dating website out there. Of course the fact that I’d still consider giving them my money only proves how important it is that they get some real competition, and fast.

Email JDate to tell them what you think. JDILComments@spark.net

P.S. My tip for getting around another big glitch on the JDate websites is to make sure to fill out the free text of your profile twice – once when logged into jdate.com and once when logged into jdate.co.il. And if you see someone’s profile who seems to have written nothing in it, sign into the other JDate (whichever you aren’t signed into) and take a look at the person’s profile there.

Read more about this “bug”.