Re: Free Trial You Forgot to Cancel

Today I was checking my bank account, my business bank account. Every once in a while, I put personal stuff on my business account. Self-employment has some “gray areas.” That’s where I tend to use the business plastic. Anyhow, I see charges in June, July, August, and September for $39.99 to “Rocket Lawyer,” a company that advertises their based-on-your-state, boilerplate legal forms. (Disclaimer: I am a lawyer, and I take no shame in admitting that “forms” and “documents” and “templates” are not something I have many of in my practice areas, so when I need a one of those “transactional, legal instruments,” I try to find one online and for free, if only for a short while.)

Enter Rocket Lawyer.

I signed up for that ever-so-enticing and oh-so-appealing-to-a-frugal-New-Englander “Free, 7-Day Trial.” Thereafter, like moments later, I put “cancel RL” on the calendar after counting out six, not seven, days for fear Rocket Lawyer would count their ‘days’ differently that I do, which is, I’m proud to say, a generous, full 24-hours’ measure despite my earlier claim of frugality. (I briefly consider downloading every possible form/document/template and decide that if I haven’t needed them in fourteen years, I’m good for another fourteen. Plus, I own a sauna where I’d rather spend my time.)

And then, I forgot to cancel, or at least I’m betting that I did as I don’t have a clear memory of cancelling or the interest to scroll through my emails to see if I actually did cancel. (Laptop doesn’t fare well in said sauna.)

(Disclosure: Really important tasks get put on a 4-by-6 index card with the hyphenated, almost commanding “TO-DO” ablaze at the top. Generally, half that shit doesn’t get done either, but the odds are better if you’re a task on the index card that you’re going to get done. Eventually. Maybe. It’s 50/50.)

So, I write to Customer Care, as I selfishly doubt my earlier conclusions about forgetfulness around cancelling, having convinced myself that ‘it wouldn’t me like me not to follow through on something on the calendar,’ but who am I kidding, it’s 50/50:

“I cancelled my membership during the free trial. Now, I see that I was charged $39.99 on June, July, August, and September. Please issue a refund for $159.96 ASAP.”

Hours–not days, not weeks, later, enter Maria:


Disclaimer: I “google-imaged” the name “Maria.” (Sub-disclaimer: I hate that I’m using ‘google-imaged’ as a verb, but undeniably it really works here.) That was the first picture that came up, and I decided that this “Maria” is fine with me. But as I was uploading it, I thought , “That person might sue you for using her image without permission and she most definitely has enough money to sue you because if you’re the first “Maria” in a google image search, you better bet you’ve got money. So, to the most google-y famous Maria, don’t sue me. I didn’t even know you were famous.

Maria’s email, edited for ease of reading, is as follows:

Hello Jenna Brownson,

Thank you for contacting Rocket Lawyer support.

We show that under your account a 7-Day Free Trial was started on 06/15/2019. The account was not downgraded during the Free Trial and converted to a paid membership. We show that your account was successfully downgraded to the Free Membership on 10/10/21019 and will not be billed again. 

Please be advised that we have processed a refund for $159.96 to the payment method that you used on Rocket Lawyer. Please allow up to 10 business days for the credit to post to your account with your financial institution.

If you need further assistance, please contact us any time by email or call us at (877) 881-0947 Mon – Fri, 6am – 6pm PST. 


And my response to her personal email address, not one of those vexing Do-Not-Reply-To-This-Email, word for word, is:

Dear Maria,

Holy shit.
That’s the phrase that shot through my mind when l read your reply.
No shit: “Holy shit.”
Thank you for not being difficult about this and making me feel like l want to strangle someone on the other end of an email who, certainly means me no harm, but has to stick to the “corporate policy” until the customer makes a really fucking big deal about it and then, “Corporate Policy #352: If angry (disgruntled, ass-kissing, and crying may all be substituted for ‘angry.’ Customer Care Professional to exercise his/her/their own discretion in coming to conclusions of customer’s emotion state) customer makes three (3) attempts at a refund or uses the words “your supervisor” more that once then you may act as though you’re ‘bending the rules’ with the singular purpose of making the ‘angry’ (same substitutions apply) customer not hate us, i.e. the BIG BAD CORPORATION, and in the end, said customer feels such a shock, borne of a desperate desire not to get dicked around about something so impermanent like money for a few interminable weeks, and instead talks about us in this way: “Not ‘one of those’ corporations, but more like that Paul Newman salad-dressing guy, you know the one that makes the spaghetti sauce.”
That’s a heck of a good way to feel on an otherwise sort of boring Thursday night.
You knocked Mr. Newman down a rung.
Poor Paul.
Terrific Maria.
And it worked, Maria, I’m talking about you and Rocket Lawyer just like you wanted me to. Well played.

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