Have you been threatened by GoGet? I have...
In a nutshell: GoGet automatically renewed a lapsing subscriber to a new yearly contract and then, when they didn't pay, threatened them with debt collectors and credit rating agencies. When we got in touch with the company, it said it was a glitch, but was it? Was anyone else affected?
This issue fell into my lap from personal experience so it’s easiest to explain everything from my own point of view...
GoGet is a rideshare app where, after paying a $49 yearly subscription, you can hire a car by the hour just by tapping a NFC keyring on the windscreen. It can be incredibly convenient and is endorsed by city councils in recognition of its ability to reduce cars on the road and emissions.
There are many free subscription codes to GoGet so you rarely need to actually pay the $49 upfront costs – I didn’t. I only wanted to use the service once and then I forgot about it. However, at the end of the year, having received a few, ‘Your service is lapsing’ emails’ I then suddenly received this...
Hi Nicholas Ross
We regret to advise we have not yet received payment for your outstanding account. Furthermore, we have not received a response to the notice we sent on xxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
Your account of $49.00 is now 21 days overdue.
We require immediate payment of this amount to avoid further action, including referral of your debt to our third-party collection agent and/or reporting of your default to a credit reporting agency.
You may pay your account online at the following address https://app.goget.com.au/bookings/pay-my-account, with the BPay details on your invoice or alternatively you may call us at 1300 769 389.
If there is a reason you are unable to make the full payment immediately, we are willing to discuss an alternative payment schedule.
We trust you will give this matter the appropriate attention and attend to this issue immediately.
Thanks in advance for your prompt response.
The GoGet Team
Now, this isn’t my first rodeo. There are companies that use dodgy sign-ups and debt-collection threats as part of their business model – 1&1 IONOS internet is a prime example. In that instance, the company renewed some old web domains I had without notifying me and then sent threatening letters to my mother about sending debt collectors to her house. No amount of reasoning would work and the stress for both her and myself was palpable. It wasn’t until I scrutinised the contract and found a discrepancy: they’d signed me up for two years of services when the hidden-in-the-small-print details said they’d automatically renew my “contract” for one year. Once I'd pointed this out, the debt collection agency dropped the case like a stone. Either way, it was a horrible experience for all parties. I was not going to let this go.
At first my complaints to customer service were met with no help at all (the furious tone on my part likely didn’t help). Fortunately, for me, I was then able to pull the journalist's, ‘Do you know who I am?' card and was immediately telephoned and apologised to by a senior manager. I was assured it was a “glitch” and, shortly afterwards, I received the following email:
I wanted to write to you directly about your recent experience with our collections process in order to apologise.
Firstly I can confirm that GoGet has not referred your matter to a collection agency and secondly, that it is not our policy to refer members to collections for overdue membership fees.
The email you received was a mistake in our processes - and we're very grateful that you've brought it to our attention. You should never have received the email that you did and I am very sorry.
We are doing our best to support the community during a particularly tough year for everyone, navigating commercial realities to keep the service up and running for the people who depend on it. This has been a big challenge, as it has been for so many Australian businesses, but we are taking this time to double down on our efforts to improve the member experience. We've already refined our processes as a result of your email.
I’ve become familiar with the work you’ve done as a journalist and your history of advocacy for consumer experience. So thank you again for bringing this to our attention as it will serve to improve business practices for consumers to better align with the values that both you and our team here equally hold strongly —on this occasion, we obviously mis-fired.
This is an impressive response and I hope I’m the only person to have been through this ‘mistake in our processes.’ However, that threatening email did not write itself and it would have needed to go through multiple layers of approval before being added to an automatic-send process. So I’m not buying that it’s a glitch. But, the proof is in the pudding... has this happened to you? If so, what was GoGet’s response and did you pay?
As a final thought, and warning to any company thinking of embracing such a business model, just check out the online hate-fest regarding 1&1 IONOS internet – is there a lower-rated company anywhere?