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Topic: Still saying "free" and "no hidden charges" on home page

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Subject: Still saying "free" and "no hidden charges" on home page
Date Posted: 2/6/2015 1:59 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2010
Posts: 262
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I'm disturbed by the fact that PBS still has "free" and "no hidden charges" on their home page.

True, the new charges are listed in the fine print when you go to sign up, but to me that doesn't match with the  "no hidden charge" claim.

A member who signs up, posts books, and incurs costs by mailing books before realizing that a request fee is now to be charged has real reason to feel deceived, in my opinion. One person on the fee thread seems to have had that exact thing happen.

This is the aspect of this policy change that disturbs me the most.

Date Posted: 2/6/2015 2:09 PM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 1,452
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Elizabeth--I agree with you.

I've been a member here for quite a while, and plan on staying.  I just purchased a standard membership so I'm good for at least the next year.

But, I do think PBS could have handled the change better--at the very least, there should be a prominent link on the home page (whether you signed in or not) that directs you to the page that describes the changes that are being implemented.  I've read several posts here from people who had no idea about the changes because they never received the e-mail.  I think it's likely that there are several members out there who don't access the forums and didn't receive or see the e-mail that may be in for a big surprise when they go to accept a wishlist book after 2/15 and discover that they have to pay the fee.

Date Posted: 2/6/2015 3:08 PM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2010
Posts: 1
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I just went to the "What's New" tab to re-read the details, and found that there's nothing new since July!  Must have all been my imagination, hahaha.  I think this is really not the way to handle a change this fundamental.  I have to decide whether or not to stay - if I leave, do I just abandon my 22 credits and the money in my account that I use for postage?  

Date Posted: 2/6/2015 3:45 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,226
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When someone signs up for the site right now, in the very first box they see they get information that includes this paragraph:

Starting on February 15, 2015, Standard Membership will cost $20 a year and allow the subscriber to request unlimited books using Book Credits but without swap fees; Limited Membership will cost $12 a year and allow the subscriber to request 30 books per year using Book Credits but without swap fees. Unenrolled (�A la Carte� members) will pay no annual fee and each swap will cost 1 swap fee in addition to the Book Credits for the items in the swap.

Then the next box they have to check a box that says they agree to the Terms of Use, that also gives the fee structure going forward. 

Last Edited on: 2/6/15 3:45 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/6/2015 3:48 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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It's still Bait and Switch. Very not cool.

Date Posted: 2/6/2015 3:49 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2013
Posts: 61
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As of right now there is still one school in need of money donations for the shipping of the books we have donated.  That would be a better use than just abandoning your PBS money.

Date Posted: 2/6/2015 4:46 PM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2014
Posts: 12,329
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Before anyone abandons credits please see if you can sell them and there are threads about helping others with a membership...some really can't afford it.
Cass G. (Jrzy) - ,
Date Posted: 2/6/2015 5:18 PM ET
Member Since: 5/2/2007
Posts: 92
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I thought the changes don't take effect until the 15th? In which case the home page is still accurate, and when newbies go to sign up they will get the cost breakdown. And there is still a "free membership" option. It will just cost an additional 50 cents per book, but the membership is free,

I for one will be staying. I am disabled and having books come to me is awesome!  And that $20 is a small fee, well-spent in my opinion. I am a voracious reader and the only way I could afford to read is by spending a small fortune (which I did, on eBay, before I found this site. I figure that duing the two years I ordered used books from eBay I spent at least $1,000 per year.)

Date Posted: 2/6/2015 5:28 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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"swap used books for free" is very clear language - you are inferring it to mean "membership", but that's not actually stated. They really should do something abut that banner.

Also - why they don't have a message on the home page is just baffling to me. If I wasn't yet a member it would feel scammy to me. I'm sure that's not the intent, but I believe it's the outcome.

Date Posted: 2/6/2015 5:48 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2009
Posts: 138
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Julie, the PBS money in your account can be used for many things on this site, including the new 49¢ fee.

Date Posted: 2/8/2015 1:27 AM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,357
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I've been told that they have a bunch of things on their list that need to be updated.  I'm sure the banner is one of them.

Date Posted: 2/8/2015 2:14 AM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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It's not as if this switch was a surprise to PBS. They planned it, it's not like dealing with an unexpected crisis. 

Date Posted: 2/9/2015 7:38 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2010
Posts: 262
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Melanie, I'm glad they've added that text. A few days ago I went to sign up myself—up to the point of reading the Terms of Service—and it was only in the Terms of Service that they mentioned the added fee. I didn't see a box like you're describing. That is indeed an improvement. But I still think they should be more up front about it.

Edited to add: I just tried it again. There's no box (other than the wordy Terms of Service) that is showed before you join. New members may be shown a box after they give their email and password, but not before. If I were a new member this would put me off. Wait, I'm an old member and it still puts me off....

Last Edited on: 2/9/15 7:42 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/9/2015 11:01 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 602
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I think it is misleading and they need to put this all over the place. If anyone missed the email and doesn't go to the forums regularly, they would have no idea a huge change is coming. 

Subject: Still says Free
Date Posted: 2/9/2015 12:14 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,448
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Perhaps they are waiting till the 15th to unroll the new home page...but a hint of things to come would be helpful.