***** ****** purchase an advertising listing on Mediation.com on 5/11/15. She agreed to a two year contract for $799. She asked us to make several changes in her listing and we did and built it and sent her the completed listing on 5/17/15.
She than purchased a web site for $500 on 6/3/15. She confirmed the transaction in writing on 6/3/15. We added content to her profile on 6/3/15 and she approved it. After a period of time she decided she didn't want to proceed with the web site even though it was started by us and asked for a refund. On 7/26/15 we sent her an email confirming we would refund her the $500 and she agreed to keep her listing on Mediation.com. I notified her the crdit was processed on 7/27/15 and she wrote back "OK Great".
Then on 1/7/16 she sends in a letter saying she no longer wanted the listing on Mediation.com and wanted a refund of $400. However, as stated in the email of 7/26/15 she agreed to keep the listing on mediation.com as part of the agreement refunding her the $500. I wrote her an email on 1/11/16 and tole her we had an agreement and there was no refund due her.
I have enclosed copies of every email correspondence confirming what I have stated as proof of what occurred.
****** M. ********
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
On May 11, 2015, after an (unsolicited) sales call, I paid Mediation.com $799.00 for a 24-month listing on their website. I was required to pay the entire $799.00 up front as a lump sum. There were not other options.
There was no contract and no discussion of any contingencies that might arise, E.g. what if 1) either of us became unhappy, 2) I died, or 3) I chose not to continue with a mediation business or became unable to do so during the 24-month period.
Within a week or two of paying for the $799.00 for the listing, I started regretting this decision. I have a number of other personal obligations, and I just don't have the time to start or grow a mediation business from my house, which is why I hadn't done it before.
To date, I have provided very little personal information to Mediation.com other than: my 1) name, 2) home address, 3) email address, 4) home phone number, and 5) a short paragraph of basic biographic information.
I don't know what they mean by "she asked us to make several changes."
On June 3, 2015, during a phone conversation with their CEO, allegedly to welcome me to Mediation.com, the CEO immediately began to pressure me to purchase, an associated, personal website, which they would develop for a one time fee of $500.00. I didn't want this, I tried to say that, but whatever happened, after much "discussion," I agreed to pay an additional $500.00, again all up front in one lump sum, for a personal website. After I agreed, he said "Oh, and they'll be a $39.00 per month charge for the server." ($39 X 12 = $468.00 per year X 2 years =$936.00). So, between May 11, 2015 and June 3, 2015 (less then one month) I paid Mediation.com $799.00 + $500.00 + $39.00 = $1,338.00.
Working on this listing and website was, in my opinion, a lot of work on my end. I just didn't have the time to take on another project. I did still think though, that I was entering into a 24-month relationship, not that these were 2 discrete transactions. Mediation.com may be a wonderful situation for a number of people, but I was already close to being overwhelmed with other personal obligations and I just began to realize that this agreement was primarily adding stress to my life, I wasn't going to be able to do this, do this, and that this was not a great idea for me at this time.
On Wednesday, June 10th, I replied to their email, dated June 3, 2015 showing my payment of the $500.00 (in full) saying "Is it possible to undo this?" I received an email dated June 11 saying "I will have _____________ call you to discuss." No one ever called.
I told several people at Mediation.com that I would be out of pocket for at least a couple weeks starting Sunday, June 14, 2015, that I just couldn't be involved with any listing or website business during this time, but that I would be back in touch with them when I returned.
Late on Friday afternoon, 6/12/15, a web designer from Mediation.com called me and listed several pieces of information I needed me to provide to him so he could make a personalized website. He specifically said they'd get me an email address on their server because they didn't recommend using a hotmail.com email address as a professional email address. I believe I stated to him that I was not sure I wanted to go forward with this, but I know I told him I'd be out of town and unavailable until the end of the month (June 2015).
Upon returning from my trip, I started contacting Mediation.com in very late June or early July 2015, offering repeatedly to pay a large penalty ($100.00, $200.00, $300.00, or even $400.00) to forget our whole agreement. It was just too much for me to worry about. I was met with a wall of "we aint' paying'," including comments such as "The work has been completed, people have to be paid," and "you asked for something, we provided it and "that's that!"" (or words to that effect)." I don't know how all of this "work," specifically on the personal website could've been done without any input from me, and I asked about that repeatedly. I suggested over and over that I'd be willing to pay some sort of a (I thought) large penalty, to just forget about this agreement, (meaning a refund to me of about $900.00) but the then answer I got repeatedly was that that was not possible.
At one point I said "As far as I'm concerned, you get an "F" in mediating, and the response I got was "I don't care if you give me an F minus!" This was in early July, well within 2 months of having initially been contacted by them and having paid, everything entirely up front for a 24 month SERVICE agreement. ($799.00 + $500.00 + $39.00 (plus more to follow) = $1,338.00 between early May and early June 2015) and I stated that repeatedly. My estimate is that the amount of work by mediation.com that went into the "listing" was about 10 minutes (at the very most), and the amount of work that went into a "mock-up" of the personal website was, at the very most one hour, probably much less, and I stated this to people at Mediation.com in July 2015. I also kept offering to pay a multi-hundred dollar penalty, and was told that "It doesn't matter if it took one minute, you asked for this work and we provided it," or words to that effect.
During our talks in July 2015, I told Mediation.com more than once that I was not sure I was going to complete the required continuing education courses to remain a Listed Mediator, and in that case I would be prohibited from advertising myself as a mediator after December 2015.
Mediation.com did eventually refund $500.00 to me at the end of July 2015, after telling me at least twice that no refund was possible and then after initially offering me $250.00. I do not now, nor have I have I ever had a personal website designed by them. In addition, during the same phone conversation where they offered me the refund, they told me "I can't believe you disputed the $39.00 charges with your credit card company. Do you know I had to pay $20.00 for each of those!?" They seem to be very proud of the fact that they made this refund, but I don't have, and never have had a personal website from them, (nor did I really ever want one and I continued to offer to pay a substantial penalty).
In fact I did not complete any continuing education courses during 2015 and, consequently, am now (as of January 1, 2016) listed in an inactive status with the Tennessee Supreme Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission. I notified Mediation.com of this and said they had to remove my listing on their site. Again, I offered to pay $400.00 of the original $799.00 for what turned out to be 7 months of the 24 month agreement.
To date (January 2016), although my listing has been on their website since May 2015, I have received absolutely no leads, telephone inquiries, email comments or requests or any interest at all from anyone viewing my listing on Mediation.com.
I am PROHIBITED from advertising myself as a mediator, effective January 1, 2016. I am required to ask Mediation.com to remove my listing, which is what I have done. They seem to think I should joyfully pay hundreds of dollars for a listing for 17 months, even though I am prohibited from having such a listing.
I am so sick of this logic that I've been hearing since I was, I think a teenager. When Mediation.com wanted me to pay them $799.00 all up front, then $500.00 all as a lump sum, etc., they acted as if no grown up would be so poor as to not be able to part with several hundred dollars. They acted as if I would barely miss that money and that it was such a negligible amount I probably wouldn't even remember that I'd spent it. A few weeks later when I started suggesting they refund some of this money they acted as if these were HUGE amounts of money (far less than what I paid them) and that I must be crazy to think they have hundreds of dollars lying around.
Part of what I don't understand is that Mediation.com seems to have a business model based on collecting hundreds of dollars in fees from mediators well in advance of their actually providing the service. Considering we're talking about multi-year agreements, I would think that many situations would change, and that it's not really realistic to expect people to pay years in advance and then, regardless of situations, just be very happy to have paid. I continue to request a refund of not less than $400.00 (of the $799.00), because I am unable to use 17 months of the 24 months of service I paid for.
When they finally refunded me the $500.00, I do remember a comment about leaving the listing up, and I have done that. They have done a total of no additional work since that time (late July 2015). I did leave the listing up for the remaining 5 months of the year, the entire time I was eligible to show myself as a listed mediator, and have received a total of zero interest from that listing.
Final Business Response
I have provided you all the documentation to refute this claim. The bottom line is Ms. ****** made an agreement with us in writing and we refunded her based on that and now she continues to want to renegotiate the agreement she agreed to. Sorry it doesn't work that way. I do not understand why the BBB keeps this case open just so she can continue to disparage us without any proof what so ever that we did not do what we agreed to do. I have furnished you written proof to refute EVERYTHJING she has stated and this is is absolutely the last time I am responding regarding this case!!!!!!
Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
I don't have much respect for the "business" of Mediation.com
They called me up out of the clear blue and suggested they could help me with my online professional presence for 24 months. This was not something I had planned to pay for up until their telephone call. The cost was to be $799.99. The plan that we discussed was never that this would be a "hands off" deal on my part, but rather that we would work together during the 24 month period. There was no written agreement of any sort. They then demanded that the entire $799.99 be paid up front. I don't know why anyone would assume that there were to be no changes during the 24 month period. My understanding was, and still is, that this would be an ongoing 24-month relationship, with them putting my listing on their site and continually making suggestions as to how my online presence could be improved.
Within a few weeks of this initial payment, I knew this situation was not working for me and would not work well for me. At this time I had only provided them a very minimal amount of personal information, and since then I have provided very little additional information. Mediation.com may have a perfectly dandy product for some people, but I am not really part of the market they should target. Within a very few weeks of my upfront payment of the entire $799.99 (for a 24 month period), I suggested to them, several times, that I wanted to undo our agreement, and that I'd be willing to pay several hundred dollars to them for this privilege. Mediation.com then started coming up with all kinds of rules such as 1) no refunds, 2) we've already done the work (??), and, basically, 3) we don't have the money to give you.
They actually threatened at one point to "report me" to I guess what you'd call my credentialing organization. I don't know what they intended to report. (They had, and continue to have, the $799.99).
I don't know why, given that this is a mediation organization, and I am (or was) a professional mediator, that there would be any assumption that we wouldn't renegotiate an agreement (as I say, there was nothing at all in writing) that wasn't working. I also maintain that $799.99 is not a small amount of money, and a consumer (me) should be able to expect some level of satisfaction from a business she paid it to and it is not a normal business practice to have the attitude that "we have your money, what are you going to do about it?"
Here is a quote from the Wednesday, February 10, 2016 Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) newspaper indicating the typical attitude toward a business agreement that is not working for at least one party:
"Under the University of Memphis' FedExForum lease agreement, the Tigers get $800,000 annually if attendance criteria a met, but the payment is reduced if the average turnstile count falls below 10,000. With basketball attendance down, the U of M wants to renegotiate its lease."
At least up until this point, Mediation.com seems to have the attitude that they are going to hang on to that $799.99 no matter what, I don't really know why, and that me being satisfied with the product they are providing has nothing to do with anything. They seem to think, and have all along, that they will decide whether or not I should be satisfied and whether I should think I'm getting what I paid for or not.
I don't think the Better Business Bureau should give this business a very high rating. I think the Better Business Bureau should classify Mediation.com as a business that "gives whatever service it feels it should and is not concerned with working with its customers toward the end of ******** satisfaction. Mediation.com also determines (without input from their multi-hundred dollar clients) whether or not its customers should be satisfied with the price they pay." They also have, when they feel like having it, a secret no-refund policy.