I am receiving numerous complaints regarding unauthorized charges by Threefold Photos, the company distributing Smile, Webshots Wallpaper & Screensaver and Message Bus – their cloud service that charges companies $1000 a month for the privilege of using email. (I wonder how their customers would react if they knew how careless they are with stored data – but that’s another story).
If you find an unauthorized charge (it will most likely be $2.99) by Webshots or Threefold Photos, please take the following steps:
1) Contact your credit card company (or bank if it is a debit card) to dispute the charge. Once the charge-back to your account is complete, have them block all future transactions from Webshots and Threefold Photos.
2) If the charge is in a pending status, contact your credit card company and tell them it is an unauthorized charge. Ask them to monitor the charge and contact you as soon as the charge finalizes. As soon as the charge goes through, have your credit card company place a block on all future transactions from Webshots and Threefold Photos and immediately follow-up with your bank to dispute the charge.
3) Optional but recommended: Put everything in writing. Email Narendra Rocherolle (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Mike Sitrin (email@example.com) stating a) You did not authorize a subscription to Webshots Wallpaper b) You did not authorize charges to your credit card c) You have contacted your bank to dispute the charges and to block Webshots and Threefold Photos from any future transactions.
4) Continue monitoring your credit card and bank statement carefully each month to make sure you are not charged a recurring fee. With the transactions being blocked this should not occur, but it is better to be cautious.
3) Highly recommended: Report Threefold Photos to the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC has and will investigate companies for illegal billing practices if they receive enough complaints.
During the transition from Webshots to Smile, my attempts to find a lawyer willing to take on a class action suit against Threefold Photos were unsuccessful – mainly because those I contacted believed the company could claim incompetence as an excuse for the terrible way things were handled. But in this case, Threefold Photo’s management is fully aware they are billing people who no longer want anything to do with Smile or Webshots. This is theft and there are credit card statements to prove it, so it might be time to start putting out feelers again.