The Knot ripped me off, and it wasn’t pretty.
In December of 2013, I was approached by The Knot via an anonymous phone call to advertise on their website. The Knot offered me an overkill of web advertising opportunities, most of which was quickly read off a script, and most of which was highly confusing. After the salesperson finished their pitch, I was then told that I needed to act quickly before these “opportunities” expired before the 2013 year, which was only a few days away. The cost, a steep $2,280.00.
“Steep,” they said, “But still discounted dramatically, and very effective”
I told The Knot that I didn’t want to spend that amount on advertising, as I deemed it, risky. After all, deep down inside, I was not a fan of online directory style advertising (such as yelp, yellow page, bbb, wedding wire) because it just didn’t work. The Knot countered my rejection and told me I could try out their advertising program on a month-to-month term and that I could cancel my advertising at anytime.
Month-to-month. Now that sounded fair.
I agreed, instructed the salesperson to send me a contract to sign.
But the salesperson wanted my credit card information that minute. They informed me that I would have to pay for this deal immediately, because the agreed month-to-month deal was not something they offered regularly. They insisted that I act NOW. With a big sigh, I reluctantly gave The Knot my credit card number over the phone before receiving the contract. I can say that about 99% of the time, I will only work with a contract in hand, or with some type of issued receipt. But this was The Knot I was dealing with, the #1 Wedding Website in the world, a public company. And I thought, out of all companies, they wouldn’t try to scam me….right?
Months passed and I fell into my usual busy wedding routine, completely forgetting about my advertising webstore on The Knot. And, as time passed, $190 was debited religiously by them every month. It wasn’t until 8 months later, after the busy summer wedding season, when I was finally able to asses whether or not my advertising on The Knot had worked.
The Knot’s directory advertising, web storefront, featured advertising, and a whole bunch of other fancy crap, failed to book me one wedding. There were inquiries, but they strangely did not book. They were very strange inquiries by the way. Almost seemed fake, but I can’t prove that. I can say that over 90% of the inquires I get, I usually book. Why I didn’t book one inquiry from The Knot, truly remains a mystery.
I had spent $1520.00 on advertising, and had not booked one wedding. This was not working and it was time to get The Knot on the phone to cancel.
So I called…no one answered. I did though, get a recording.
And then…I emailed… and no one replied.
After an uncountable amount of tries throughout the week, I decided to cancel my credit card to put a halt to the automatic debits. Two days later, I received a call from The Knot asking me for my new credit card information (isn’t that funny.) It was then when I informed The Knot that I would be exercising my option of terminating my advertising. When asked “why?,” I answered, “Because I did not book any weddings from my advertisement.” They pulled up my webstore and took a look at my stats, then concluded that I should have booked many weddings because over the course of 7 months over 150 people had visited my webpage.
Just 150 in 7 months?
I informed The Knot that Dream Weddings Hawaii receives over 200 unique hits a day, and 150 hits in 7 months is not much to brag about.
I wanted to cancel.
They said I couldn’t.
When I asked “why?” they answered, “…because you agreed to a term of at least 12 monts…”
“I did?” I replied.
“Yes you did Mr. Young. Look at your contract.”
Screen capture of my actual “contract.” Read that fine print!
The Knot’s representative forwarded me the initial sales receipt they had on file. When I read through it, my jaw dropped. There in fine print at the bottom of the receipt it basically said that if I did not object within three days of this email, it meant that I agreed to the contract.” On another attached “Terms and Agreement” page, in what looked like biblical fine print, read a sentenced that explained that my credit card could be charged automatically, at will, every month for 12 months, or 6 months, or indefinitely, depending on the advertising program I was enrolled in.
I told The Knot, “Wait a minute, this is not what I agreed to. I didn’t agree to this.”
“Yes you did sir. Because you did not object within three days, you agreed to our terms and conditions, now may I please have your credit card information.”
“No”, I said sternly. “This is not how business is done. Where is the signed contract? You can’t validate a contract just because you don’t receive a response within three days.”
“Sir, yes we can. This is how we’ve been doing business for years. Now please, please submit your credit card information.”
“You’re not getting it. Look, you can’t slip a business a micky, and then steal from their wallet every month just because they didn’t get the opportunity to say no”, I said.
“Sir if we do not get your credit card information, we will send this to collections as we are providing a service.”
“…a service that doesn’t work…” I interrupted.
“It doesn’t matter.”
“So when can I cancel my account?”, I asked.
“Within a year of your purchase, and you have three day window to do so”, she said. “After that window, we reserve the right to charge your account $190 a month until your next cancellation opportunity, which will occur in 12 months.”
“This is bull…. And you’re not getting my credit card information!” I said as I hung up the phone.
Needless to say, I was pissed after the conversation, and at level 10. Quickly, I scoured the internet in search for other victims of The Knot. And guess what? I found many others who were taken advantage, just like me. Promised one thing, delivered another, just like me. Lied to…just like me.
Here’s a voice:
And another voice:
It goes without saying that legitimate businesses do not operate under such terms. Scams do. Scams such as those “As seen on TV” advertisements that tell you if you call now, you’ll get a free gift worth hundreds of dollars. Then when you call up, they inform you that they need your credit card information to pay for the shipping and handling. When you receive your gift in the mail you receive a receipt with fine print on the bottom that states something in the arena of “If you keep the gifts you have agreed to their terms to be billed every month for our SPECIAL PRODUCT.” And then suddenly you’re getting some crap you don’t want every month and you’re stuck in that contract for every month until you cancel your credit card. That’s how these scams work….that’s how the Knot operates. LIKE A SCAM.
So in this case, the truth hurts. And I can only conclude that The Knot is a scam. And it must operate like one because their advertising doesn’t work for most wedding vendors. If their advertising did work, they could in fact, honor a month-to-month promise, which would be an advertising program based upon performance. But they don’t. They have to trap vendors into paying more than they want to and threaten them with collections, and thrust the vendors into paying it by threatening to send thier unpaid bill to collections.
Well, we, the wedding vendors of the world have to put a stop to this commercial bullying. If you’re a vendor who has been scammed, please comment below and share your horror story. Next, share this post with other vendors that are thinking about advertising on The Knot. Right now, complaints are not centralized in one area on the net because…guess what…the Knot does not exist on Yelp! That’s right….
As of now, my webstore on The Knot still stands. Click here if you want to see it! They still haven’t cancelled it and I haven’t paid a penny to them. I have a feeling that a good portion of vendors on The Knot want out.
The Knot is not getting anything from me, not a penny, not a dime…nothing. They can send my account to collections. But from what I’ve been told by my lawyer, for the fact that they threatened me, that is against the law.
Before The Knot ripped me off, I had a lot of other concerns about them, those of which I will probably get into later. But lets just say that Brides should also be aware.
To my fellow wedding vendors, tread carefully. The Knot is definitely a scam, but there are many more advertising scams out there that try to take advantage of us regularly.
The Knot has removed my storefront from their webpage and cancelled my account. I thought this was a good step in the right direction and The Knot would finally be out of my hair, but I was wrong. Today, I was contacted by The Scam, oh I mean The Knot, yet again. But this time it was from a different department and it was via email. They sent me an invoice that reflected my previous payments, and also for so called “missed payments.” These “missed payments” of course, were not “missed payments” at all. They are payments which I refused to pay because I had to force my hand to stop the unauthorized monthly automatic debits The Knot had stolen from my credit card. By now, you know the entire story.
The person who contacted me is Amanda Arends. She also told me to contact Brandi at 1-888-274-9211 to discuss payment options. Does anyone recognize these names? I do not have a last name for Brandi though.
I told them very bluntly, like I did the others, they are not getting a penny from me. I tried to cancel my account this summer, and they told me they were unable to. Yet, here they are cancelling my account….after they kept it up against my will since I first expressed my concerns. Why did they keep my site up? Well, apparently it was to pile up a bill. What a bunch of unethical bastards. By the way, during the last few months, I dedicated my paid storefront site on the Knot to describe their unethical business practices. I even linked that site to this page. And guess what? Well, they took down my links, my descriptions of their practices. But I kept putting it back up. They finally figured, they lost the battle, took down the site and then sent me a bill.
Since writing this article, I got a lot of hits from vendors and brides who wanted to complain about the Knot. But, they didn’t want to complain publicly because they were scared of possible repercussions from a large publicly traded company.
I’ll let you know if anyone else contacts me on the phone from the Knot. I will detail their entire call here, and I’m going to name names this time. Those who aid and abet unethical organizations need to also be held accountable for their actions.
As of now, I still do not plan to pay the bill. But if The Knot bullies me anymore, I will pay the bill, and I will use their own storefront once again to tell brides and vendors very publicly about their unethical business practices. I will also name names and list points of contact to those who aid and abet this company on that storefront.
A few surprising notes from my last contact with THE KNOT.
For the first time from The Knot, I actually received an invoice.
As you can see the invoice is dated very recently 11-6-14. Under the services which is offered, there is no end date, so this can keep going and going. I’m not paying this bill. Also, I was supposed to get A LOT more services than just a featured vendor and a single Knot Storefront. I actually had two storefronts, not just one. I was also supposed to receive an additional form of advertising but I’m not exactly sure what that was. Apparently, they don’t even have the accurate billing information in their scam.
Now this is very very interesting. Here they are asking for my payment information. But look at the bottom, they are asking for authorization, with a signature. This was never done. NEVER! If you remember, THE KNOT would basically send a vendor an invoice, then inform you with fine print, “if you don’t reply within 3 days of receiving that email, it meant you agreed to the terms and conditions.” And then “ta da!” you would be billed every month via your credit card.
These are the updates I have for you so far. I’ll let you know what happens next. There is possibly a class action lawsuit in the works. Those involved will also be named in the lawsuit.
UPDATE: FEBRUARY 11, 2014
A couple of updates.
NEGATIVE OPTION BILLING: Through a crap-load of research on the internet, I’ve found out that the billing practices of The Knot is called Negative Billing Option. Basically, it’s an auto-renew that occurs if you, the customer, fail to inform a business that you are not interested in their services. The FTC has been trying to crack down on this legal loophole and there has been some resistance. The Knot takes negative option billing to the next level as they literally do not require a signature to charge your credit card, or a signature to lock you into a one year advertising contract. According to The Knot, all it takes to lock you into a year long advertising contract is for you to not respond.
FACEBOOK PAGE! I’ve been receiving a handful of phone calls and emails from other wedding vendors across the country who has been taken advantage of. I’ve made a facebook page so we can all communicate. That page can be found here: