Monday, 9 July 2012

Ning's abysmal communication on billing

I use Ning to provide a framework for online discussion groups about art. The framework they offer and the service they provide is great.

However I have one MAJOR complaint about Ning. I complained about it last year - to Ning.  The situation is no better this year so I'm going to complain about it again - and this time I'm doing it in public.

Ning's communication with respect to annual subscription billing is absolutely APPALLING!

ABYSMAL is another word I would quite happily use.

Communication is limited to a pop-up message on entry to the network.
  • There are no emails to the network owner prior to payment becoming due
  • There are no invoices delivered via email to the owner's inbox - PRIOR to payment.
  • Continued subscription is assumed and revisions to existing arrangements are made difficult for network owners due to the lack of information on the network dashboard
  • Payment can be made BEFORE an owner has had a chance to review the payment.
Now as it happens I don't want to revise my current arrangements.  However if I did Ning doesn't give me much of a chance to do something about it.

 However as somebody who is very familiar with the proper statutory requirements and other good practice standards applied to systems for billing accounts I know that Ning's arrangements fall far short of what's required.

 I conclude that Ning's communication on invoices is very poor and below all reasonable expectations of standards for online payments.

 It made me think last year that there's a need for some sort of online financial systems ombudsman. I'm thinking the same thing again this year.

This is the online billing enquiry they're receiving from me today.
Please answer the following questions:
  1. Why does a responsible company not have a setting for account details and payments of invoices linked to an individual's personal account and/or the network account.
  3. Why do you not communicate with the site owner via email in advance of the billing date with respect to annual billings.  I do not in any way regard a flash-up message when logging in as any sort of adequate substitute for proper communication.  For one thing there is no online record which is accessible to me that it has occurred.
  5. Are your billing arrangements fully transparent and completely compliant with all statutory legislation and prevailing good accounting practice relating to the payment of bills for online services?
I'd be very interested to hear about other people's experiences of Ning's Billing arrangements.

UPDATE:  Here's the automated response which completely fails to address any of the questions asked. Like I said - their communication is abysmal!

Hi there,

Thanks for contacting us. You can view all of your account information, including your complete billing and invoice history, by signing in directly to using the email address you used to create your network. You can also access your account from the dashboard of your network by clicking "My Account." For any questions, please refer to our Help Center article located here:
We hope this helps.

The Ning Team

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