Friday, December 17, 2010

ClearPlay way THUMBS DOWN!

A little over a year ago we had a company party at work. There was an auction for a whole bunch of prizes and a BBQ. It was a lot of fun for me and my family. We ended up getting this DVD player called a ClearPlay. They are a Utah-based company that makes DVD players with an auto editing feature. You can edit out of any movie - language, nudity, violence, even disrespect to the flag or parents. Their team watches the movie and records what second of time on the film the questionable scene plays and then you can select the level of editing you want to be done right on the machine. Sounds awesome right?

Well with the hardware came a 2 year membership because they purchased it at Costco so I brought it home, registered the product online, and downloaded the current database of movies. We were a little excited to play our first movie and see how the editing works. We put in a movie that we knew had a few cuss words and let the player do its thing. We found the resulting editing to be less than seamless. It seemed as though it would skip and was really choppy. We were disappointed to find it didn't work like we had expected. It would cancel the sound and the words right after the swear words which would exaggerate the word.

Needless to say we didn't use the editing because of how annoying it was. It did come with a free year of downloads but we never used it again. Yesterday I got a phone call and was told that my credit card was expiring and they needed a new card to put the "charges on". WHAT?! I never gave them permission to charge me for the year's FREE trial! I did give them my credit card to register but I didn't sign up for any extra service that would cost money.

In speaking with the customer service representative, he was very apologetic and understanding as he transferred me to the department that took care of refunds. When "Dorthy -like the Wizard of Oz Dorthy" got on the line and I explained how I didn't authorize anything she told me that I "will lose this battle" and that I should meet her halfway to get a 50% refund. I told her that wasn't good enough. She told me that when I checked the box at the end of the web page that I agreed to their "terms and conditions". I never read the 6 page addendum to registering a FREE trial!

She informed me that was the best her company was going to do. I asked her if ClearPlay was a Utah based company and she confirmed. I asked to speak to her supervisor. John got on the phone and informed me that it was not his responsibility to call and tell me when the free trial began and when I would be charged because he is not in charge of my finances. He made the comparison of a Costco and if you don't buy anything during the year they don't refund your membership - THEY ACTUALLY DO!!!

I told him how not making it clear people are going to charged later on is bad business. I then tried to explain the lack of logic in his analogy but he tried to talk over me. That really gets on my nerves when people do that. He did it over and over again until I pointed out that he was trying to talk over me and I asked his name and to speak to his supervisor - he hung up on me. That is probably the worst thing someone can do to me. Does this customer service manager really not have the social skills necessary to carry on a phone conversation that he is left no choice but to hang up. I wasn't mean or unruly. I didn't insult them or swear. I called back and left a message for his manager and for him to call me. I also sent an email to ClearPlay.

At this point, some of you might think to yourselves "why care so much"? The answer is, because I can't stand people trying to get in my wallet who don't deserve to be there and then justify why I owe them money. After I called back several times trying to reach John who wouldn't come to the phone and George his manager I finally decided I would drive to their headquarters in Salt Lake City, UT and get my money back in person.

Today during work I checked my email and was surprised to hear from John:

"I have already discussed your complaint and your request with the Call Center Director. We are going to refund your other three months of billing in an EXEMPLARY example of our corporate good neighbor policy.

Have a great day"

Well John I must say I appreciate you giving me back 100% of my money that I didn't realize you were taking. ClearPlay you are not an Exemplary example of a quality product or customer service. I hope nobody buy this product for anything more than a regular DVD player. Remember two things:

1. Be careful what you agree to
2. Everyone wants a piece of the pie!

- Joe


  1. Ooh, I had major problems with Clear Play too! Not only does our player not play full movies (it overheats), some of the editing jobs don't work (like you pointed out), and I had huge issues with customer service over finances too. They really are just like you described! I'm glad you got your money back.

  2. Way to fight the fight! I hate stuff like that. I usually end up giving up and letting them have my money. I guess that's what most people do and that's how they stay in business. I'm glad you didn't give up.