Not a Whole Lotta Love for American Greetings

Written by Alan Wallace

Sending an e-card is easy. Getting out of a recurring membership charge is not as simple. Alan Wallace on his experience with American Greetings. — Valentine’s Day is not always about dinner, chocolates, roses or a four-foot-tall teddy bear. I have a great friend I wanted to send a simple card to. As I never mail anything anymore, I went to the American Greetings website — which in all honesty is a great site that lets me order cards, print cards at home or send e-cards — even cards designed for mobile devices. The cards are of great quality and very creative.

If I choose, I can attach a gift card to e-cards when I send them. I can also schedule cards to be sent at a later date, and there is even an iPhone app. It seems the company has thought about everything but how a user can cancel his or her membership to the site.

It is not uncommon now for sites to require you to enter credit card data when signing up for a trial membership. I get that since some sites don’t even let you use the site without giving it an email address — which I personally find disturbing — but what I found uniquely annoying about the otherwise well-designed site is the policy that requires me to call to cancel my membership.

american greetings subscription cancel

Image Credit: Alan Wallace

I searched all over the site today to find a way to cancel my trial membership because if I waited till two weeks I would forget about this and be charged, when all I wanted to do was try it out for today. In order to do this I had to wait for 30 minutes on hold.

I understand companies don’t want you to use them and go away. They want you to be a customer for the long haul. In fact if they can lock you in to recurring charges, well, that is better than gold for the marketing team. But if someone wants to cancel, making them wait forever does not exactly do anyone any good and really has me leery of coming back to buy at the site in the future.

It’s all about the customer experience.

The lesson I learned is that I would have spent less time going to the store, buying the card and mailing it than going to the site to send this easy-to-use e-card.

I really don’t enjoy this holiday.

Feature image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Based in Seattle, Alan Wallace is a senior contributor and on our security team here He previously has worked as a London-based foreign correspondent for UPI. He also founded InterActive Agency, the first Internet-focused ad agency. Alan later joined Live365, where he served as a vice-president and oversaw its rise to the No.1 Internet radio network spot. He has been a judge for the Codie Awards for nearly a decade. Got a question, comment or story idea for Alan? Email him at, or contact him at +Alan Wallace.


1 Comment

  • I wonder what would happen if, in desperation, you went into your account details on their site and–changed your credit card info — to nonsense numbers.

    If the site overwrites the old with new, they won’t be able to charge you in the future.

    Leave your phone number – who knows, maybe they’ll call *you* and you can give them a piece of your mind. Leave your email unchanged too – if they complain by email you might be able to get a more direct connection to someone live. If not – then change your email address too, also to nonsense.

    With luck, they won’t have been smart enough to keep your prior valid credit card number and email address….

    In other words: Play Dirty.