Heritage Microfilm and NewspaperArchive.com Under State Review After Complaints

Here is an extract from an article written by Erin Jordan and published in The (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) Gazette:

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office will investigate a Cedar Rapids company that digitizes newspapers and other documents after complaints from across the country about “deceptive and misleading” practices that include charging subscribers for involuntary donations to a charity run by the company’s founder.

Heritage Microfilm and NewspaperArchive.com, 855 Wright Brothers Blvd., Suite 2A, are accused in dozens of complaints filed with the state and the Better Business Bureau of not allowing subscribers to cancel services, refusing to grant refunds and failing to answer calls or emails.

Albuquerque, N.M., genealogist Kerry Scott blasted NewspaperArchive.com in a May 2 post on her blog, www.cluewagon.com, that garnered 169 comments.

Scott said the company renewed her subscription against her wishes and charged her credit card for “donations” to a charity, Global Way Makers, because Scott hadn’t seen a box online where she had to opt out.

The article goes on to say that sixteen people filed complaints about NewspaperArchive.com and Heritage Microfilm with the Attorney General’s office in 2012 and 2013.

You can read the full article at http://goo.gl/QaXLAr.

10 Comments

I get newspaperarchive through another membership so am not a true subscriber. I will be up a tree if anything happens to it. As far as the cluewagon woman is concerned, she is as she says is dedicated to genealogy. But I hit the button to her updated “cute” blog and she is complaining about ancestry, and quite a few others. (We just do it here – laughing out loud). I really think that one has to do our genealogy shopping well and with caution. but maybe it may come down to our having to travel worldwide and do our own research after all. (another lol)

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Just a reminder that many subscription services available to individual are also available at some libraries. Check your local public, college, and society libraries and then trade billing hassles and expense for a trip to the library. You never know, you just might find something else there, too.

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I had a bad experience with NewspaperArchive.com. I signed up for a subscription and didn’t intend to renew when the year was up. They didn’t send a courtesy reminder when the subscription was ending, and they renewed the subscription without informing me. I did not even receive a receipt or notice of the billing after the fact. I wasn’t aware of the renewal until I got my credit card bill. I wrote to them by email several times complaining & tried calling them. At first they said (via email) that they would cancel the subscription and refund my money. Then they reneged on that and said they would not cancel and would not send me a refund. After that, all I got was silence. No replies to further emails, nor did they answer phone calls. I contacted the BBB and they also got no reply and the company made no effort to resolve the issue with the BBB. The BBB already had a number of complaints from this company about these practices. I was stuck with the year long subscription I didn’t want. They just want to rope you in and bill you for as long as they can. At least I don’t think I was billed for this charity thing.

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A note for future issues–you can dispute a charge with your credit card company.

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That’s too bad if it turns out to be true. I’m not a NewspaperArchives subscriber, so have no experience with them. Still, there are shady businesses in genealogy, just like anywhere else. Go figure, huh?

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When I signed up for a free 7 day trial in March 2014, I was asked whether I’d like the subsequent subscription length to be one year or one month. I chose the one month option. When my 7 day trial was over, I got charged for one year at $79.95. I think I tried calling first, but couldn’t reach anyone, so I sent an email. Within a few days, they responded and canceled my sub and refunded the $79.95. I would have kept the one month for $7.95, but they didn’t even give me that option – just canceled and refunded the full amount.

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NewspaperArchive.com’s goodwill tank is not full, considering their $99.95 6-month subscription fee.

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I have been a subscriber for close to 2 yrs maybe three I do mine quarterly and each and every time the subscription fee increases without any notice of intent of increasing our subscription rates….

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I didn’t have a problem cancelling by calling 1-888-845-2887….

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I subscribed in the past because they are the only such service that has several newspapers that I need to access regularly. I previously had some of the problems others have mentioned here. I recently re-subscribed and I had excellent customer service. They were able to restore all of the clippings in my Treasurer Box and all my Saved Searches. It appears to me that they have cleaned up their act now, perhaps in part because of the lawsuit referenced here. I’ll repost if I find that this is not the case.

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