An online purchase I made towards the end of last year back put me in mind of an episode of The Office (US) where the Michael Scott Paper Company realised that it was selling paper at unsustainable prices; Michael himself rang a customer to ask them to pay more. The goods had already been paid for and delivered.
After much soul searching and consideration, I have decided to publish details of this episode.
For ages I had been searching for a reasonably-priced way to safely store my large personal photo and video collection in a cloud-based, secure location to protect me from the usual fears: fire, flood, damage, theft, hacker sabotage, pestilence and plague. I stumbled across JustCloud.com, and this seemed to provide the solution I needed, and the special offer seemed to be great value.
After two weeks of uploading my >500GB collection, I was a little happier that I was covered. I paid up front for 2 years so I got Unlimited storage for EUR 166.85. UNLIMITED. Their word, not mine.
A few weeks later I was looking at application screens telling me I had to upgrade to keep the same service I was already using and had paid for. So I looked carefully at this in order to understand why; the three USB hard drives I kept permanently connected to my machine were the reason – suddenly, JustCloud decided I had to pay more for backing them up. But they decided this unilaterally and without warning. The amount they were demanding (also by email, by the way) was EUR 239.85 – far in excess of my original two year payment, and this was on top of my original payment.
I don’t need to tell you how or why this is wrong, and why I then demanded my money back, in full, without delay. I would have gladly have taken them to court for breach of contract for their nefarious practices, were it not for the complex, costly and time-consuming aspects of legal jurisdiction. I live in Ireland, they are based in the UK. But I would have dearly loved to have taught them a lesson.
Here is a snapshot of my initial angry email, sent in response to first discovering their trickery:
Message: Support, Having signed up to JustCloud and having used it since around August 10th, I now find that it is asking me for an additional EUR79.95 per external drives. Drives that it has been backing up since the start of my subscription. This is absolutely outrageous. You cannot change the terms of business part-way into my subscription. Unless this is rectified very quickly, I will expect a full refund of all monies paid and removal of all of my private files from your backup servers.
Their answer to this was of the cut-and-paste variety, and almost passive-aggressive in its tone. And what angered me further was that they seemed to be completely ignoring my point – that they can’t just make it up as they go along.
Hi Alan, I am sorry to hear you wish to cancel. The last thing we don't want to frustrate our customers, we had to put these additional charges in place to keep running our subscriptions at such a low price. As a valued customer we would be happy to offer you the Video Backup ***and/or*** Files over 1GB add-on for free. I just want to clarify that it is still possible to Drag & Drop or right click on a file that is anywhere of any type and back it up without these additional services. Please confirm how you want to proceed. -- -- XXXXXX XXXXXXXX User Experience Team www.JustCloud.com
But to tell me that they “…had to put these additional charges in place to keep running our subscriptions at such a low price” – a startling tacit admission that they were, in fact, making it up as they went along. There’s the court case winner right there, in a single sentence.
My next email was this:
The one thing you are doing, at least in this case, is frustrating a customer. It's fairly outrageous that you can decide to move the goalposts and tacitly admit to breaking your contract. Clearly, I am not a valued customer as you have just asked me to fork out an additional EUR 240 per year for the service you have already agreed to provide to me. It's not my fault your company has not properly costed its offering. Also, do you see the ridiculous irony in charging a *lot* more in order to "keep running our subscriptions at such a low price"? This is management speak at its worst and I'm not falling for it. Please cancel and refund my subscription payment, in full, as soon as possible. And please remove my backed up files from your servers. I will report this to Visa if my refund is not complete, to the penny. And I will get it too. I paid for two years up front. You really have quite a cheek forcing me to pay more, at this point, to get the same service you contracted with me to provide. I will now have to look again for an alternative replacement service, and for a service that is somewhat more trustworthy. I expect this behaviour will damage your business, and I don't care if it does. I will also take steps to warn those friends of mine I had already recommended your service to of this experience. And I will make a larger audience aware of it too. This sort of nefarious practice will simply not stand. Sincerely Alan Shanahan
After a couple of days I checked my credit card statement and saw that they had refunded me all of my payment, less approx. EUR 13 which I can only presume they kept to pay for using their time in responding to my emails. Call me a coward, but I couldn’t be bother going through the admin headache of chasing it.
By chance, I came across this Facebook page: Avoid JustCloud
I was not alone. It’s a fair assumption that you will only ever hear of a small percentage of unhappy customers, because many people will not take it upon themselves to chase these things up, complain openly or to join such unhappy public forums.
It’s outrageous that a subscription business thinks this type of nefarious practice will stand: simply because they cannot accurately build a cost model into their business. Getting a small minority of (potentially) loyal customers to pay for their business risks is no way to guarantee business survival; if anything, it’s only going to help guarantee failure. Do we really have to return to Business 101 by stating that the most important asset of a business is NOT its people, it is the CUSTOMERS? For the record, I actually annoyed myself typing that.
There are some damning reviews at this link: C|Net user reviews of JustCloud
I could continue to bore you with the subsequent relentless emails I got from them – almost as if none of this had happened – but I won’t. An automated marketing engine totally lacking in intelligence or any form of personal touch, all of which was glaringly obvious.
I wonder how much of my recurring business they lost. And how many lost referrals, on my part. And who will read this and decide not to use them? That’s one hell of a business strategy.
My message to the owners of JustCloud: Unless your business is comedy, don’t let comedians run your business.
July 31, 2013 at 12:20 pm
Just read your post re justcloud. I have had a similar experience with them. When it took ages and ages to upload a file, I had to pay extra to have a faster (reasonable speed) upload. When I emailed them that there was no searchbox for when I wanted to find a particular file and I had no way of knowing where it was, I was told that the file would be in the same location as it is in my computer and to look on my computer.
I explained further that the whole point of me having justcloud was insurance against fire, theft of computer etc, and that when I needed justcloud would be when and if my computer was converted into a pile of ashes or several grams of weed and cans of fosters, but the irony was lost on them. Will not be renewing my contract.
July 31, 2013 at 12:24 pm
Hi TC, thanks for sharing your experience. Let’s keep spreading the word and help get these idiots the level of new business they deserve.
September 2, 2013 at 11:08 am
Just cloud purely SCAM, one of the biggest in the internet .
I had 3 year unlimited upload account and they kick me out because they want me to upgrade to business user.
They change the terms when ever they like, even if its means to kill their users .
JUST CLOUD IS A SCAM.
Our account monitoring system has flagged your account as being used out the boundaries of a normal user.
Unfortunately this means we will no longer be able to have you on our personal user platform.
You have 30 days from today to move your files away otherwise they will be permanently deleted and your account cancelled.
The only other option we can offer you is to switch to one of our business accounts which will be more suitable for your data storage needs.
The account you are currently on is designed for personal use only, We understand that there might be a small increase in plan cost but you will find a business account suits your backup needs better, all business accounts come with:
* Ability to create sub-accounts
* Ability to allocate backup space to users/devices
* FREE Network drive backup
* FREE external drive backup
* UNLIMITED sharing capabilities
Click Here to Upgrade to a Business Plan Now!
We also advise customers moving to a business option to delete unwanted files/folder to keep costs to a minimum as all business plans pay for space per GB.
As per our Terms and Conditions, we have the sole discretion to ask you to move plan type and there is nothing we can now do to prevent the above actions taking place.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS: 14. Termination and Fair Use Policy
(http://www.justcloud.com/terms – Sections 4, 14, 15 & 23)
PLEASE TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION AS YOUR ACCOUNT WILL CLOSE ON 28th September 2013.
30 DAYS FROM NOW.
Automated answer after I replied to them:
Thanks for your email.
Your account has been flagged this means we will no longer be able to have you on our personal user platform
We have to follow our Terms and Conditions, there is nothing we can now do to prevent the actions taking place.
We understand that there might be a small increase in plan cost but you will find a business account suits your backup needs better.
We do have the sole discretion to ask you to move plan type. Additionally we allow any user 30 days to recover all stored data from our first contact.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS: 14. Termination and Fair Use Policy (Sections 14 http://www.justcloud.com/terms)
If you would like to discuss cancelling please email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to discuss upgrading to business please email email@example.com
If you would like help on deleting devices or data please email firstname.lastname@example.org
To reiterate, there is NOTHING we can now do to prevent the actions taking place.
November 24, 2013 at 11:37 am
I’ve unfortunately read all these reviews too late. I’ve also had a terrible experience with them. This is my review: