Is this intentional, Ning? Is it ethical?

When a company sends me an invoice with no return address or way to reply, I consider it invalid. And unprofessional.

For example, I just received an invoice from [email protected] for $24.95. That’s the fee for withholding advertising on the group lukeshosp.ning.com.

I’ve tried to close this account but could not figure out how to do so. I expected Ning to close it when they went to pay-to-play. After all, their site says:

    Deadline for Selecting a Ning Plan Has Passed
    We are no longer offering or supporting free Ning Networks. If you haven’t selected a plan for your free Ning Network, you can no longer access the network. To regain access, please visit www.ning.com, sign-in and then click “Select a Plan” for your Ning Network. You can also Archive your members and content or take your Ning Network offline.

    If you submitted a ticket related to a billing issue, invoice request or sponsorship application, we will respond to your ticket as fast as possible. However, to ensure that we provide responsive, helpful support for Network Creators with Ning Mini, Plus or Pro plans, we are closing all other tickets submitted by Ning Networks that haven’t subscribed to one of the three plans. If this applies to you, please select a plan and resubmit your question or issue.

    Thank you and we hope you choose to continue to grow your community on Ning!

When I go to other Ning sites I’ve closed, this is what I see:

It appears that Ning closes accounts automatically unless there’s a for-fee service attached to them, even if it’s a service they no longer offer.

This reminds me of the bad old days when AOL made it drop-dead simple to sign up for their service but nearly impossible to drop out. For a while, you could not leave AOL online. You had to telephone customer support and wait while “Our operators are serving other customers.”

When I sign into the Ning site, the first thing I encounter is a page asking me to select a pricing plan. This page should include an option to cancel a site.

After 30 minutes of looking, I have not been able to find a way to communicate with Ning’s billing department. No button, no email address, no instructions on how to depart. So instead, I will state my intentions on this post: I refuse to pay your $24.95/month fee for a service you are not providing.

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