AWeber Holds Data Hostage?

According to Blogger “EarlGrey”, of Syndk8.com, he has an issue with AWeber. The issue: that he can’t pay his bill because of a debit card problem and because of that his account has completely been locked, and they don’t accept paypal or another instant payment system.

 I asked Aweber if they could unlock my account to active for a few days so that i could have time to get things sorted and get my card unlocked or find another payment way but i needed those days to sort it.The other payment options can take several days to sort and i haven’t seen a check for about 4 years so that’s not an option.

As of now I have no access to my lists so even if I wanted to which I didn’t before this I couldn’t migrate it to somewhere else that took PayPal for example.

This sounds ridiculous to most people, because it is a standard practice that the client, not the mailing company, owns the data in any system.  This prevents companies from holding hostage data in order to get what they want, or worse, refusing to allow people to export their data to a competitor. In fact, I believe that most companies do not have this practice – they want you to pay, but if you ask for your data, they will give it to you.

However, if you read AWeber’s policy, there is something a bit on the disturbing side:

 The subscriber agrees that the company has the right to delete all data, files or other information that is stored in the subscriber’s account if the subscriber’s account with the company is terminated, for any reason, by either AWeber Systems or the subscriber.

While this doesn’t specifically address the issue, it does mean that if Aweber doesn’t like you, or your account, they can shut it down and delete all your data. If you haven’t backed it up, you are up a certain creek. The deletion of data seems like a really weird thing to do, especially since it definitely ensures that a customer will never come back to you again if you royally f-k them over.

I spoke to “Earl” last night, and one of the things he pointed out that most companies have grace periods, especially for long term customers. He mentioned he’s worried if he goes on vacation or something, what might happen if there is an issue. His hosting provider wont automatically shut him down, why should aWeber. He makes a very good point that they need to consider client services first, especially in issues like this. They at least need to provide a way for the customer then to leave.

Note: AWeber replied to my query this morning, and says something completely different:

If you fail to pay your invoice by the due date, then you aren’t able to access your account or send messages until you pay the outstanding charges.

I should note here that if there’s a problem charging a customer’s card when his or her account comes up for renewal, that customer has 20 days between when the initial billing attempt failed and when the invoice is due. It isn’t like we immediately shut off your account if your card fails for some reason.

At any time during this 20 days, the customer can continue to access his or her account, send messages, access data, export his or her lists, and so on. The account is 100% fully functioning. If the customer can’t or won’t make the payment on or before the due date (20 days after the initial attempt to charge the card), access is then revoked until the account is made current.

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Pace Lattin

Pace Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pace Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.

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  1. After many years of paying aweber over 2k a month aweber cancelled all my accounts and deleted all my data without notice. They did this right after billing me for 2k one last time. It cost me over 100k to generate that data. Beware. They deserve to be sued.

  2. Aweber is a bunch of crooks and have no customer loyalty. Horriblle customer service as well as completely disorganozed. They hijacked my data and never gave it back only after telling me in an email how platinum my account, offering free services.

    a class action law suit should be filed against these people. I assume they are selling the hijacked data and exploiting it

  3. I am just wondering if this Aweber same as Auto-responder? even though its my first time to know about this I think that this information is very useful for people who are using Aweber.

  4. Always, always ‘own’ your own content first. The above is one of many reasons that I run my own lists, on my own servers. Of course not everyone has the technical aptitude to do so but a little effort in the beginning can go along way in preventing scenarios like those outlined in the article above. For those interested in running their own lists, and with little initial investment in a learning curve checkout (Google search) for ARP3 or the newer ARPReach which runs on virtually any Linux server.

  5. Just for the record, FeedBlitz (think of us as a cross between FeedBurner and AWeber) does not lock you out of your account for paymenbt issues. We simply stop sending emails. You always have access to *your* subscriber data.

    Nor (and, again, unlike a certain mail service) do we charge for unsubscribed, pending or deleted subscribers. We only charge for readers we are actively mailing for you. No need to spend time managing readers to keep the fees down.


    Phil Hollows
    Founder and CEO
    FeedBlitz, LLC.

  6. Sounds like a total non-issue here. This guy had 20 days grace and he didn’t use it.

    Why should Aweber have any obligations to the client if they haen’t paid for 20 days? Why should they lift a finger?

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