I used the Online Wall Street Journal at some point last year. I don't really recall what I was using it for at the time, but it seems that the WSJ Online, like many other online properties, bills you annually under the assumption that you will continue to use their product. I don't like this, especially since it's pretty obvious to them that I am not using my account. They may have told me they were going to do this, they may not have. It's less about whether they told me and more about the fact that I only want to pay for what I use. So when I saw that there was a charge on my corporate Amex from the WSJ online, I went to their site, and used an e-mail link to contact them about the issue.

Eleven days later, I get this:

From: Online Journal [mailto:onlinejournal@wsj.com]
Sent: Friday, January 26, 2007 10:33 AM
To: Heather Hamilton
Subject: billed for WSJ online <incident # redacted>


Recently you requested personal assistance from our on-line support center. Below is a summary of your request and our response.

Thank you for allowing us to be of service to you.



billed for WSJ online


 Discussion Thread

 Response (Customer Service)

01/26/2007 01:32 PM

Thank you for your email. During a process conversion, we discovered that we had not replied to the email message you previously sent. We are sending this email to let you know that your inquiry is important to us and we are here to provide assistance. If you still require assistance, please reply to this email and put "URGENT" in the subject field; we will be sure to reply with top priority. Thank you for your patience and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.


Customer Relations
1-800-JOURNAL (568-7625)

 Customer (Heather Hamilton)

01/15/2007 04:10 PM


I was recently billed $99 for the WSJ Online. I didn't know that I was going to be automatically billed each year. I may have used the WSJ at some point last year, but hopefully you can see that I have not been accessing my account (I just now logged in to review my account, but that's pretty much it). I'd like to have my account canceled and my subscription fee refunded.

If I do feel that I need to access the WSJ Online at some point in the future, I will come back and sign up and pay the fee. But I didn't realize I was going to be automatically charged every year and I would prefer not to pay for something up front that I am not confident I am going to need.

Can you help me take care of this?


Heather Hamilton
Staffing Manager, Marketing

<autosig links redacted>

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image001.jpg, 1395 bytes, added to incident


 Question Reference <redacted>

Date Created: 

01/15/2007 04:10 PM

Last Updated: 

01/26/2007 01:32 PM



Escalate to: 


Yeah, you read that right. Not only did it take eleven days to get a response due to a "process conversation" (what is that anyway?), but they marked my issue as "solved" when they sent me an e-mail to let me know their excuse and that if I really, really wanted the issue addressed, I had to send an e-mail back with the word "URGENT" in the subject line. Meaning that only "urgent" issues are going to be addressed and everyone else can go pound sand? This is hideous customer service. I expect more from a business publication.


I had a similar billing issue with Classmates.com not too long ago when they billed me and I contacted them to let them know I had not been using the site. The very nice customer service rep looked at my account, said he could tell that I had not been using it and let me know he would gladly refund my fee. That was that.  Mmm hmm, Classmates.com versus the Wall Street Journal. What is wrong with this picture?


And while I wait for their response, my expense statement becomes overdue. Seriously, if you ignore customer issues, they will go away; the customers, not the issues.