Awful customer experience and ageing, buggy website.
I had an awful customer experience with ADVFN recently. After being a subscriber to their service for five years, I had stopped using there site and didn't wish to continue my subscription.
Of course I forgot about the auto-renewal that comes with the annual subscription and since I wasn't sent a notification email about the auto-renewal coming up (which is good practice for online subscription services), the first I saw of it was when I saw the 750 charge to my credit card.
I saw the charge within a week of the auto-renewal and so contact ADVFN immediately to try and cancel my subscription (acknowledging that I had forgotten about the auto-renew) and requesting a refund for all or at least a pro-rata amount of the renewal fee.
To my surprise, this would not be as straight forward as one might expect and what I encountered was a very difficult and frustrating experience.
After a number of fruitless emails and phone calls, I was only ever able to get through to their technical support team, which continuously reminded me that the decision to provide a refund was only allowed to be made by their "admin team" and that all they could do was forward my request to them and wait to hear back.
What stood out to me as being very peculiar, as well as frustrating, was that I was told the admin team didn't have any phones and so I wouldn't be able to speak to anyone from the team who would actually be making the decision on the refund. Imagine a team in a modern office that didn't have a single phone between them. Seems farfetched at the very least.
This meant all interaction had to be carried out through the technical support team, which didn't have any decision making power on the matter.
In reality, it's quite clear that this is there way to avoid dealing with customer frustration. By palming off the responsibility of unfavourable decisions to an imaginary, unreachable "admin team", they don't have to deal with the backlash from customers directly. Probably an effective, if not very underhand, tactic for avoiding dealing with customers properly.
After three weeks of back and forth emails & calls I was told that I wouldn't be able to receive a refund. The best they could offer me is 2 months free on a new service, should I choose to add to my subscription. As if I really want to avail of another service after this experience.
All I can say is that the very poor customer service and the fact that they have tried so hard to keep my money, despite being a paying subscriber for 5 years and making quite a reasonable request for a refund, screams out to me that there is something seriously wrong with this company.
This is somewhat backed up by the state of the current website. It hasn't had any new features added for sometime and the existing features, like HTML real-time charts, work very poorly indeed. In fact, one time when I raised a number of issues with their HTML chart service, they simple changed the web page title to include "BETA". What a fantastic solution!
There is clearly something wrong with this company and their customer service is no where near a comparable site like Stockopedia or other online subscription services, where I have experienced similar issues without any issue at all.
So based on the above I would highly recommend avoiding ADVFN like the plague, both as a potential investment and as a subscription service.
I strongly feel that ADVFN will go out of business in the next 5-10 years because they are way behind on innovation and also on customer service.