We are in receipt of email correspondences dealing with the automatic renewals for membership. When the site was created and demonstrated, at the October 2019 Members meeting, all members were notified to access their account and rejoin because the OPA does not store credit card information. Members were further advised that all memberships are set to renew automatically after the enrollment process to the new site. If a member does not want to auto-renew, they can simply opt out by changing “does the membership expire from “No” to “Yes”. We have reviewed the site and have determined that during the recent updates to the website, the function to opt-out of automatic renewal was not available to those who may want to opt-out. For this reason, if you wanted to opt-out of the automatic renewal and were unable to do so as a result of the website updates the OPA will provide a refund. In addition, we have learned that some members were double charged. If you were double charged, the OPA will provide an immediate refund. Please note that due to COVID-19 and the fact that many members were not able to work, the OPA reduced the automatic renewals by almost 50%. For example, we discounted the Voting Membership to $100.00, plus HST rather than $175.00, plus HST. If we refund, and you sign up at a later date you will be charged the full membership fee of $175.00, plus HST unless the member submits a hardship request to the Board.
The Board has seen the Facebook posts regarding the automatic renewals and the double charge. With respect to the automatic renewals, there is nothing nefarious about it. Thousands of companies do this every year. If you do not want to auto-renew, please turn off the auto-renew as soon as the option is updated. The OPA is not here to take advantage of its members but to assist them to navigate and nurture their art so we can elevate this profession to the greatness that it is. As your President, I would not be a party to any decision or policy that takes advantage of its members and I can tell you that everyone on the Board works tirelessly to advance this association and feels the same way.
It was the OPA’s intention to create a virtual library filled with resources to assist members as they work from home. Although we accomplished this task, changes were made to the website that was not authorized. While these changes were done in the spirit of wanting to take the OPA to the next level, they are the cause of some of the problems that we are now experiencing. We will fix these problems and move on. Having learned of the issues with the site and out of an abundance of caution, the Board immediately jumped into action to create a separate CPD portal to ensure that no member was kept from fulfilling their CPD requirements. We will continue to improve the site to better serve our members but first, we must fix the issues caused by the unauthorized changes. As your President, I take full responsibility and have devoted countless billable hours to ensure this issue does not severely impact our members and that it is resolved as quickly as possible. As I write this letter to you there are web professionals working to fix broken links. To prevent this from happening in the future, I am recommending to the Board that it is time that the OPA has a full-time person to deal with members’ issues with the website and to prevent unauthorized changes to the site.
Credit Card Information
Your credit card information is not stored with the OPA and there was no compromise to any credit card information as far as the Board is aware. Please be advised that your credit card information is stored with a reputable merchant service that processes all credit card transactions for the OPA. Information is transferred over a highly encrypted connection and payments are recorded by the provider in the same fashion. If any member has any concerns about a credit card breach, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We apologies for any inconvenience with the automatic renewal and double billing. In approximately one hour from now, I will be trained to assist in the refunding of double charges so as to prevent any further inconvenience to members. We will ensure that you get a refund when and if it is requested as well as a refund if you were double charged. In the meantime, please send all your requests for a refund or to turn off your automatic renewal to email@example.com. Please do not send any further requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember to subscribe to Quick Law to secure your use of the program for $30.00, plus HST per month, as well as the free 60 days trial up to February 28, 2021. I would like to have a conversation with members on how to reduce the monthly $30.00, plus HST to $15.00 per month, plus HST, yes $15.00 plus HST per month! We are currently negotiating to have Litigator added to the subscription but before this addition, I would like us to reach the 100 subscription milestone before the deadline. Please subscribe now!
To those who reach out to me and are still waiting on a response, I do get back to everyone. I run a busy practice and have sacrificed countless billable hours since the website issues began, so give me some time to get back to you. If your issue involves a refund, please put the word REFUND, in capitals in the subject line of your email. If it pertains to auto-renew, please put the word AUTO RENEW in capitols in the subject line of your email.
Happy New you to you all and I hope we can start to return to some normalcy with our practices very soon.
Ontario Paralegal Association