The Paradox of Free Online Services

July 16, 2009 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

I was a victim not of a criminal or a scammer from cyberspace, not even of bandits or robbers of the outside world—but of deception.

Like how many times have you seen ads and promotions online that promises a free service yet upon completion of sign-up, it caught you off guarded as being a trial service? Isn’t it that disgusting and annoying for everyone to be in such a situation like I had been an hour ago. I was trying to find a service online that will allow me to send and receive faxes via email when I came to discover eFax. I find it a promising service at first and the fact that it’s bragging about providing a free service, I took the chance of getting one for myself hoping that it was genuinely free.

I took the time of getting a screen shot of the page to have a solid proof as you can see below.

eFax free account sign-up page

eFax free account sign-up page

If you will carefully read was on the sign-up page, it doesn’t clearly state the features that a free account holder can get. Unlike most web services that offer both free and paid options—these are well disclosed.

Now, here’s what makes me so annoyed. It’s not only after I have signed up and completely verified my account when this information struck my face. Have a look at this!

eFax 30-day trial

eFax 30-day trial

As you can see, it’s a complete perversion of facts intentionally used to get customers to sign-up and drive sales with a hint of deception. Why do they have to hide the eFax free account they are offering is just a 30-day trial? Are they afraid that their service might come off short that’s why they try to hide the truth or they’re simply one of those businesses trying to screw people with false positives?

Come on, customers love honest businesses and if they get what they want, they normally come back or they hold on it. End of story.

Prior to publishing this post, the free account I have had been already closed as per my request via the integrated chat service they have on the live account. They could have provided the chat service right on the signup page so questions can be thrown at them, right? If only they’ve disclosed it as a trial, it could have been better. Who knows? I might eventually upgrade my account.

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Category: websites

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