Wednesday 7 November 2012

Done ... I have been!

A few months ago the Home Guard records for Durham were released by the National Archives - my mum and I were very keen to find my grandad whom we know was an officer in the Home Guard.  We found his cloth badges from his uniform and a leaflet giving code words for Home Guard use in a tin box that I am in the process of scanning and photographing for inclusion in our family history.

11th Durham Battalion of the Home Guard cloth badges
There was no sign of my Grandad on the National Archives site, so I wrote an email to them asking about this.  I did not recieve a reply.

Some while later, around a month ago I saw that some Home Guard records were available on the Forces War Records site.  I did a preliminary search and found my grandad's name straight away.  Eagerly I paid £8.95 for one month's subscription.  The record that appeared was just a transcription in a mock up of a page.  Fiddle part one.

What you see until you pay
There are no images, just some basic information that I could have mostly worked out from the information I already had. 

First Name:     W.S
Initials:     W.S.
Surname:     Hutton
Rank:     Lieutenant
Service:     Home Guard
Unit:     11th Durham (Durham) Battalion
Nationality:     British
Duty Location:     Durham
Resided Town:     Durham
Resided County:     Northern
Service From Date:     01/02/41

So that I felt I had used my £8.95 wisely I looked up as many of our family names as I could.  And then I offered to look up names for my Facebook friends.  Eventually I did feel I had got my money's worth.  I would not ever have chosen to renew though.

A day or so ago I noticed a ghost transaction on my bank account, £8.95 showing as about to leave.  I checked Amazon, nothing ordered in advance, I couldn't think what it was. 

Today it materialised as a deduction from Forces War Records.  I checked the account - I can no longer see records (I took the screen shot above just now**), but according to them my account is valid now for another 28 days.  I have complained.  BUT: Their small print says,

"To ensure you receive uninterrupted access to Forces War Records, your
subscription will be automatically renewed for successive periods of four weeks unless you change your profile by setting the autorenew setting to no. [...] If you do not do so then consequent terms are granted automatically and as they are immediately granted services (whether used or not) refunds cannot be considered."
Fiddle part two.  There's a little ticky box on the profile page.  Now I can't prove that I ticked this box last month.  I am sure that I would have done if I'd seen it.  However it now looks as if I didn't.  So I'm £8.95 down.  Great, just when we can't afford it.  No more buying anything or going anywhere for me for a month or two now.  Sorry OH.

And WATCH OUT if you take out a subscription to this site.  The application form is misleading.  Doesn't that look as if £8.95 is for ONE month?

**As I couldn't see the details of WS Hutton I logged out and back in again.  Then I could see the details of the records again.  So part of their system had renewed me and charged me, but my account didn't refresh until I logged back in.  Fiddle part three - now they can say I've accessed a record so I have to pay.

PS  On Friday I got an email from Forces War Records that said that as "a gesture of good will" they would refund my £8.95.  But they emphasised that it was my own fault for not reading the Ts & Cs properly.  I said Thank You. 

1 comment:

Robyn said...

Yay! well done you - I'm SO glad you got it back! I hate things like this - basically designed to trick people into paying for something without realising.