an open letter to - Dennis Roliff Creative
an open letter to

To whom it may concer and Shutterstock Global Customer Care,

Dennis Roliff here. I am a web developer and am working on a new website for a client. I needed some stock photography for the website and newsletters. I saw that Shutterstock had a “FREE 30 DAY trial” that included 10 image downloads. I signed up and things went quite well. The image variety and choices are fantastic. Downloading smooth and effortless. You can download watermarked trial images to show a client. Organizing your potential selections into ‘save’ folders is a big plus. I knew that I was going to cancel the “FREE 30 DAY trial” before the end of the “FREE 30 DAY trial period”. I signed up on 1/28/2020 ( user ID: 257205090 , user name: drb547939 ) so I knew that I needed to cancel before 2/28/2020 to avoid any charges. Come 2/26/2020 I logged in to cancel the trial, but found there was no way to do that in any of the account settings. I went to ‘billing’ to try and turn off auto renew but that was not possible either as the button was a solid black disk, not a toggle on/off button.

My thought process was to try the FREE 30 DAY trial period, see how it went, then, depending on how I was treated by customer service, recommend to my client that she consider a yearly subscription base on my good experience during the FREE 30 DAY TRIAL period.

I called customer service to find out why I couldn’t cancel my trial period. And the person said, oh I can help you with that, but you’ll be charged for 1 month of the subscription because our billing cycle charges two days prior to the end of each 30 day period. This was 2/26/2028… two days before the end of my FREE 30 DAY TRIAL period. And I said, well on the front page of the shutterstock
website it says clearly…. FREE 30 DAY TRIAL——> If you cancel within the first month, you pay nothing…
• Try the Shutterstock 10 images/month plan for free.

• If you cancel within the first month, you pay nothing.

then there’s a tiny little asterisk…… and the rub…
*To ensure seamless service, the charge will happen 4 days before your month ends.

So, your 30 DAY FREE TRIAL, isn’t really FREE for 30 days is it? It’s only FREE for 26 days.
The customer service person issued a refund of the one month charges. However, she seemed to be unclear about how many days before the end of the FREE 30 DAY trial period that an unsuspecting, and potentially regular customer would be unknowingly blindsided by the charge from shutterstock when they open their credit card statement.
Possibly better customer service training would be in order here? Just a suggestion.
She did her job and I would say that she probably does this on a regular basis due to the deceptive, possibly actionable way that you are advertising this trial period. Perhaps Leticia James would be a better person to decide that.

I was fully intending to recommend to my client that she seriously consider purchasing a 1 year subscription from Shutterstock.
Now, I am quite hesitant to do so due to the underhanded and deceptive practice that I experienced.

However, I am torn because of the amount of image, footage, music choices that Shutterstock has to offer and the mostly good experience that I had during the alleged 30 DAY FREE TRIAL.

If you were to offer me a 35% discount on a one year 10 images per month plan ( that would be a one time charge of $226.20 for the 10 images per month plan which would make each image $1.89 ) I would definitely consider strongly encouraging my client to purchase this plan.

In my research on best online stock agencies, Shutterstock ranks quite highly. I’m sure this conciliatory action on your part will be much more valuable in terms of marketing dollar than 35% of an annual 10 image/mo plan.

I appreciate your time and look forward to hearing from you.



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