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DrivePop's Double Cross: What to Do When an "Unlimited Deal" Expires

Unfortunately, Terms of Service leave little room for action.
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For any deal-hunter, offers that are marketed as "unlimited" or "lifetime" have a lot of appeal. After all, what's better than paying once for a service that you can use for a lifetime? But sometimes deals that seem too good to be true are too good to be true, as was the case with DrivePop's offer of "unlimited lifetime" cloud backup service for a fixed, up-front price.

How Could a Deal So Great Go Wrong?

To stay viable, unlimited or lifetime plans require that business costs stay predictable — anything that a business didn't plan for that causes prices to rise can easily sink all-you-can-eat style services. In the case of DrivePop, the business is simply a reseller of backup service LiveDrive which has increased pricing since it was acquired by j2 Global earlier this year. With those increased prices, DrivePop could no longer afford to offer customers unlimited bandwidth — despite the "unlimited lifetime" packages it originally sold.

Now, DrivePop has started charging what it calls "High Data Bandwidth Fees" to the service's power users — anyone who uses over a terabyte of storage — with prices ranging from $99.99 a month (3TB), to $199.99 a month (5TB), to $299.99 a month (10TB). Though that's a far cry from the "lifetime unlimited" service users were initially promised, DrivePop's terms of service explain, "Although Unlimited Space is available it does not grant unlimited bandwidth in the plan price for file transfer." The end result is that "unlimited" really means "up to 1 terabyte."

Though DrivePop claims that 99% of its users don't fall into this high-usage category, plenty of users who signed up for an unlimited plan are voicing complaints after their unlimited plan turned out to be not so unlimited. Is it legal for the company to bait and switch its customers like this? The answer, unfortunately, is probably so. Use of DrivePop is governed by its own terms of service, which states "We reserve the right to alter pricing, including ceasing to offer elements of the DrivePop Services. DrivePop will inform you by email if the charge for a service is to be altered. You can then decide if you want to continue to use such service."

Like most terms of service agreements, use of the service indicates acceptance of the terms — "By using the services you agree to be bound by these Terms in their entirety." And the terms can change at any time — "We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to change, modify, add, or delete portions of these Terms or the Privacy Policy at any time without further notice."

Not Much Customers Can Do

At this point, there may not be much to do but be glad that you got a reasonable deal for a year or so of cloud backup service and move on. Unlimited services, even from companies with great track records and good reputations, can be a bit of a risk, and businesses tend to leave a way to get out of these agreements in case business situations change.

We've already seen cellular data plans move away from unlimited bandwidth, or add caveats that otherwise make these plans less "unlimited" than you might expect. Even traditionally unlimited home internet services have begun to follow suit, adding bandwidth caps and other limitations to rein in the power users who make above average use of their services. As it becomes more difficult to find any services that are truly unlimited, consumers should be even more wary of "unlimited" verbiage in marketing materials — and the possibility of bait and switch tactics from retailers, intentionally or otherwise.

Have you been burned by a so-called lifetime deal that got cancelled? What did you do? Let us know in the comments below, and let's just hope that you didn't get a tattoo to secure a lifetime deal, only to see the business go belly-up.


Contributing Writer

Elizabeth is a professional writer and a non-professional technology enthusiast, with a keen interest in how tech is changing the world we live in.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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11 comments
shoonmcgregor
Good riddance to them and their contempt for users.
Moelarcurlian
Drive Pop just announced "Out Of Business As Of March 8, 2015." Everyone is supposed to reclaim their data before then. So much for "Lifetime Plan".
DonutHunter
Same deal as everyone else here. I paid through Paypal and tried to get their help but they are only willing to go back 45 days. Then they told me I had paid with Paypal Credit and that they didn't have a time limit on complaints. So I am downloading all the emails with DrivePoop and hope I will get something.

Here is the excuse they gave me in email: "Hi Bruce,

Our vendor (Livedrive) has suddenly decided to change the terms of our agreement. We need to alter our prices or we will go out of business and there will be nothing to offer.

This is not our decision, we have been forced by J2 Global.

We are currently preparing litigation against J2 Global.

I can extend your renewal date 3 months and we can revisit at that time to see what the J2 Global litigation results are. We are not trying to scam anyone, we have been bent over by Livedrive and either we change the prices or we are done and we can pack it in."

Sorry not the customer's problem, they should have offered a refund.
mcfilms
I fell for the same DrivePop "deal" as others here. I also had a back and forth with them and requested a refund for my initial year. They refused. I made it clear to them that this is unacceptable. Thank you invar9 for the state attorney general contact. I will file with them this weekend. If I EVER see DealNews promoting this company's "deals" again I will be furious.

adamlang, I am in California. Are you suggesting I can file a small claims claim against them without arbitration?
adamlang
You have a rather corporate-friendly viewpoint there. Perhaps you should have consulted a lawyer before making such a statement.

The fact is, contracts of adhesion such as this are looked at quite skeptically in many jurisdictions, and even if it contains a mandatory arbitration clause (which it probably does) you might well be able to get the whole thing tossed out as unconscionable in a state like California. ('We can change the terms of the agreement at any time to anything we want' basically beans we can do whatever we want to you and you have no legal recourse, which isn't a kind of contract the court typically finds reasonable.
iheartdn
Had a similar situation with a company and many of the individuals filed a complaint with the State's Attorney General's office. If they are HQ in Alabama, then look up the Attorney Generals office and file a complaint (which can usually be submitted online.) If enough people file complaints the company will have a suit filed by the AG's office on behalf of the government & the complainants. Worked for us.
invar9
I went back and forth with them for a couple of weeks. I had about 6 computers backing up about 800 GB of data. They were trying to charge me $289.99 per year now. Yes, their terms of service state the unlimited can change. They also state "lifetime is for as long as drovepop is in business and can not be transferred" They just changed me from a lifetime to a yearly account. If they are still in business, I am entitled to what I paid for. I would start with a BBB complaint. I filed the first day. http://www.bbb.org/northern-alabama thy are in Huntsville, AL
DrivePop, 515 Sparkman Dr, #115, Huntsville, AL 35816 Phone:(256) 503-5185
It is sad to see a local business like this doing such a obvious bait and switch.
waynehom
Well, I was hoping to have gotten more use out of the "unlimited space, unlimited computers", more than 13 months at least. I had 4 computers backing up to it, totaling about 3.5tb.
But I did know that it wouldn't be unlimited forever, that something would change. Oh well. I am just curious about their claim that it was because Livedrive was charging them more, even though the website still offers the reseller packages, which seem to be unlimited.
GreatM
Sunglasses. Maker eagle vision have lifetime warranty( even when u plain lost it) . When I called for replacement - policy changed and it's no longer lifetime. I got my free pair but hade 2 agree to new terms,and lost Lifetime part
Ron Bannon
I had a back-and-forth with their help system personal and they basically relented and removed the charges. I do not trust them and I bet they are just trying to calm me down temporarily before they go back to their scam. They can not be trusted! Yes, we need to get together to file a class action lawsuit, but I do not know how. Anyone out there willing to take the lead?
HeyTiger
What a bunch of garbage. Terms of service or no, in order to get customers, they promised "unlimited data for unlimited computers." To change their song now should entitle me to a full refund, not entitle them to charge more. There are probably enough of us to start a class action suit for the bait and switch tactic they've pulled here. At the very least, complaints should be filed with the Better Business Bureau.
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