Having a friend who is considering starting an internet-based business, and enticed by an offer from a friend and former colleague (hi Dave!), I signed up for a recent promotion sponsored by Stomper Net.

The company is an apparent leader in the online sales development business (SEO), and their training was offered for just the price of shipping, as long as one agreed to try their new magazine.

The material arrived and after reviewing the magazine I decided to cancel.

That’s where the fun began. I called the number to cancel and couldn’t get through; all circuits busy.

Eventually, I got through, and when I selected the option to cancel I was forced to sit through another sales spiel, touting the articles coming in the next edition of the magazine.

More fun. At the end of the spiel I was told to go to a certain website to cancel. So much for “simply cancel by calling this number.” Yeah, silly me.

So I go to the website. Oh, it’s not ready yet. Tried calling a variety of numbers and got full mailboxes and no humans.

I finally reached Dusty at Stompernet HQ. He had an attitude and told me to use the web site. After I told him it wasn’t working I asked to speak to his supervisor.

After a bit of a wait, he came back and said he would handle the cancellation for me. But first he had to give me a hard time, telling me I shouldn’t be frustrated that it was hard to cancel, as, afterall, I had received the material for free. He didn’t seem to understand the concept that taking an hour to do a 5 minute cancellation isn’t free.

Then, when I asked for his last name and got no answer I told him that I needed it to document my phone call. (I anticipate that I’ll have to have my credit card company handle this based on my experience with Stomper.) I couldn’t believe it when he said, you asked if I had a last name, you didn’t ask me what it was.

So, if after all this, the Stomper product looks like it will help your business, go for it! As for me, I knew better, but was curious and this is the result.

The bottom line is, having a cancellation process that rivals AOL in terms of difficulty is unacceptable and borders on fraud. You’ve been warned.

Postscript: I was promised an email acknowledgement when my subscription was cancelled. Dusty said he would do that as soon as we hung up. I’m still waiting and will update this post if/when I’m notified.

Update: I received my cancellation notice.