Thursday, August 20, 2020

A Beginning

For a long time I have been a fan of Earth Class Mail and their excellent service. However, I was shocked last month to learn of their massive and outrageous price hike which they are forcing on not only new customers, but the loyal customers who helped establish the company in the beginning.

Earth Class Mail = No Class Mail for their despicable treatment of loyal customers in such an outrageous manner. Founder, Ron Wiener throws his loyal customers to the wolves, perhaps in order to finance his Bonanza B36TC?

Raise prices fine, but at least grandfather in those of us who helped you get established at a reasonable rate!

Are there other disillusioned Earth Class Mail customers out there?

UPDATE 8/24/2009: I've heard from Earth Class Mail former CEO Ron Wiener who seems to be the same decent person that we all saw in the "StartUp Junkies" show. The price increase was not his fault, nor did he have any input. Re: the price hike, he has tweeted to me:
Let's just say that it is not consistent with my own business philosophy, so it is shameful to see my personal rep sullied by it.
That's reasonable, right? See below for another posting dedicated to Ron. And since he is not to blame, who is? The VCs and Earth Class Mail COO, Sarah Carr:

Sarah Carr

36 comments:

  1. Well I can certainly sympathize. I have been an Earth Class Mail customer since nearly the beginning (I think) and was quite shocked by the gross increase in prices in an email I received in July 2009. Though I have not done so yet, I am actively seeking alternatives and will be taking my business elsewhere. I agree, it is stunning that they would do this to their customers. Pity really, as it was a fine service....when their prices were reasonable.

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  2. i agree! couldn't believe when I got the e-mail. ecm is really screwing me. we're all just bending over and forced to take it from ecm! go ofaccio, go!

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  3. absolutely, i 100% agree. the price increase is outrageous, and i'm definitely going to switch.

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  4. I have ECM setup for my business and yearly costs are going from ~$1000 to ~$4000. I can hire a part time employee to receive our mail, scan it in, and email it to us for less than that.

    It seems as though there aught to be a law pertaining to this matter. If you have a cell phone # with ATT they legally have to allow it to be ported over to Verizon.

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  5. Thanks for putting up this blog to show your annoyance with the outrageous price hike at ECM. What is even more disturbing is the email that was sent out as if they are doing us a favor by all of this!!! I am looking for an alternative now, since this is at least a 100% hike for an average user

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  6. For anyone finding this site after recently being pummeled with ECM's price increase I would suggest you file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

    https://odr.bbb.org/odrweb/public/getstarted.aspx

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  7. As an ECM customer I am obviously quite pissed about the sudden, massive price-hike - specially the new per-item scanning & shredding fee.

    On the other hand, I have always been a bit suspicious about how they could be anywhere near operating-margin positive in such a labor intensive business with those kind of rates.

    I guess they weren't and this is a last ditch effort by the investors to get there or to pull he plug.

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  8. Yeah, I am furious as well. It's not just the pricing either -- their web interface has gone from bad to awful. Haven't they ever used craigslist?

    I will be filing with the BBB as well. STAY AWAY!

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  9. I suspect that they want their customers to quit. They are obviously no longer interested in the end-user game and instead want big contracts. Look:

    “There’s no sense in us continuing to run a brick-and-mortar business,” said Wiener, adding that Earth Class Mail is transitioning to a “pure IP company.”

    Wiener said the retail stores — including the San Francisco location and a store on Park Avenue in Manhattan — were specifically opened as “petri dishes” in order to test the concept and prove the model for a larger buyer. The company plans to continue to license its technology to whomever buys the retail and mail processing facilities, whether it be a large postal system or a package delivery company like FedEx.

    [From http://sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2009/02/09/daily18.html]

    And now it looks like they're having some success:

    "Earth Class Mail Partners with Swiss Post for Web Mail Deal"

    [From http://earth2tech.com/2008/10/29/earth-class-mail-partners-with-swiss-post-for-web-mail-deal/]

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  10. By the way, if you google "earth class mail better business bureau" you'll notice they currently have an "F" rating.

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  11. This stupid cunt has bad hair and a dumb looking smile.

    Fuck you and your earthmail bitch

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  12. We need address portability with addresses just like we have for Phone Numbers. Can you imagine Verizon doubling their prices...everyone would leave...the problem with this is it costs my business too much to change addresses and I'm stuck with shitty earth class mail.

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    Replies
    1. I have several businesses and use one cell phone. My other cell phones are the answering machine for each of my seven toll free numbers. I have been looking for over twenty years for a service to incorporate all into one cell phone. I found it a few weeks ago. YouMail it is awesome! Now I record messages for each different client to which business and when they call and I can't answer the phone they get the business mesage for the right business over having extrea cell phones etc. YouMail.com has saved me lots of money

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  13. Glad to see that there is a community forming around these price hikes. My startup business used ECM starting in early 2008, and the service really has been great, although we don't use it to the extent that some users do. I was shocked to see a 100% price increase on the horizon. Really, how often do you see a business raise prices by 100%?? And now there will be a shredding fee, and a scanning fee? Our monthly costs will go from about $10/month to about $30/month with these added costs. Not a huge deal for us, really, but we are still going to seek out an alternative. Price hikes like this deserve nothing other than rebellion from customers. Our business would be dead if we raised priced by 100%. I wouldn't be surprised if most of their customers are not even aware of the pending price increase. Just wait till it kicks in... I'm thinking their next few monthly sales reports after the price hike are going to look awfully frightening. ECM, you just might price yourself out of the market. At the very least, you will anger your original customer base and could lose them for good.

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  14. Was happy with the service up until I really looked at my last bill. They got us used to seeing the prices for each transaction but as soon as they changed the prices they stopped. Mmmm Low class way to do business. Might even have stayed on if they had made me feel like part of a movement or a team developing a service rather than scammed. Lame. These people should not be trusted with personal information. Have to wonder what other scams they will pull now that they have so many people locked in.

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  15. ECM has no profits after years of Ron flying first class to Europe to kite his business plan. They do not have a business with Swiss Post, Swiss Post simply offers it to SP customers (who have all rejected it.) Bottom line is: no IP (they use PEOPLE, people) and no business sense. Another Ron-a-thon designed to pay him a salary until the investors figure out he has been LYING about the business development efforts with large customers and when the few hundred retail customers leave, that's all she wrote.

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  16. Hey Anonymous, it sounds like you're being a little tough on Ron Wiener. As it's completely anonymous, with no evidence to back it up, I'm tempted to delete it, but will let it stand for now.

    Sarah Carr's behavior, with the massive betrayal and price-hike on loyal customers, is very evident for all to see.

    Ron has been a class act and was always upfront with Earth Class Mail customers. He comes off very well in the "Start-Up Junkies" series where his dedication to the company is clear.

    It is Sarah Carr who brought on the Earth Class Mail price-hike scandal and Ron has admitted that treating customers in such a way is not consistent with his own business philosophy.

    So Anonymous, if you want to provide actual evidence against Ron, please do, but thus far loyal customers have Ron Wiener to thank and Sarah Carr to blame.

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  17. Hey Vladas,

    Nice blog.

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  18. While I don't think the government should get involved (they are a private company and should be free to do whatever they want, including shooting themselves in the foot), I do think the price hike is a major annoyance and I'll have to decide if it's worth it for me to continue with them. Thanks for posting this.

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  19. Also, I created a BuyersVote page for it here so people can rate their experiences with alternatives:

    http://buyersvote.com/categories/the-best-postal-mail-scanning-services

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  20. I was fortunate enough to have renewed my plan in July 2009 right before the price hikes. Having this service has been great, but the elimination of the bronze plan for the $20/mo "essentials" plan with its $1.50/piece scanning fee have motivated me to seek out alternatives.

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  21. I just got off the phone with ECM and they explained that if I cancel my account they are required by USPS regulations to keep the mail they receive for me for six months.

    But - they also explained that I cannot, in any way, have access to that mail. They won't send it to me at the end of the six months, they won't let me view it in my ECM account. The best they can do is tell me who is still sending my mail if I call in and ask.

    That doesn't make any sense at all. They explained to me that the goal is to notify all my senders first, so I won't receive any mail, but obviously the mail I'm worried about most is the mail I don't know I'm receiving.

    As discussed, I can take my business elsewhere, but basically stealing my mail? That just doesn't make any sense.

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  22. Is it possible to forward mail from ECM to a new service via an USPS change-of-address form? I've been overseas since the price hike and intend to go through the work of switching providers while I'm in the country.

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  23. I looked at the fine print and part of the form 1583 says that you agree not to submit a change of address when you end the relationship.

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  24. This is an email I received back when I asked about the price increases. They claim new features, but there aren't any new features. I guess upgraded interface, but all the core features are the same.

    Thank you for taking the time to contact us with your concerns. We take customer feedback very seriously, and I've forwarded your input directly to our product managers. With our new features and pricing, we do realize that some of our customers will find their overall costs to be higher. Others, due to the redesigned shipping rates and the elimination of per-page charges for scanning, will spend less. In all cases, we've designed the new prices based on the actual costs of delivering our service.

    We hope that you have found our service of value and regret that our pricing decision has now made continuing with us a difficult choice. We have had to make many difficult decisions in arriving at our new pricing policy, and we knew that unfortunately it might also mean losing some of our loyal customers. In the history of Earth Class Mail, this is the first time we've ever increased our plan fees for existing customers, and we take this move very seriously.

    With the updated features and overall improvements in terms of the service's power, speed, and reliability, we hope its benefits will measure up to the updated rates. We don't think you'll find a better value in any online mail service, or for that matter any other service that offers our level of flexibility, security, and control -- but the decision is up to you. I hope I've helped clarify some of the reasoning behind the update, and why it's important enough that we're applying it to our entire service. If you need clarification on any more specific areas, or if we can otherwise be of further service, please don't hesitate to let us know.

    Sincerely,

    Erica Monson

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  25. I'm overseas and the despite the inconvenience of having to get another form notarized, I gone from ECM. This price hike it outrageous for the small volume on mail I receive. ECM YOU SUCK

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  26. I remember the Remote Control Mail days when I got a resonable service. $30/month with 100 pages scanned, 300 storage days and no extra charge for using the Beaverton street address.

    Thank You Earth Class Mail for helping me realize that i was wasting my money on these new fangled technological features and changing my thinking that the ability to access my mail anywhere remotely is an essential to a traveling entreprenuer. Took me more than a year to transition all my mail to a local PO box, but it is better than being nickel and dimed.

    CA

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  27. I am happy to find this post very useful for me, as it contains lot of information. I always prefer to read the quality content and this thing I found in you post. Thanks for sharing

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  28. ECM lost my business twice.
    They may be ok for small business, but for a personal customer who lives abroad (one would think an ideal customer) it is just ridiculous.
    Now I resorted to having my mail go to a mailbox, and she forwards my mail every two weeks to me. Ridiculous, painful, but a heck of a lot cheaper than ECM.
    Plus, if you ever decide to have anything forwarded from ECM to *anywhere* it costs a small fortune. I think it was $20 or so to forward my DMV registration certificate last year. Good grief. Thats one tiny envelope. They refused to let me send it by USPS it had to be registered and signed for. Hey, its MY MAIL. Let me send it how I want it forwarded!!
    Dear me, I've never been so excited about a company only to be so so disappointed in it. I was foolish enough to sign up a second time. Hopefully I've learned now!

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  29. Greetings!

    I have seen many many upset individuals over the recent price increase at ECM. However, there is one company that provides a solution and that is a company called Traveling Mailbox.

    Visit them at www.TravelingMailbox.com

    The company is geared to smaller businesses and individuals and provides very affordable pricing.

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  30. True, the purpose of a business is to maximize profits.
    Thing is, Sarah, you will soon discover that if you change your strategy while not being fair with your customers - they will just leave you. Behind every business there is someone, a person. Unhappy customers of yours will make your competitors happy.

    Take a look at the mirror. Even your iPhone app costs $19.99 - again $19.99! just because there is no other app like that out there. You see, this is a narrow thinking. This is not being honest. This is why I am going to close my account.

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  31. Try www.usglobalmail.com
    i'v been with them for years and been very happy. Hope this helps.

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  32. i'm agree with you, I canceled my Earth Class Mail account when received the e-mail & shocked by the gross increase in prices, now i use " Mail Labs "
    I was very happy with the service provided They are a team of professionals who undertake any type of tasks

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