Monday, December 5, 2011

Stay Away from SOS backup!

Yes, I back up religiously. Daily in 3 places. With TIme Machine, SuperDuper (for a cloned backup), and in the cloud to Crash Plan+. I want to tell you about what led me to Crash Plan. 

I was using JungleDisk, and while it was seamless, I found the interface on the web clumsy and annoying. So, in one of my "everything's really going fine, but I'm bored" moods, I decided to shop around for a new online back up plan. Well, SOS got some great reviews from PC users and media, and they came out with a Mac version of their desktop software.
So I bought a 2 year plan, and stated my upload. That's right, I did NOT try it first, I actually bought a subscription. I'm flogging myself just telling you this. I ALWAYS try before I buy. Why I didn't THIS time can be blamed on the fact that my brain is loopy from the watching the new TV we bought. I have SOOO many episodes of Dexter to catch up on, and it's the first time I have had larger than a 20 inch screen. Yes, my name is Cookie, and I have a new addiction.

OMG, so I really deserved the tsuris I went through with this company. Short story? The Mac desktop application SUCKS, with limited ability to choose files to upload, and the organization on the web is dismal. So I looked online at my account to cancel. There is no place to do that. Also, I signed up for 2 years for $119.95, but on my account page it said $149.95. And that's right, no place to change it UNLESS I wanted to upgrade the account.
When I called customer support, and was told that I could NOT speak to an account representative, the ONLY way to cancel was through the support chat window.

So I tried that, and was told I would receive an email in 24-48 hours, but all I got was a "how do you like SOS?" email. I tried the chat again, and same result. Only until I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau did I finally get a refund. I also got a call from a customer service representative named Larry, very nice guy who sounded like someone I would like to go bowling with, but maybe not be in charge of my data(!!), who said, "Things are a mess in the customer service area of this company, and I'm going to clean it up!" When I told him that the representative I spoke to told me there was no way to speak to an account rep by phone, Larry said, "He lied." Great.
Here is the transcript of my support chat with "James Anderson", which I am SURE is not his real name. By the way, my favorite line of the whole chat is, "Sure Marlene" when I went on a (polite) rant about what I don't like about this product. Notice the "like" button at the end.

James Anderson
Support Consultant
James Anderson7:48:30 AM
Hello Marlene Segelstein. How may I help you?
Marlene Segelstein7:48:51 AM
I would like to cancel my account that I signed up for on Saturday.
James Anderson7:49:06 AM
Can I help you with anything else?
Marlene Segelstein7:49:24 AM
No, I just want to cancel my account.
James Anderson7:49:46 AM
While I look in to your accounts, may I know the reason for cancellation ?
Marlene Segelstein7:51:48 AM
A couple of reasons. The Mac software is too limited, and when I signed up online, I
selected the $119.95 membership, and it put my account at the $149.95 one.
There was no place to change or cancel it. So I just want to cancel my account and
receive a full refund, please.
James Anderson7:53:19 AM
Can I help you sign up for $119.95 account ? Also cancel $149.95 and refund for the
Marlene Segelstein7:53:35 AM
No thank you. Please just cancel my account.
James Anderson7:54:18 AM
ill escalate the case to my accounts manager, he will update the status in the next
24 to 48hrs
Marlene Segelstein7:55:23 AM
Does that mean he will cancel my account? I was told by phone support that this
chat was the only want to do this. Will I get an email confirmation?
James Anderson7:57:27 AM
Yes Marlene, he will send you an email
Marlene Segelstein8:00:01 AM
Please tell your manager that this is not a satisfactory way for customers to
manage their accounts. On the other back up programs I have used, iDrive,
JungleDisk, I was able to cancel online immediately. The website seems set up for
easy in, but not easy out. For consumers that are looking for full features and
control, this does not make for happy campers. I'll look for a confirmation email
within 48 hours.
James Anderson8:00:23 AM
Sure Marlene
Marlene Segelstein8:00:53 AM
Will I also get a full refund?
James Anderson8:01:26 AM
I'm not sure, accounts manager will update you on that
Marlene Segelstein8:03:39 AM
Since I signed up only on Saturday, and the Mac software is limited, I expect a full
refund. I will also let my credit card company know this. Thanks.
James Anderson
Thank you


  1. Hey Macmama,

    Thanks for this blog. I find myself in a similar situation.

    Have now given up hope that a reasonable dialogue with SOS online backup will be fruitful.

    Any tips on the BBB complaint process and how it helped you finally get a refund?

    Thanks in advance for any info you can offer.

    Best wishes


    1. I'm so sorry to hear you are having trouble with these thieves. The BBB has a pretty easy complaint process. You have to know the contact info for SOS, which is here:

      And their phone number: 877-896-3611

      The BBB will send you an email confirming your complaint, and then contact SOS and let them know that a complaint has been filed. THey will then contact you, someone like Larry (see above), who may try to talk you into more service. Keep insisting on a refund, and indicate that you will not release the complaint until you see the refund on your credit card. Just for your info, here is the text of my BBB complaint:

      I purchased a subscription to SOS backup online Saturday, Nov 12. THe first problem was that I signed up for a $119.95, 2 year service, and when I logged in to my account, it showed that I had signed up for the $149.95 service. My credit card company confirmed a charge for $119.95, so I assume that is what went through. There was/is no place to cancel or change my account online, except to upgrade it. SO I called Customer Service on Monday (they are closed weekends). The mac software is definitely not meeting my needs, as it is very limited. I requested a refund via telephone, and the representative told me the only way to get a refund was through live chat, so I requested one through live chat. The chat representative said that an account rep would get back to me within 24-48 hours. Then I looked at the refund policy and saw that I must request a refund through the support window here:
      Which is what I did.
      All I received was an email asking how everything is going. I have never dealt with a backup company that has been so evasive. THere is no place on the website to cancel the account, and it is obviously made difficult on purpose. I would like an immediate refund, and a confirmation that it will be issued.

      Good luck!

  2. Thanks a lot for this swift reply and for sharing your experience. I'll let you know how it goes. Best wishes, Iddo

    1. Good luck! Let me know, and with your permission, I'll publish your experience on this blog. Happy new year!

  3. It was a lesson learned, I guess. Always try before you fully buy it, especially when it comes to software such as an online backup tool. There's a lot of online backup storage out there that offers free limited storage, and if you liked it, you can upgrade and buy it. This way, you can check if it’s working efficiently for you and if it's meeting your needs.
    Ruby Badcoe @ Williams Data Management

  4. I've seen lots of cloud storage online that offer free trials. It's advisable to utilize this period first before buying a product to assess if it can satisfy your storage needs. Moreover, you'll be able to check their security settings and see how they handle your files and documents.

    Manda Maldanado @