Deceptive Advertising From

I received an email today, Christmas Day, from 500px advertising a “Boxing Day” special – 50% off on a renewal of an “Awesome” account, which is what I have with them.   Here’s a portion of the email that they sent to me:

Got that?  Boxing Day special.  “Renew your Awesome account.”  I’ve been a little bit ambivalent about continuing as a paid customer with 500px but I figured at $25, why not.

There’s nothing there about any restrictions.  Nothing there about a date that this expires.  (Note that most Americans have no idea what “Boxing Day” is.)  Anyway, I clicked on that fat red bar to go to their site and got this:

Note how it says here “For the first year.”  More importantly, note how the button at the bottom, the one that says “Upgraded,” has been grayed out.  So clicking on it does nothing.

Anyway, I can’t figure this out.  Why would they send me an ad for a renewal that they won’t let me buy?  If the sale is only effective on Boxing Day and if they are sending out the ad early, why can’t they mention that in the ad somewhere?   In the heavily competitive world of online photo web sites, I don’t think they’re doing themselves any favors here.  About the only thing one can say is that they didn’t shoot themselves in the foot the way Instagram did last week.

Well, I’ve emailed their customer service.  I’ll update this post when I get a reply.


My email from 500px customer service:

Sorry about that, it seems to be amazingly broken :-S

I can manually downgrade your account, so you can purchase your discounted renewal and then I’ll add your existing membership back on. Just email me back once you’ve purchased your renewal.

But this just screws me up a little further.  Because my account auto-renewed in October, it was a valid Awesome account through October 2013.  What happened now is that they downgraded me to a free account, I upgraded for $25, and my Awesome account is now valid through December 2013.  In other words, I just paid $25 to extend my account for a mere two months.  So instead of $4.16 per month (or $2.08 for this sale), what I got was two months at $12.50 each.

I’ve written to customer service again.  🙁


Yes, they’ll adjust my account so it expires October 2014 instead of December 2013.  Thank you 500px.  Next time you have a sale I hope I don’t have to go through all these steps.


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