Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Further Dealings With Facebook

I hope it doesn’t seem that I am perpetually whinging.  My aim is not to moan about what has happened to me (or my friends) but, rather, to show what we have learned from it and to share the stories in order to help other people avoid the pitfalls.

That said, I’ll continue with the Facebook story.  You may remember that, at the beginning of March, I wrote about my experiences of running an advertising campaign on Facebook and how Facebook activated the ad after the campaign was over, annoying potential customers and costing me money into the bargain.  You may remember, too, that I deleted the campaign after receiving a second invoice.

Well, it’s possible that I didn’t delete it correctly (although when I left the page it was saying ‘deleted’ against the campaign) because I then received a third invoice and, when I returned to the page, there it was active again.  I deleted it once more and, this time, inactivated the app by which Facebook can take payments from me via Paypal.

I emailed the person on the Facebook helpdesk to complain that the ad had been active since February 26th, although I had not reactivated it after it was disallowed on the 17th.  She replied “the transaction on the 1st of March related to advertising services provided on the 26th and 27th of February, when your Ad was still active on the site.”  Yes, I know that!  My complaint is that it shouldn’t have been active because I didn’t reactivate it.  I emailed yet again but, after a week or so, there was still no reply.  So I went to Paypal and disputed the two payments for ads that I had neither ordered nor wanted.  To my surprise, they came back the following day to say the dispute had been resolved in my favour and I would get a refund of the second and third payments.  Excellent.

Not so excellent was the message I got from Facebook next time I logged in.  It said “We are writing to let you know that there were charges made on your account that have been disputed by the owner of the payment instrument.”  Well, yes, I knew that.

And it went on “In the future we encourage you to contact us first if you have any questions or issues with charges made on Facebook by visiting the Facebook Help Centre.  A Facebook representative will be happy to work with you to resolve the matter and issue refunds when appropriate.”  Um . . . I did that.  Not only would the Facebook representative not work with me to resolve the matter, but the Facebook representative studiously ignored my complaint and, eventually, just stopped responding to my emails.

The message concluded “You may continue to use Facebook Adverts, however, if we receive any additional disputes for charges on your account, it may be disabled permanently.”  What????? If you mess up again and I complain, you’ll ban me from using Facebook Ads?  Something not quite right here, I think.

What made this whole thing so frustrating was that the ad was run after the special promotion of my ebook had finished.  If the promotion had still been running and the ad still relevant, I wouldn’t have complained.  So, what I have learned is never to run a Facebook campaign which applies to a limited offer.  In addition, I have learned that, if I have deleted a campaign, I need to go back after a day or two and check that it’s not running again.  But I don’t like companies that try to blame it on the customer when they foul up and there’s a strong possibility that I may not use Facebook ads again. 


  1. Facebook does not make it very clear at all. I will always stick with email as a revenue generator because it has the best ROI I can think of.

    1. I agree entirely about email for revenue generation. In this case I was doing a free book promotion on Kindle and just wanted to get the information out to as many people as possible . . . and finished up getting it out to LOTS of people only when the book had gone back to its original price!

  2. Same experience :D

    1. Thanks for sharing that, valajbeg. It's worrying, isn't it. Facebook seems to be employing the kind of tactics one would associate with an authoritarian dictatorship. My belief is that it's the support system that needs overhauling. In your case, you got no reply at all. In mine, the two people I dealt with obviously didn't read my emails fully and so didn't understand what I was complaining about - and then ignored the last one. Are they not properly trained or is it that they are so busy and don't have time to do anything other than scan the incoming emails and give standard replies (when they reply at all)?