Archive for June, 2019

Why You Should Avoid Meetup and WePay

June 21, 2019

I have been a member of Meetup for almost 10 years. I have run a Meetup group that has scheduled almost 500 events, about one a week.

Meetup has a great idea (creating topical groups [hiking, dancing, meditation, music, etc] and then help people locate and attend events in order to enjoy themselves and meet people). What they have lacked, for almost a decade, is a technical and support staff that functions. They have literally the worst app and worst web site I have ever encountered. They have failed to fix bugs for year after year. For example, their initial delivery of their app lacked the messaging feature that all of us relied upon. They are clueless in almost every regard. They never fail to disappoint me.

In an attempt to help monetize their web site, they coordinated with the WePay service. A group organizer can specify that group members must pay (say) $5 per year to support the group. That helps cover the $180/year that Meetup takes from the group organizers. Meetup ensure that the fees are collected, and WePay manages moving the money from the members to Meetup. And, of course, both Meetup and WePay take a cut.

The Meetup/WePay system worked well for a year or so, with a few quirks, but inevitably something went wrong. One of my members (who never attended any events) paid $5 for his first year, and then was automatically billed $5 for his second year. I imagine that he did not want to pay the second $5. Had he contacted me and asked for a refund, I could have, and would have, arranged for that. But he did not do anything that polite or reasonable. Instead, he went to his bank and disputed the charge.

Now, the charge was valid. He signed up and agreed to the charge. When I was notified of the disputed charge, I assumed that he would get his $5 back (fine with me) but that I would not be charged the $15 penalty. Wrong. Neither his bank nor WePay nor Meetup were willing to listen to reason. So, I lost $15 (to his bank) for doing nothing wrong. The bank stole $15 from me.

I have contacted WePay and Meetup since this incident, and they do not see what the problem is. I made a constructive suggestion: that Meetup require that a member ask for a refund before they are allowed to file a dispute over a charge. Meetup wanted nothing to do with this recommended improvement.

The bottom line is this. If you use Meeup and WePay, you can, at any moment, be charged fees that you did not agree to and that are not fair. And you cannot expect either Meetup or WePay to care at all.

Proceed at your own risk.