Buyer Beware of CCBill

Here at Asian Sirens our main focus is of course Asian models, and all things related to that. There is one aspect of this we haven’t yet discussed, however: in order to access a lot of the internet content relating to these models, we have to pay for it. And that means dealing with a payment processor. Perhaps the most widely used payment processor on the net (at least in the US) is CCBill. Unfortunately however, I have just found out the hard way that they are a far from ethical company to deal with.

In short, I recently joined a web site that said they had something in their members section that I wanted, when in reality they did not. As I didn’t get what I paid for, I naturally contacted this web site and their payment processor, which was CCBill. As you can imagine, the web site never responded, but CCBill did – to their credit, quite promptly. However, their reponse was anything but helpful – let me quote what they wrote:Dear Customer, does not own or operate the website in question and therefore does not control the content of the site. Since we do not control the content, we do not bill based on satisfaction of the content. You are billed based on availability to access the website. If you are unsatisfied with or have questions regarding the content, you will need to contact the site in question and report it to them. You can contact them through the contact information located on the site.

As you can see, they didn’t even bother to respond to me by name. This is because it is a canned response: they no doubt deal with thousands of these sorts of complaints in exactly the same way. Naturally I wasn’t happy with this, as I wasn’t simply dissatisfied with the content – the content they said they had didn’t exist! Hence, I didn’t get what I paid for – this web site was fraudulant, pure and simple. And I did try to contact the site anyway, but they simply didn’t respond, presumably safe in the knowledge CCBill wouldn’t do anything either.

After I pointed all this out to them, they sent me exactly the same response back! After a few more attempts to get them to actually respond to my complaint, they finally sent me the following email:

Dear Customer,

We have helped you as much as we can. You have been told many times that we will not issue a refund and you need to contact the site. Further e-mails about this matter will be ignored.

How rude is that? And I’m certainly not the only customer they’ve treated this way – check out the links below for a few more similar stories:
(this last one contrasts CCBill with PayCom, who do look after their customers)

The thing that really infuriates me about these people is not only that they refuse to help, but that they are unbelievably rude about it. And as you can see from the links above, they are this way with everyone who complains to them. If they said something along the lines of “I’m sorry sir, but unfortunately this is the policy of management” I wouldn’t be so pissed off, but they seem to treat their customers like they’re the enemy.

To make matters even worse, there are several other reports of people being falsely charged by CCBill, which they refused to do anything about either (their extraordinary rudeness is a common thread throughout these complaints too). Worse still, their credit card numbers were probably obtained as a result of the appalling security of CCBill’s cgi scripts – see these links:

As regular readers will know I am also the webmaster of Sachiko McLean‘s site. I can confirm from my error logs that there are hundreds of attempts every day to hack into Sachiko’s site using well known CCBill exploits. But these don’t work, as we don’t use CCBill. In fairness, the vulnerabilities mentioned in the articles above have probably been fixed by now, but as these articles show it took them far too long to do it. They also demonstrate CCBill’s general lack of concern for the security of their customers.

On Sachiko’s site we use Verotel instead, who seem to have far fewer and less serious complaints about them than CCBill (and these mostly amount to stolen credit card numbers, which happens to everyone and which Verotel refunds anyway). I can also confirm that they make sure their clients do not fraudulantly misrepresent what they have in their members’ sections, as they regularly log into our members’ section to make sure we have what we say we have.

It’s companies like CCBill that have given the adult internet industry such a bad name, and have made it so expensive for small, honest independent adult sites (like Sachiko’s) to operate. A lot of the big adult site networks have basically come to rely on ripping people off to make a profit, and they depend on companies like CCBill to do it. This has made it become very expensive for adult sites to process credit cards, which hurts the small independent sites the most. If CCBill went out of business, a lot of dishonest and fraudulant adult sites would too.

Anyway, obviously the safest thing to do with regard to CCBill is simply to never join a site that only uses them as their payment processor. However, given the vast number of adult sites that use them this may not be an option for many of our readers. So if you’re interested in joining a site that is only processed by CCBill, you’d better make sure they will look after you if you experience any problems – because CCBill sure as hell won’t!

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0 thoughts on “Buyer Beware of CCBill”

  1. Can you dispute the charges by CCBill with your credit card company? It seems so obviously fraudulent and the credit card companies will usually freeze disputed charges pending investigation.

  2. Lee might be reluctant to make a big case about it as it might be some kinky or bizarre fetish site. If it went to court, he’d have to publicly reveal his darkest fantasies. Just kidding! 🙂

  3. So far my bank has said that because I actually did get access to this site, they are unable to dispute it. However, banks often try to get out of this sort of thing, so I’m going to contact my banking ombudsman when I have time. According to my understanding of the law, I am entitled to a refund.

  4. One more thing: although NorthMan’s comments are very funny, they are probably very close to the reality for many people, which I guess is how CCBill thinks they can get away with it – they assume most people will be too embarressed to dispute the charges. But I’m an adult webmaster anyway, so what the hell. 😉

  5. Yep, I’m sure that is part of it. I remember some years ago a blatant scam somebody was running that went like this. Signup and pay your money. Money back guarantee if not completely satisfied. It was 100% bogus so nobody was satisfied and everybody requested a refund. But the refund came in the form of a check drawn on an account with some very sick and perverted name. So few of the refund checks were ever cashed.

  6. I’m not sure what this has to do with Asian Sirens, meaning the women of course.

    If, what you are pointing out that many of the Asian models, at least here in the U.S., for the most part all use CCBill.

    So if you are warning the rest of us not to use CCBill, then which Asian Models are using them for their pay sites?

    This might be better than just an old fashion buyer beware post.

  7. Hi Moses,

    If you read my first and last paragraphs your question will be answered. Basically, what you speculate is true. However, I do not want to attack the individual sites that use them, because if these sites give good customer support themsleves, then CCBill’s lack of support won’t matter.

    The point I am making is that if you join a site that’s processed by CCBill, you’d better make sure they give good customer support, because CCBill won’t help you if they don’t.

  8. To answer Marco’s question, I joined one of the sites in the Adult Sights network. They seem like a great deal, as you get access to hundreds of sites (most of them for a year), but it’s basically hundreds of sites of crap you can easily find for free elsewhere. The good stuff they promise (and which you can’t easily get for free) doesn’t exist. Unless you just want access to endless crap, avoid this network at all costs!

  9. Playing Devil’s Advocate, I can imagine that many people join legitimate websites and then complain to the billing companies in an attempt to get their money back. I think that CCBill’s canned response while rude is based on the typical case where customers want to eat their cake and have it too. They probably figure that it is easier to handle chargebacks rather than issue refunds themselves and hope that their rude response may even deter people from attempting to bully them with the inevitable threat of a chargeback.

    As a customer of these services, I find CCBill’s signup process and administration to be the most straightforward. In terms of security, I have noticed that most popular paysites (who typically use CCBill for billing) tend to use something like strongbox to prevent password hacking. In the end, like Dr. Lee noted most of the US paysites use CCBill so if you want to join there is no other option if you want to join a site that uses CCBill. I personally have had a bad experience with paycom where I was charged double for a website and they claimed that it was user error. What actually happened is that the first time I tried signing up it came back with an error (but must have charged me). I had to argue over the phone with this guy who was very rude to get them to agree to reverse some of the charges. The double charge was not the only problem. Immediately, after I signed up, it offered me a lower monthly rate and I accepted not realizing that it wouldn’t be retroactive but instead be another new charge??? Many webmasters have also had problems with iBill not paying them and Verotel doesn’t support many of the popular US credit cards if I remember right.

  10. Verotel supports the widest range of credit cards on an international level, although there are one or two little used US cards (Discover?) that they don’t support. I’m sure owners of these cards would also have Visa and/or MasterCard anyway.

    I know a lot of people try to rip off companies like CCBill, but I wasn’t, and they still treated me this way anyway. Worse still, it is clear from their responses above that this is simply their policy, whether customers have a legitimate complaint or not.

    A lot of people have had bad experiences with these billing companies, but CCBill is unique in that their policy is not to assist customers who have been ripped off by fraudulant web sites. No other billing company is this unethical, and it is totally unacceptable.

  11. Beside the lack of non Visa and Mastercard credit card support, I find the Verotel signup process kind of strange with this weird concept of tickets. CCBill does a better job in this area. I also like to use Discover because you get up to 2% back of your purchases.

    Yes I realize that you weren’t trying to rip them off but can you imagine if they tried to investigate every claim of fraud to make sure it was legit? That is probably why they just figure that the people who have a legitimate claim will likely just dispute the charge with their credit card company anyway. If a site gets too many chargebacks, I would guess that CCBill would drop them.

    Many US based adult billing companies have failed financially and CCBill is one of the few that are still around. I wish that there were more options as well but unfortunately from what I have seen Verotel currently does not provide all the webmaster features that CCBill does so can’t be substituted easily. I have already mentioned my own personal bad experience with Paycom and I also doubt they will survive long term. iBill seems to have been resurrected but burnt a lot of adult webmasters by not making payouts in the past.

    In my mind, the true guilty party is Adult Sights. I have seen many sites like this and often their advertising is out of date. They may have had sites listed with the content you wanted at one time but they don’t bother changing their advertising when sites leave or are shutdown. I think many of us who have joined paysites at one point or another have been disappointed in one way or the other. Sometimes, you just have to chalk it up to a learning experience since the time you would spend to recover the subscription fee would likely not be worth it in the end. Time is money after all!

  12. Come on badboy, you defence of these people is absurd! I gave them very detailed instructions on what to look for and which pages to look at – all they had to do was compare the preview page with the members’ section – only two pages! But they simply refused to help, because their policy is not to assist customers with fraudulant web sites. Besides, this is their job for God sake! Customer service is supposed to assist customers!

    As I said, Verotel even checks their web sites on a regular basis to make sure everything’s okay. CCBill is just in it for the money, and their support of the big adult networks (even when they are fraudulant) is probably what’s kept them in business. They’ve basically stayed afloat by allowing the big adult networks to rip people off. Still, I’m not sure these sorts of business practices are sustainable in the long term.

  13. Dr. Lee, why not attack the individual sites and list them all here. You’ve made it clear that doing business with CCBill is what fraudulant web sites do. Even if the sites themselves provide good customer support, what does it matter, in the end, it is CCBill that has to take care of the payment processing matters, and the web site owner still has to go through them anyways.

    I still don’t know why you bring this subject in relation to Asian Sierns, if not to tell people not to join sites that use CCBill, if that is what this is all about.

    I apologize, you did make it a point to say this is related. So since you have made it a related issue, which Asian Sirens site, meaning the models or model sites with asian models, do you not want folks to go to anymore?

    Maybe I’m missing the whole thing here.
    What I get out of it is this, CCBill bad, web sites that use CCBill, bad. Warning, stay away from sites that use CCBill. Is this what this is about?


  14. As I said, it’s not quite that simple. If the web site themselves give good customer support, then it shouldn’t be a problem. Hence I don’t want to attack individual sites for using them, unless I know that site itself doesn’t give good customer support.

    Once again, when people purchase something through a payment processor, they should be able to rely on that payment processor helping them if the web site rips them off. That’s part of the reason for having a third party handle this stuff. But unlike other payment processors, CCBill absolutely will not help you, no matter how fraudulant the web site they process for is.

    So the bottom line is this: if a web site uses CCBill, be very, very careful. If you aren’t sure they will help you if you have a problem, then don’t join that site. However, I’m sure thare are many sites who use CCBill who will look after their customers, so I don’t simply want to say “never join a site that uses CCBill”. I just want to tell them they should be extra careful if they do.

  15. This would be quite a list, as the majority of US sites use them. And by naming them, I think it would give the appearance that I am saying thse sites give bad customer service, which I don’t know to be the case. I don’t want to be unfair to these sites, but I also think we have a duty to let people know they should be very careful if a site uses CCBill. I feel that telling people this (without naming individual sites) is the best way to strike this balance.

    On the other hand, if any of our readers have had bad customer service from any Asian model site (CCBill or not), then please let us know!

  16. Dr. Lee, I think you are already being unfair to those sites that use CCBill, just by the very nature of this post. The appearance has already been made by telling folks to be extra careful when using CCBill. Fault or no fault to the web site owners.

    I really don’t think it is anyone’s duty to warn folks that come to Asian Sirens about model sites that use CCBill. That is something you have taken upon yourself to do. If it is a service you are trying to provide to the members here, that’s cool. But I don’t think it is your duty to warn anyone about the wilds of the internet.

    Giving a half warning, well, that seems kind of lame to me. If someone wronged you, then say so, say who it is, state the facts, and let the judgement be ‘buyer beware.’

    I dare say a case can be made against any web site out there for bad customer service. Doesn’t take much to piss people off if they didn’t get what they were expecting from certain sites.

  17. Well Moses, the guilty party here is CCBill, so I am only warning people about them. I am not going to extend that warning to every site who use them – that would be unfair. I had no idea CCBill would behave this way when I joined that site (otherwise I wouldn’t have), and if I didn’t know, then I think I can safely assume a lot of our readers don’t know either. I sure wish I’d seen a report like this before I joined that site.

    Personally I won’t be joining any other site that uses CCBill as a matter of principle, but this is a personal decision. I am simply giving our readers the information they need to make an informed decision on this themsleves.

  18. > Come on badboy, you[r] defense of these people is absurd!

    Hmmm, you weren’t happy about someone calling your opinion crap but I guess it is alright to say my so called defense is absurd.

    I wouldn’t call it a defense exactly. It is great that Vetotel actively tries to do fraud prevention but I imagine that doesn’t scale well. I guess we just have different expectations of a billing company. If I had a problem with a site’s content, I wouldn’t expect the billing company to be responsible. It is a bit different with Paypal since that service is primarily used on E-Bay as a method of payment for physical goods where there is a great potential for various kinds of fraud such as not shipping the promised item.

    What if Adult Sights did respond to your e-mail and agreed to refund your money and so did CCBill since you wrote that you e-mailed both of them? There is a great potential for customer based fraud in this case unless the site and CCBill actively communicate with each other (of course I am sure you would be honest but many people would take the money and run). CCBill’s policy may also be intended to limit their liability in the lawsuit happy US of A.

    I think a good lesson that can be learned from this unfortunate situation is that it is better to be safe than sorry. For instance, it might be a good idea for folks who are considering joining a paysite to try and e-mail support at the paysite first to see if they will respond and also to ensure that the site has what they are looking for.

  19. I think there is quite a difference between ‘absurd’ and ‘crap’. 😉 And there’s no chance of a double refund, as CCBill would have to process it anyway.

  20. So you are saying that CCBill would honor a request from the paysite to refund a customer’s money? I guess I was thinking about the case when a paysite agreed to refund you directly rather than going through CCBill (using paypal for instance and paying extra for any service charges). I imagine that issuing a refund through CCBill might be more expensive especially if it gets counted as a chargeback.

  21. Refunds are not counted as chargebacks, and CCBill doesn’t charge extra for chargebacks anyway (probably another reason fraudulant sites use them). And the only people who can credit my credit card are CCBill, not the web site themsleves.

    I have refunded customers of Sachiko’s site when they accidentally join twice (it happens sometimes). I instruct Verotel to issue them with a refund, and they credit the same credit card used for the original transaction. This is how it is always done.

  22. I just had this rude attitude of cc bill “service personal” and was anything but satisfied with their answer.
    To me they are staying away from a very basic responsability witch is to verify with whom they are dealing with.
    One of the site to whom i paid to get their sevices, charged me on opening another of their web page without having me acepted the transaction in the first place.
    A second event was that i did not receive any confirmation on a cancellation thru the web page of one of their client that use this crooked automatic renewal method (i strongly beleive that we should always be ask if we want this automatic renewal rather then having to look for the cancellation page and cancelled avery time) Of course ccBill will tell you that this is to give you a bertter service…
    All of this to say that CC Bill would not even considered my complaint about it.

    This is totally unaceptable as they have a responsability by inquiring on how their client get us to be charged when they have our personal informations and how they use it afterward.
    Their is a thing that they do not want to have and that is what you call a charge back.
    Any of these cie. taking our money from our cridit card can be put on black list by visa and other credit card cie. if they have to many charge back.
    So i stongly recommand that you send email or better to call your credit card cie. and insist on having a credit to your credit card for any unsatisfactory charge as charge back is what they fear the most as it can kill their bussiness.

    It takes a little patience but it works as i do very well know that since i am in the eMarketing myself.
    What you need is proof of asking for a refund and why
    so keep all the proof of request that you have made to them and note all your unsatisfaction as the treatement cc Bill give you and send it to your credit card cie.
    It is cie like cc Bill that kill our bussiness on the web as they accept just about any body as long as they make a profit.

    Another thing is to make sure you not to buy annything thru cc Bill again.
    Yves Filiatreault
    PS You want to make a joint complaint on how ccbill treat you come on in and let me know your stories
    cc. to my visa service will be sent to visa and i recommand that you just do the same

  23. As the majority of people ripped off by these guys are in the US, perhaps their US customers should launch a class action against them? (As I am in Australia, I unfirtunately could not be involved in such an action.)

  24. Lee…….I discovered a new thing ccBill is doing with some websites. If you choose to cancel your subscription, you are offered a chance to keep the subscription going at a discounted price, usually $5.00 less per month.

    So if the normal charge is 24.99 / month, they will offer you 19.99 / month to stay a member.

    I’m guessing this is an option the website owner can specify when signing up with ccBill. (I wonder if there is a extra charge to the website owner for this?)

    So guys, if you are a long term member of any sites, you can try this and you might save $5.00 / month.

    NOTE: Like I said, not all sites offer this option, so don’t press the final “Cancel” if you really intend to stay with the site!

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