Your work is vital. We are raising funds to support it.
Reply by MargaretBartley
Where can you post this warning, other than here? This is important, and people need to know about it!
On August 4, 2017,my nonprofit, the Giraffe Heroes Project (GHP) signed a binding licensing agreement with Metasoft Systems, a Canadian company. For the sum of $8,995 the GHP would gain access for five years to a sophisticated database of philanthropic foundations created and maintained by Metasoft.
A key Metasoft selling point was their offer of a “risk-free” money-back guarantee: if a nonprofit bought access to the company’s database of foundations, and that nonprofit did not get foundation grants at least equal to the cost of its purchase price within six months, then its money would be refunded in full. How could you possibly lose?
Very easily, as the GHP learned. After six months of diligently using Metasoft’s database we had not raised a dime. So we notified Metasoft that we wished to exercise our rights under their “risk-free” money-back guarantee. That’s when the problems started. Even though Metasoft never contested that the GHP had met every criteria for securing that guarantee reimbursement, they did not send us our money back. Instead, they first went silent, answering no emails or calls for two months. When we started to complain, Metasoft began making a series of excuses for not sending us our check. First it was “end of the month chaos” responsible for the delays. Then they said that our check has been presented to the CEO, Trevor Skillen, for signature but it never seemed to get off his desk. Finally were told that the check had been sent but could be delayed for ”3 to 4 weeks” because of ”customs.”
By this point we had had enough and our trust in Metasoft had evaporated. What would be next? That the check was lost in the mail? So we filed a complaint with British Columbia’s consumer protection agency and also contracted with a pro bonolawyer in Vancouver. These moves had the desired effect and we finally got our money back—after over four months of struggle. We’re convinced that had we not put up the fight we did we would never have seen a check.
From everything we learned from talking to Metasoft insiders, the problem flows not from the staff, but from CEO Trevor Skillen, who seems to reserve all reimbursement decisions to himself.
Our word of warning to nonprofits: if you sign up with Metasoft to use their foundation database, be prepared that, if it does not work for you, you will have to fight like heck to get Metasoft to honor its guarantee. Getting our money back was a nightmare.
Finally we think it’s wrong that the Better Business Bureau continues to give Metasoft its A+ rating. A short web search reveals that the GHP is not the first nonprofit to run into Metasoft’s reluctance to honor its money-back guarantee. We strongly urge the BBB, if it wants to maintain its reputation as a credible watchdog, to remove the high rating it now gives Metasoft, at least until this company credibly corrects its guarantee reimbursement practices.
As one of the moderators at TechSoup I tend to heavily edit or delete rant posts like this.
But I also hate scams and bad customer service,so I will leave it to others to decide if any action should be taken.
I will offer my personal thoughts and some feedback and you can take it or leave it, but it's intended to be helpful:
1) Other non-profits should find this helpful, but may not see if unless they are doing research for services that this company offers. With TechSoup forums mostly about IT products and services your post may not reach many people via hear. But we do get a fair amount of traffic related to fundraising so it may help.
2) Your post does come off as more of a rant and that is understandable given the situation. But it's a lot to digest and the emotion makes it seem less professional to me. While their service didn't suit your needs (and may be lacking for most) you complained and got your money back. Not having the other side of the story raises the possibility of doubt that there may have some other issues with communication or misunderstanding.
Dialing down the emotion and laying out the facts in a clear, organized manner would tell your story in a more effective manner, in my opinion. To really summarize it from what I read:
- The service was hyped beyond what it could really deliver.- You were very disappointed with the quality of what you were sold.- You complained and got a refund, but only after a process that made a solid week's worth of dental work seem a more attractive choice.I would lay it out something like that with a single sentence in bold and then some detail underneath to back up each statement.
3) Your focus on the BBB may seem excessive to any neutral party. You complained and got your money back and it was very unpleasant. That one complaint may not do much to lower an A+ rating and in my opinion it should not. Again we don't the other side of the story.
4) Having said those things I do applaud your effort to save others from having the same experience.If you want to be more effective I would contact some associations that work with NPs to see what communication options are available. And I would post your revised story on as many blogs and forums related to NPs and fundraising as possible. I would also link to that company's web site with a link that has something like "avoid metasoft" or "metasoft problems".
At the same time, put up links on your site that point to your BBB complaint and other places where you have posted your story with the link text, "metasoft systems inc complaints", "metasoft reviews", and "metasoft complaints"
The linking suggestions will work over time so that people find your review, but also see things like "metasoft problems" when they type in a search for the company. Include those same terms in your story about them.
Thanks and good luck!
5) Perhaps you should consider creating a fundraising guide for other NPs based on your own success?
[Update: I deleted your original post because you should have replied under that thread. All of the same information is here, so the other thread because a duplicate.]
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