Tilting at (Corporate) Windmills, Pt. 1

So I get this Email from Stamps.com about my account:

We are writing to inform you about an important change to your Stamps.com service plan. We are in the process of discontinuing our Simple Plan. Customers currently using the Simple Plan will be automatically moved to the Power Plan. This change in your service will be effective Thursday, March 24, 2005. The new monthly service fee for your Power Plan account will be a flat $15.99 per month. Pursuant to your normal monthly billing cycle, you will receive your first charge at the new rate on Sunday, April 24, 2005.

Their monthly service fee (which started at $2.99/mo. and incrementally crept upward to $4.49/month) is now being more than tripled. It’s 534% of the original fee they charged and 356% of their most recent fee. Their rate is now being jacked up to almost as much as my DSL costs, all for the privilege of paying considerably more for postage than if I bought it at the Post Office or even at the grocery store.

For $3 or $4 a month, I could justify the trade-off. It was worth not dealing with long lines and bad behavior at the post office. But, come on, people. By the time you pay for the special stock on which you print their postage and the monthly service fees, you’d have to do nothing but send mail out all day to make it worth using. (Apparently the concept of “economies of scale” has eluded them.)

So, they took an essentially happy customer and instantly converted him into an unhappy one. Correction, an unhappy EX-customer.

And apparently, I’m not alone. When I called to cancel the account (of course, they won’t let you do it by E-mail — that might actually be convenient), the wait time on hold was close to an hour, adding insult to injury. Their customer service representative told me that they were swamped with cancellation calls. Customers are apparently fleeing like rats from a sinking ship.

So folks, if you’ve got stock in Stamps.com, sell it now, because this company is in the process of committing suicide. If they’re capable of making this kind of lousy decision, what other stupidity is next?