Not As Advertised

Not As Advertised

If you use the internet on a frequent basis and well, chances are if you are reading this post you do, you might know that subscription boxes are one of the newest trends. There are a number of different boxes, each with its own theme: sports, travel, healthy lifestyles, baby stuff, music, gadgets, you name it. Given that my wife and I recently had a baby, it will be a while before we travel again. And so, I thought it might be a good idea to sign her up for the Escape Monthly subscription box.

Consider it a vacation in a box. Only, the box can actually turn into a vacation or money towards a vacation in the event you win their monthly contest hosted on their Facebook page where you compete with other subscribers for the most likes on your photo. So, after we put together the perfect photo, complete with our two month old daughter in Parisian attire, French themed products and a picnic blanket, we posted and waited. What started out as pure fun and creativity actually became exciting. We were the only ones that did something cool and creative. We could actually win!

So, as friends, family and colleagues continue to like and share the photo, we went from 100 to 200 to 300 to 400 and ultimately to 500 likes. But along the way, we managed to upset one other contestant who began to stalk my wife’s Facebook page, the baby’s photo and yes, even our friends who liked the photo. Strange, we thought, for a $1,000 prize and even stranger considering this photo featured our two-month-old daughter. So, we notified the company and continued on in the contest.

Then, the contest ended and we had won. We had a total of 621 likes on our photo and the second place winner had a total of 515 or so. Now, the fun part. When my wife woke up at 3:30 am the morning after the contest had ended to feed the baby, lo and behold, we had over 1,100 likes! Not to mention, we also had no idea who these people were who liked our photo. They were not from our network of friends and family. Surely, someone had sabotaged our photo, we thought. But what does it matter? The contest ended last night and we had already won.

We went back to sleep and woke up, waiting to hear from Escape Monthly about how to claim our prize for winning the contest, but instead received nasty messages from the still disgruntled runner up. Only now, he made a video and highlighted my wife’s private, personal information he had gained from her Facebook and also exploiting my daughter’s photo. He event went so far as to make a Youtube video accusing us of somehow cheating, but in the video he actually shows himself making fake Facebook profiles and subsequently liking our post. Yes, in attempt to have us disqualified. Again, we contacted Escape Monthly and let them know about the ongoing harassment we were experiencing from fellow participants. Still no response.

Fast forward to late afternoon and we receive an email stating that our post had been infiltrated by “fake” Facebok profiles and thus, they had to disqualify our post, choosing instead to award the prize to the runner up. No, I am not kidding. So not only are we forced to deal with the psychopathic runner up who had yet to remove their unwarranted Facebook and Youtube posts, but we have also been disqualified from a contest we won fair and square. We sent several emails, including the information and evidence of some of the harassment we received from the runner up, but our last email to Escape Monthly went unanswered. How’s that for service?

So, on the positive side, we are fans of the subscription box concept and have since subscribed to several more. However, we be cancelling our Escape Monthly subscription as soon as it expires in part due to their inability to understand their own rules and also due to principle. We also learned a very valuable lesson about privacy and dealing with wackos on the internet.