Clickbank, Stop Stealing My Money!

clickbank logo Now, I’m not one to complain too often about how companies do business, because I understand a lot of their issues and why they do things. But in this case, Clickbank, the affiliate company, is simply stealing my money, and that makes me very angry.

I’ve been both an affiliate for Clickbank as well as a publisher, and granted, I’ve not got the hang of how to do this kind of thing yet. But listen to this.

I signed up with Clickbank, and have been promoting affiliate products for a while now. Because I’m admittedly not very good at this, I’ve not gotten many sales. The few I did get came early on, but I haven’t gotten in a while. Now, of course almost every company has some minimum amount you have to earn before they do a payout, and as a sidenote, there’s no good reason for that considering you can send any amount to Paypal accounts with not much difference in cost. The reason they hang on to your money in their bank account is to generate and capitalize on the interest. It’s the long tail of savings accounts if you want to think of it that way.

Now, that’s fine, whatever. I don’t care too much about that. But this morning I went to check my stats and instead of finding $0 income, which I’m used to now, I find the past 4 days have $1.00 charges on them. WTF?

So, I emailed Clickbank this quick message, inquiring why the charges:

I have 4 -$1.00 charges on my account. Why are you taking away my money?

Relatively simple, I thought. Here was Clickbank’s response:

Thanks for your inquiry. It looks like your account is receiving dormant fees. Our dormant policy is:

Dormant Accounts

Accounts with a positive balance but no earnings for an extended period of time are considered dormant. Dormant accounts are subject to a charge of $1 per pay period after 90 days of inactivity, $5 per pay period after 180 days of inactivity, and $15 per pay period after 365 days of inactivity.

For further information, please review our accounting policy at: http://www.clickbank.com/accounting.html.

Kind regards,

ClickBank Accounting

Um…..

So, let me get this straight. Not only will you keep the interest on the money I earned originally, you’ll CHARGE ME for not making any more money? OMG! (and I don’t use that acronym lightly)!

I promptly replied with:

Well then just pay me what I’m owed and I’ll cancel the account. That’s ridiculous.

… let’s see if I ever get the money I made from them. What do you think?

Nate Ritter lives in San Diego, CA who popularized the #hashtag and creates scaleable web applications for a living. He also does miles and point hacking to enable cheap travel for his family. More here →

35 Comments on "Clickbank, Stop Stealing My Money!"

  1. nate says:

    Update: They replied with this:

    Nate,

    I have set your account up to manually flush out a payment for the next pay period (ended 02-16, payment sent 02-29).

    And I replied with:

    I hope you don’t charge me for the next 8 days then, because that’s stupid.

  2. Brad says:

    Man, that sucks!

  3. Wes Mahler says:

    Wow, there really going to charge you for a somewhat inactive account, that is really bad business imho. Don’t they make enough money, that is a bad policy, someone crazy must have though that up to Charge accounts for not making enough money. Good Call I’d close it too, that is unacceptable. Sure makes you want to promote them more. *sarcastic*

  4. nate says:

    Yea, exactly. I’m still waiting for reply on the 8 days, but since I’m still new to the game, I have no trouble quitting a program and moving somewhere else. There’s always another game in town.

  5. kay says:

    What makes this worse is that clickbank will NOT pay you any commissions earned until you have met their 5-card rule. To get paid, no matter how much you’ve earned, you must have purchasers using 5 different credit cards, which must include mastercard and visa. The requirement was originally three, then four – and now it’s five cards.

    This wasn’t a big problem until clickbank began accepting paypal – but the rule stayed in place and paypal purchases don’t count toward the requirement.

    It’s true that affiliate companies may have minimums they pay out but other companies are dollar minimums such as $50 or $25. Paypal’s requirement is ridiculous when you consider that while they are refusing to pay you, they will also start siphoning off your commissions.

    If you have sales and haven’t met the 5 card requirement – give some money to relatives/friends and have them make a cheap purchase with their credit card.

  6. Kyle says:

    ClickBank Is A Thief!!!

  7. It sounds very suspicious to me as well. These days, even well-established companies, who you think you should be able to trust, have deceptive ways of getting more money than they’re entitled to. All in an effort to keep Wall Street happy… (-:

  8. jen says:

    omg that sucks they probly know that not many people will make over $100 that sucks thats wrong

  9. benjy says:

    What is the alternative to Clickbank?
    I’ve heard paydotcom stinks. I need to check out commissionjunction and regnow.
    There’s a lot of bad press out there on these Clickbank jokers.

    My story: I wrote a little book, put it on clickbank 2 years ago.
    I sold a copy for $37, and did a little dance…
    and then nothing happened for months. no sales nothing.
    I finally go look at my account and it’s all gone due to these fees and others–every penny.
    I mean, I take it as a learning fee, tuition in the school–but my first infoproduct sale, which I created from thin air–and I never got compensated one bit–that just stinks.
    Now, I sold another copy – yes, 2 books in 2 years, a very slow start…
    I’m not going to stick around to see how this one ends…!

  10. Frank says:

    They truly are thieves. Can’t any legal action be taken? Anyone up for a class action lawsuit?

  11. nate says:

    I wish there was a lawsuit. I just don’t think there could be because of the agreement we agree to when we start promoting their products. When we agree, there’s not much we can say about it unless it’s illegal. *shrug*

  12. Chris says:

    I disagree with the whole charging accounts. It’s just retarded.

    One thing that annoys me is the holding of money. I understand that they need to hold 10% in case of refunds. I get that. the problem is that when they release that 10% into a check, they take an additional 10% of the new total. That means you technically can never get all your money out of the account. There’s always going to be 10% taken and there will be a point where there is some left in the account.

    Now since they created a way of doing things that makes it impossible for you to get all the money out, I’m pretty sure that is illegal.

  13. raj says:

    That dormant account thing is just ridiculous..Are we a slave to keep earning you money? Mr. clickbank.. and if not you take money from our account? Idk how people are still using clickbank even after they openly taking money from people’s accounts. Not only people are getting incredibly ridiculous, i think big companies are getting greedier by the day. The only way to stop this f*ckers is to stop accepting MONEY as payment. We should go back to “barter system” and without taxes.

    People from now on if anyone gives you money for your service or product, refuse to accept it. THIS WILL BRING THEM DOWN!

  14. I was caught by this stupid Clickbank rule and immediately closed my account.

    Having been caught I refuse to waste my time selling any Clickbank products and I have been very successful in some of the bigger Internet launches.

    Their loss but I recommend that anyone wanting to sell through affiliates avoids Clickbank. Why waste your time if you won’t get paid?

  15. Maurice says:

    It is my understanding that the policy was introduced to prevent people from buying products through their own links and collecting commissions without really selling anything as an affiliate.

    It might have been better to just prevent affiliates from buying through their own link which has always struck me as a rather stupid policy.

    CDR is a thorn in the side of more affiliates than you might think, but once you’re past it you don’t have to worry about it again.

    However, those who are working with Clickbank and struggling with CDR but still wishing to continue might be interested in one solution that can be very effective in getting you the required 5 credit card purchases.

    You can read it online here
    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/5168605/Clickbank-For-Newbies

    Hope this will help some people rather than make them just give up, because Clickbank can be pretty lucrative.

  16. staglo says:

    I find them disturbing and to me is PURE FRAUD.
    I have stopped promoting thier products, cos I hate cheating.
    Lets face you can receive 0.01 via paypal , so if you made that sale then get paid.
    And so , if you buy a product throgh your link, did it ever register it might be your company expenses?
    Never promote thier products its a waste of time

  17. John Paul says:

    They took my money too. I made over $50 from a sales. I could not get the money out because they have a requirement that you must have sales where buyers pay with different cards. Since I had only one buyer who paid with one credit card, I could not get my money out. I was not happy with that because I did some advertisement to generate the sales and I figured that what I earned was mine. Months later they took all of my money because my account was dormant.

  18. Christopher Hardin says:

    I am not sure where you guys are from but i am from the United States in the good old state of Georgia. I made a heck of an income from them but for some odd reason I did not meet there CDR. Then after about 6 months of me trying to get paid I all of a sudden logged in and my account was empty. Not even what I had left nothing not a penny. I think I was down to a couple hundred.

    Well here in Georgia TOS means nothing. I can sign into any contract I want. Yet it means nothing. They still have to abide by the law no matter what they sneak in or try to say. What they did was not only Steal from me but also stole from the vendor as well. As they took money out to pay me from his account yet never did so. So they stole money from 2 different people.

    So not sure what country you guys are from but here in the USofA theft is illegal. It is kinda like signing a contract that they can have my first born in terms of they pay me for my sales. That contract would not hold up in court and neither would this ridiculous pyramid scheme they have now.

    the point of the matter is this. Most people who has been flambuzled by CB are usually the lower end of the scale and do not have a lot of money and they did not lose that much money. So most people write it off. No one has actually really went after them in the court of law before.

  19. JK says:

    Here’s my story…its pretty similar.
    I am a small affiliate with Clickbank. I bought a couple of products for myself as an affiliate with a view to using and promoting them. As a result I got 2 credits on my account totaling $184.10. 2 sales…its not as if I am abusing the system and the sellers told me I could use my aff link!
    However I have not been paid any $. I complained yesterday and they are now finally going to send me a check for $75.45 (my balance is $84.11 with 8.66 being held back for returns) which means that their dormancy fees come to $99.99 that’s 54.3%! I get they are in business and there are fees but that is ludicrous.

    Note: they NEVER contacted me at all. It was only when I logged in and started digging did I realize what was happening. What a great system that is for them. I emailed them and they just said we have policies and you agreed to them. Yet you’d think that there would be a notification of some kind about the charge. I complained to the FTC and the AG in my state but I worry that they will black list me.

    BTW they have changed the dormancy fee for +365 days to $50.

  20. Brian says:

    Same thing happened to me and I feel it is down right theft. As one person pointed out not only did they steal from me they stole from the person that paid me the commission for selling their product. They were just holding it in an account for me. They earned their commission for me selling the product through them. To me it would be like paypal taking my money after a selling a product on ebay. They were just the medium that allowed the exchange to take place and they charged a fee already for that to happen. Now as my money sits there waiting for me to collect much like a bank account. I don’t think there are any accounting records that need to take place cause basically everyone has already been paid. For instance product is $100 dollars. Affiliate pays me 50% for sale so he makes 50 and I make 50 and then CB charges fee for that transaction. So everyone makes money all around and thats a good thing. Now not only do they want their fee they want my money as well of my commission as well. Not only did they do that but they never notified me they were in fact taking any money. Electronic THEFT at its finest. I think a good follow up article would be to point people to other networks that offer the same thing. Another suggestion is for someone to just start another clickbank without the theft.

  21. James says:

    I thought it was just me. Clickbank has had about $70 of mine for a LONG time now. I just today saw they have charged me a total of $11 I think, just to hold on to it.

    You wrote this blog well, it was the first choice when I typed “why is clickbank stealing my money” and I got my answer. I read their policy and I figured they would bully me out of my money, but since I have stopped trying to sell electronic products, I will just do what you did and hopefully get my money back.

    Ridiculous!

  22. shirley says:

    hi.

    could you help me? recently, i got interested in making money online. i wanted to earn money by accepting data entry or blogging jobs. 2 weeks ago, i arrived at this particular site (realwritingjobs) where they offered a trial of their service for 7 days. they will charge me $4 and the remaining $77 will be charged automatically from my credit card after a week. my problem is, perhaps i got too excited of jumping at the opportunity that i failed to understand what i was signing. i paid the $4 initial payment promo and today, i received a message from clickbank informing that they are having problem processing my order because it could be that my credit card has no sufficient fund, which is true. i’ve already exceeded my credit limit. frankly, i’m no longer interested in subscribing to the service of realwritingjobs.com. i find it too complicated. i don’t know what to do because by monday i am going to settle my obligations. this will mean that my credit card will have sufficient fund again. clikbank then can charge $77 from my account.

    unfortunately, i don’t know where to send my concerns. how can i stop clickbank from collecting money from my account? should i contact my bank and order them to stop clickbank from getting my money? is this a possible means?

    i have no account in clickbank. when i paid for the trial promo of realwritingjobs i just paid by filling out the form online.

    thank you.

    • nate says:

      Shirly,

      First and foremost, I wouldn’t suggest paying for just about anything when it comes to learning how to make money online. 99.9% of the products out there which charge you are just taking your money and not actually teaching you anything of significant value. You’ve now done that once, so I’d learn from that mistake and not do it again in the future. If you want to make money, stop spending it. :)

      Second, what you need to do is contact Clickbank themselves first. Tell them that you want to cancel a subscription. They should be able to help you out with that. I’ve paid for something on clickbank as a test before and had no problem canceling the subscription through their interface once I was told how to do it.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers.

  23. Wally says:

    I got my money from Clickbank. I wrote them and asked why they were ripping me off, and basically said “send me my money now”. They sent me a check and told me that after I got the check I could close my account.

    So, it seems like the easiest fix is to make money, tell them you want it or else and they send you a check.

    Wouldn’t it be easier if they just sent the check in the first place? Ridiculous!

    w

  24. Brixter says:

    I agree, it’s kind of stupid to charge for dormant accounts. I mean what if I let my account dormant for years and years to come, what would be the figures then? A thousand bucks? I think I would stay away from them.

    Thanks for the info!

  25. Chris Rempel says:

    Clickbank has always been pretty archaic in comparison to the other networks, but the system-wide promotional availability (you can promote anything on the whole network the moment you sign up) makes it quite powerful for fast-moving affiliates.

    That’s a big plus, but it’s counter-weighted by quite a few negatives, as well.

    The bottom line is it’s not the best affiliate network, and good offers that don’t violate your ethical boundaries are (as always) hard to find – but they’re not crooks.

    It’s just that their contract is rather self-serving.

    So in my opinion this isn’t a matter of “class action”… it’s a matter of actually reading the user agreement and taking it – or leaving it.

    Pure and simple.

    Class actions are applicable to things like click-fraud (re: Adwords) and literally withholding commissions (re: CJ), both of which did result in class action suits and then were either settled or went to court.

    So if Clickbank was either unfairly withholding commissions, hiding sales or otherwise doing shady stuff OUTSIDE of their fully-disclosed TOS/EULA/Contract – THEN it would make sense to talk about going legal.

    But to the best of my knowledge – they’re not doing anything that they haven’t disclosed clearly to begin with.

    So it’s a matter of “take it or leave it”.

    In my opinion, the pros outweigh the cons.

    Just my $0.02

    -Chris

  26. Ronnie says:

    Chris, your statement was by far interesting. Until, you mentioned two affiliate networks that had no place in this discussion to begin with.
    I am an affiliate of both Clickbank and Commission Junction. To me, it sounds as though you are an employ of Clickbank and you are here to hold or stop any negativity of the business, so by doing this you attempted to bring down other larger affiliate companies in the process.
    Fatal mistake in trying to uplift a company, but in doing this you decided to bring down two companies in the process. Oh, by the way, nothing is ever truly black and white, even with trustworthy business such as Clickbank. Just my $0.02
    Ronnie

  27. William says:

    Clickbank took much of my commissions before I reached the threshold. Now I am at -$39.95… Sucks.

  28. Leon says:

    I made $487 from affiliate commission and then my business went dormant a bit… a year later, i found out they charged me like in totoal $320 dormant fee. They are a thief. Do not believe in Clickbank. They charge you for not making money.

  29. Ed says:

    Hey Nate….

    Know what you mean my friend…I have a Clickbank account solely set up for affiliate sales..now I never make a regular commission income from it but rarely get charged…HOWEVER…not to long ago….someone purchased a high ticket through my link….then shortly after refunded?

    So due to the fact that I had insufficient funds in that account…Clickbank paid the buyer back on my behalf and put the debt on my account FAIR enough…..so I contacted them asking if I could actually place an amount of money in the account to square it?

    They said no but not to worry because they won’t charge a fee on top of it…if the outstanding balance isn’t paid back in 6 months they will just close the account and scratch the debt!

    Yesterday I checked the account which had been whittled down to 21 + $…only to find a $19 debty charge on it….I was raging because they told me they wouldn’t do that…so I contacted them and said if you don’t let me square this account NOW before it falls into any more debt…OR close it…still waiting reply…absolute….SNEAKY…way of making money AND loyalty to their customers!

  30. Darren says:

    I just had the same exact thing happen to me. I opened a clickbank account in about 2005. I have a $25 threshhold and have ALWAYS been paid for my commissions until this past year. What happened was the website I previously had went out of business so I started a new business this past year and was not promoting as heavily as I used to. Then I started receiving complaints about a survey program I was promoting and that people were not getting their login after paying. It had been a long time since I logged into clickbank but obviously assumed if I was earning I would have received a check by now. Well when I looked in my clickbank account it said I had a zero balance, however, it showed several sales I had made through the past year that equaled about $300. I was surprised and contacted clickbank. They then told me all this nonsense about dormant accounts. When I went back to login to my clickbank account they then blocked me from being able to view my earnings. What I think they’re doing is I believe they have probably 1000’s of accounts that people simply forget about and I believe that money just sits there so is simply pocketed by clickbank thinking the people will never come back. Working online for as long as I have I know how this works only too well. I would love to start a CLASS-ACTION-SUIT against clickbank. Anyone interested?

    • Nate Ritter says:

      Darren,

      Personally, I’m not interested in starting a lawsuit, but if one already was going, I’d put my name in and tell my story. Sorry this happened to you too. It’s a terrible policy (leave it dormant, lose your money). I’m sure it’s illegal.

  31. Greta says:

    Hey guys,
    I wanted to ask one question – I JUST logged in clickbank and I want to cancel my account. I igured out how to do that, but what they are telling me is that all my money will be forfeited. Wtf ? MY MONEY? it’s not even from clickbank. What should I do?

    Thanks

  32. Steve Hippel says:

    Hi Nate.
    I can feel your pain. Just logged into my account which had $248 in it. The balance is now $0. They have been taking as much as $50 a time in dormant account fees. My crime was that I have been busy working on other things.
    What I find staggering is that the FTC have been all over them like a rash over scammy products but seem to think that stealing your hard earned commissions is fine. At least you can get your money back if you buy a dodgy product.
    If dormant accounts are costing them money, why do they not make charges against accounts with a zero balance?
    It’s no wonder that out of over one million members the only have about 110 000 remaining. I wonder how many of those are active? Maybe Clickbank is not the giant that the make money online community seem to think.
    I now use and recommend click2sell as an affiliate and vendor. Much more ethical and my affiliates get paid no matter how small they are.

  33. The Web Guy says:

    Yeah I stopped using Clickbank for that reason. It is basically theft in my opinion. I asked their support about it and they gave me some BS excuse about how they have to do it for tax purposes. What a load of bollocks. I earned the money and they just stole it. DON’T USE CLICKBANK!!!

 
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