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ECA Cancels Discount, Complicates Cancellations

UPDATE: There's more to the story.

ECA logo Here's a dark cloud from the business side of the gaming industry.  Until recently, the Entertainment Consumers Association (a non-profit organization that represents the interests of game-playing Americans) offered a nice discount on games purchased from (among other semi-worthless benefits) to their paid members.  Then, suddenly, the Amazon discount benefit disappeared.  Just as when other industries eliminated the reason one subscribes, plenty of ECA members decided to cut bait and cancel their memberships only to find that the option to cancel online or by phone (and avoid an automatic renewal charge on one's credit card) had also up and disappeared.  This has let to bait-and-switch accusations as the scandal brews in the online gaming community.  The Consumerist has a quick summary of the situation.

Some members of the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) are pretty upset that the consumer advocacy group for gamers removed the ability to turn off auto-renewal on member accounts. They've also removed the phone number you used to be able to call to cancel. In fact, the only way to cancel your ECA membership now is to mail them a letter, and if your request isn't processed at least 30 days before your membership is due to renew, you can expect to be charged again.

I really expected better from the ECA considering their endorsements from other trusted organizations.  What really stings is that I'm a paid member of the ECA and have really been enjoying that Amazon discount (I've actually come out monetarily ahead), but with that benefit gone, I may as well cancel (particularly if the organization is shifting gears into scammy behavior).  Looks like it's time to write a letter...