Stuff does happen. Websites can have technical problems. If they have a problem that they can’t quite nail down then it is difficult to know what to fix and the problems may be recurring for quite a while before they are able to fix it. So you can give them the benefit of the doubt if everything else seems to be ok. To a degree, but this must be reasonable, otherwise it may be a real red flag.
The same goes for customer service but only to a point. There are days when things are happening such as the above technical problems and there can even be days where there are multiple issues across the board that are affecting multiple members. This would be a reason that there is a true surge in requests for support and it can really throw everything into a backlog situation.
However in the first place a company should have announced an ETA (estimated time of arrival) – such as ‘We try to answer all requests within 48-hours’. So you know that up to 48-hours it is normal not to hear from them and starting to count from there then you can figure if there is some ‘extra’ problem. You should start sending more requests every 48-hours.
If it is really the norm that customer service is always slow and whether or not there is an ETA, let’s be generous and say 72-hours before we get concerned and start resubmitting requests. Poor customer support on a regular basis, really may be an indicator that all is not that well there – but it may just be they are stupid or inept. It really doesn’t usually indicate anything like fraud.
Now that is with the exception of refunds. There are companies that you have to contact over and over to get a refund. Sometimes when it is you that has made a mistake, you can guess it will take some time to get your money. However then there are some companies that will ‘accidentally’ do things like charging your account multiple times for the same fee. When they are advised of same they still take forever to give you your money back.
This would seem like a real red flag that this company is not reputable. In the first place they have a screwed up billing system – a really important function for any business. Add that to poor customer service because they have custody of your money and can’t be bothered to give it back quickly. There are actually scams where businesses do this regularly and earn interest on the money before refunding it.
If a business is late with money – whether it is your commissions, or a refund, this may indicate there is serious trouble either with their own financial situation or with their business ethics. It might be a really good idea to get out while you still have a chance of leaving with your money, rather than waiting for a total crash.
Remember most decent banks (credit cards, payment processors, etc) do have a way for you to file a dispute within a certain time limit – usually 30 to 60 days. You usually just need to prove you have tried to get your money back a few times with no response. The bank will take over and get your money for you. Don’t ignore the signs. Don’t be paranoid on the other-hand and do give the benefit of the doubt – up to a point.