A Billing Scam by proXPN?


One of the podcasts I listen to regularly is Security Now, a TWiT show. Every one of these shows (as well as many of the shows on the TWiT network) finds me learning a great deal that I use personally, for my company, or my own “Security Tip of the Week” on the Minnov8 Gang Podcast. To say I find Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte knowledgeable, trustworthy and reliable is an understatement — and I’ve taken to extending those feelings to their advertisers — since Leo continually touts the fact that he only supports advertisers he vets and actually uses.

proxpn-logoBut I think these guys either had a lapse when it comes to the VPN provider proXPN, or they have never signed up for a trial period with this vendor and then tried to cancel the account during that trial period (which I now suggest they have a TWiT staffer do for EVERY potential advertiser).

Making it hard to cancel is the oldest trick in the book to get some percentage of people to pay when you charge their credit card immediately and then make them jump through a bunch of hoops to cancel and get a refund. Here is what happened and why I strongly caution you to consider another vendor for your VPN services

  • On Leo and Steve’s continual glowing recommendation of proXPN, I signup for the 7-day trial on Friday, August 2nd
  • After using the service I determine it is far too slow for my needs and decide to cancel on Wednesday, August 7th — the sixth day of the seven day trial
  • Logging on to the proXPN “Member Area” I discover there is no way to cancel online. In proXPN’s terms of service it states:

“proXPN extends a 7-day risk-free trial to all new proXPN Premium Accounts. To prevent fraud, we charge your PayPal account or credit card immediately. However, within 7 days of ordering, you can request a full refund through our customer support helpdesk – no questions asked. Please note: this trial is available to new users of proXPN only.”

  • I open a support ticket on August 7th saying I do indeed want to cancel my account…and hear nothing.
  • Finally having time today to followup on several business items like this one, I reluctantly log in to the proXPN “Member Area” in order to see what the status of my support ticket is (and I say “reluctantly” since logging in sometimes “reactivates” an account and starts a new billing cycle). I’m chagrined to see this status (click for larger view) and that my status is set to “Customer-Reply” meaning they must have sent me an email:


  • Rolling my eyes and thinking, “Shit…I sure hope this is not yet another unethical company” I go and dig through my spam folder to see if there are any emails from them (and I get hundreds of spam emails per day that end up in there). To my dismay I finally uncover a reply from proXPN support that turns out to be an “open-ended” email that says:

Hi there –

Is there anything we can do to improve your experience? We like to keep our customers happy and we’d hate to lose you.

Best regards,
Team proXPN

Ticket ID: #772556
Subject: Cancel
Status: Answered
Ticket URL: http://proxpn.com/…. 

  • By asking ME a question and waiting for my response, the ticket remains open. Going back to their Terms of Service I see that, “Refunds are given as per conditions stated above regarding our 7-day risk-free trial. If you request a refund after the 7-day trial period, we cannot issue one.”  Since I requested to cancel my account before the 7-day trial period was up, I should receive a full refund. 

Since proXPN made is so difficult to cancel within their 7-day trial period — and because I have zero trust they will refund my credit card since I requested to “cancel” instead of stating I wanted a “full refund” — I’ve contacted my credit card company and begun the process to dispute the charges since there is no way this company will be my VPN provider after this experience.

Is This a Billing Scam by proXPN? I think “yes” in the same way that AOL made it extremely hard to cancel (mandatory 45 minute hold time if a customer called in to cancel) and AOL was sued and paid $3M in fines.   

The other thing is this: I’ll undoubtedly never sign up for a service touted by anyone, even people I used to implicitly trust like Leo and Steve.

UPDATE: Perhaps coincidence (been tweeting to @proXPN) but just received this from their billing support:

Your cancellation and refund request has been submitted and is in process. Please allow up to ten business days for your refund to post to your account. Your satisfaction is truly important to us, so please let us know if there’s anything further we can do to assist you.


  1. Chuck Jaeger (@chuckthenerd) on August 13, 2013 at 10:53 am

    I was considering giving them a spin… Looks like their back end systems and core operations systems need some attention.

  2. Paul Sylvester on August 13, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    That is why I use VPN4ALL the servers are very fast and they use OpenVPN. I have yet to be disappointed!

  3. George on August 17, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Steve uses his own FreeBSD OpenVPN at his office and Level 3 and has even said in his newsgroups that he hasn’t used ProXPN. Shame really because it would probably stop Leo from pronouncing it Steve approved.

    I agree it’s slow and the free version does nothing but try and encourage you to upgrade. Also the Twit offer is US only even though SN is viewed world wide.

  4. Steve Borsch on August 17, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Thanks for the extra perspective George…hadn’t heard about his use of OpenVPN. Maybe Leo has given up the purity of “I actually use the product” and has changed that to “Haven’t used it but maybe it makes sense for our audience.”

  5. Ryan on October 7, 2013 at 11:48 am

    I just found out for sure that ProXPN is a scam. I’m also an avid listener of the TWiT network of podcasts and decided to try ProXPN. I did the 7 day trial but realized the service was far to slow. I then canceled my account and received a link to verify the cancellation. They reimbursed the money, but a month later I was billed again. I contacted tech support about this and they refused to reimburse the money. Not only that, they downgraded me to a free account so I don’t even get the “pro” features even after the payment.

  6. Steve Borsch on October 7, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Hey Ryan. Yikes…I’d better check my latest statement to ensure that I, too, wasn’t charged again!

    What a drag. You should ping @SGgrc (Steve Gibson) and @LeoLaporte about this since they need to know what’s going on from someone other than me!

  7. Anthony Eusebio on October 7, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Hi Ryan, I was told you had some issues with proXPN and came here to post about it. We regret losing you as a customer. Would you be so kind to send me your information so I can look into this issue for you? Normally an email in our Members Section would suffice, but I’d like to personally correct any wrong done to you, as we are not a Scam and take our online reputation seriously. You can reach me at anthony at proxpn.com
    Thank you.

  8. DP on October 29, 2013 at 9:07 am

    These types of problems seem to be very common among VPN providers. I’ve become weary of all of these sleazy operations.

  9. berk on November 2, 2013 at 10:28 am

    You can head off some problems by using one-time use credit card numbers (via Bank of America or Citibank cards) or PayPal if accepted. That way each renewal is under your control.

  10. Tim on November 4, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    I have had the same problem – assumed it was cancelled within the 7 days, but have just noticed two payments have gone through on my credit card.

    I enjoy the TWIT network, but it does look bad on them if they continue to use advertisers like this – the integrity of TWIT is also at stake

  11. Anthony @ Proxpn on November 4, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    With all due respect Tim, you assumed a 7 day free trial that recurs to a monthly subscription automatically cancels even if you don’t take action to cancel it?

    While you may have thought it ends after 7 days, it does not. I’d be more than happy to look into your account, please email me anthony at proxpn dot com.

  12. Volkai on November 17, 2013 at 8:26 am

    From what I can see, ProXPN does not have a billing /scam/ going on, but it’s most certainly a billing /scheme/ that strongly disincentivizes cancelling their Pro service.

  13. Keith MacDonald on November 28, 2013 at 6:36 am

    Another person here who got played by ProXPN. I cancelled the trial over 2 months ago & was just charged for the SECOND time since. I have contacted ProXPN, but expect, like the above poster, to be denied a refund. If this is the kind of company that Leo Laporte has sponsoring TWiT, then I guess I’m done with TWiT…

  14. Anthony Eusebio on November 29, 2013 at 6:04 am

    Hi Keith,

    Would you be so kind to amend your post? As soon as I received your email regarding your issue, I refunded you your full amount that was charged due to Auto Billing. While I fully understand your frustrations, we follow Paypal’s guidelines when it comes to cancelling services. proXPN does not have access to your Paypal account to cancel your subscription for you, that’s why we send you a link in email with directions on how to cancel inside Paypal. I believe that everyone should voice their issues publicly if they believe they are being taken advantage of, but in this case, we followed all guidelines set forth by our Processor, Paypal by sending you the directions, and a link to cancel your subscription. Thank you for your business.

  15. Anthony Eusebio on December 24, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Hi Jason, y

    If you had any issues with any billing with proXPN, you can simply email me your information and I’ll look into it. Anthony at Proxpn.com


  16. Daniel Newman on February 7, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    I am normally really carful about signing up for subscriptions because as a designer I don’t get a monthly income, so I never know when things are going to be tight, but with the restrictions placed on the Olympics stream I let my guard down and remembered ProXPN was a twit sponsor. I had the form filled out on there website with my finger on the trigger but I forgot the promo code, and found this when I did a good search for it. Man that was a close call. Thanks to you, you really saved my bacon. I will not be creating an account.
    I guess I will just have to watch twitter for my Olympics this year

  17. Anthony Eusebio on February 26, 2014 at 8:43 pm


    Please contact me via email anthony @ proxpn dot com. I’d like to get to the bottom of your issue. As I’ve mentioned before, we ask all of our clients if there’s anything we can do to keep them on with us. There’s nothing wrong with asking. However once you tell us no, we cancel and refund promptly. I’ll be waiting for your reply. Thanks.

  18. WebSmith on February 27, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    Thanks for all the information, I was looking to start an account due to my current VPN service being down due to technical issues but after reading this I’m not going to bother!

  19. Nahum on March 23, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    I’ve been using the full version for about a month and couldn’t be more pleased with the reliability and speed. I’m at the port Orleans Disney resort connected via proXPN on an iPad connected to my home computer that is also connected via proXPN on utorrent @ about 10 MB down 1 up my home computer which has only disconnected when I did it. I found all of the trial VPN not to my liking including proXPN and when I checked prices $10 per month is too much for the service in my opinion. When you pay with a cc it’s simple call the vendor tell them your not happy give them 7-10 days to reverse charges if they don’t call your cc company dispute charges

  20. becky waters on March 31, 2014 at 7:00 am

    I didn’t cancel because Steve looked into the the technical end and approved it.
    However, I have noticed that on quite a few occasions, I believed I was connected to their server (proXPN), but was not. Their interface said I was connected and even listed the IP address of the server which I was connected to. Also, the little lock in the system tray was green.
    But after doing an ipconfig, I realized I still had my real IP. Also, I checked with Shields Up and
    saw that my IP is my real one. You can’t trust that you are really protected without double checking–this is just wrong.
    I contacted tech support, but I should have just saved my breath. They told my to change my DNS servers to Google’s and turn off my firewall–did not like that at all.
    I just gave up with them.

  21. erbi on May 24, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    My trial speed was also slow and I hoped that paid service would be faster. And it is, plenty fast for my needs.

    I also don’t like automatic renewal and cancellation problems, so I gave the service provider a one-time-use credit card number. They look exactly like a physical card number. Depending on how you configure it, it can be extended or cancelled by YOU the creator at any time. That can avoid any need to dispute a charge – just notify the service provider you cancel their service, then cancel the number. No more automatic re-charges.

    You may be able to do something similar with gift cards that act as debit cards.

  22. Northwest on October 12, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    Have used ProXPN for about 2 yrs. Have never had any problems with them or their service, Download speeds are great! Customer service is satisfactory. I would and do recommend ProXPN to my friends and family. I won’t surf the web with-out them…

  23. Androidian on January 2, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    I have been happily using ProXPN after trying several other service providers and on the suggestion of Twit, Leo and Steve. I went directly to the Pro version as I had several devices I wanted to use it on so I never suffered the trial problems.

    I even went so far as to suggest that fellow forum members in a non-related forum try it free in my sig at the bottom of each of my 20,000 posts.

    Soon I had complaints from other forum members that trying to set up to use the limited Free version was almost impossible to set up as they continuously kept directing the new user to the Pro Free Trial, not the bandwidth limited Free version. They gave up and I finally had to remove them from my sig area because I could never see how to get that Free version established.
    I think I wrote Twit about it but never got a response so I guess if you can’t commit to the 1 year Pro version (hopefully with a promo code) at a rate of just under $5 USD/mo then I would avoid them.

    But all that said, they are fast and functional for me and all my devices with the year paid Pro version.

    P.S. I haven’t tried to quit yet. It looks like they are no longer an advertiser on TWIT either although as of last week they were still listed on their sponsors page with a promo code.

  24. Jeff H on February 8, 2015 at 4:17 am

    So basically:

    * You tried to cancel
    * Contrary to the impression you were left with initially, they DID cancel your account as requested,
    * In ADDITION to, not instead of, cancelling your account, they asked you how they could improve,
    * You, having massively misinterpreted this, didn’t even TRY to respond to that e-mail before taking multiple extremely hostile actions (going through your credit card company, writing an angry blog post),
    * They were very nice about the whole thing in spite of this, and yet
    * Somehow proXPN are the bad guys here?

    Is this seriously what you’re saying here?

  25. Steve Borsch on February 8, 2015 at 10:38 am

    “You, having massively misinterpreted this, didn’t even TRY to respond to that e-mail before taking multiple extremely hostile actions (going through your credit card company, writing an angry blog post)”

    You misinterpreted the point of the post, Jeff.

    Canceling an account should be a one (or maybe two) click adventure. It’s fairly common practice to make the cancellation process a bit challenging in order to delay a cancellation, ensure that billing does takes place after a trial, or for another monthly billing round to occur after an existing customer tries to cancel. Not saying any of that was ProXPN’s intent, but the result of their convoluted cancellation process is the same.

    Three questions for you Jeff:

    1) Why should any company make it very hard to cancel? With the likelihood of a trial customer receipt of an email ending up in a spam folder, should this really be a part of the process?

    2) Are you affiliated with ProXPN in any way?

    3) You do realize, don’t you, this post is well over a year old?

  26. John Woo on June 7, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    I agree with Jeff, this blog post appears to have been made in haste. For the record I’ve been with ProXPN about a year now – pro user – and have had nothing but positive experiences with them. Regardless of how old this blog post is, it does come up fairly early in results for “proxpn review” and casts a rash and inaccurate light upon the service and the company.

  27. Steve Borsch on June 7, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    As I’ve said before, this post is old. It’s likely ProXPN has changed their processes, but I stand by my (at the time) words.

    It’s clear that a company representative has been monitoring comments and weighing in from time-to-time too, which is good.

  28. Nico on July 10, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    I went to straight to Private Tunnel service by the authors of OpenVPN, great pre-paid service, no contracts or subscriptions to get ya! Check them out

  29. Steve Borsch on July 10, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    I’ve heard of Private Tunnel but there are so many now (especially in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations) that it will require more study to figure who is good now. I’d wager the OpenVPN guys are stellar though.

  30. Dick on August 9, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    I recently received a replacement, chip enabled credit card and needed to notify for future auto pay of ProXPN billing the change my expiration date. In the past one could go to:


    to do this. This link no longer works. The response I received from customer service when I wrote about changing credit card information was:

    You need to resubscribe again for you to update card info. You can request for the cancellation of the first subscription or wait till the renewal date to avoid double charging,before resubscribing online.
    As we are not keeping any card information on our system there is no way for us to change it either .

    If you need assistance for resubscribing please let us know.

    This is nonsense! For every company I have auto pay of bills using a credit card, changing credit card information is generally pretty easy. Could you imagine cancelling your utility service (electricity, water, sewer, natural gas) and re subscribing to change your credit card expiration date because you were issued an updated card. In addition, consider the hundreds of millions of cards now being reissued because of the inclusion of chips and new expiration dates. ProXPN needs to get into the 21st century. Perhaps they should provide a connection to the site where billing information is held to allow one to update credit card info. That shouldn’t be rocket science.

  31. Steve Borsch on August 10, 2015 at 7:12 am

    This is stunning and needing to cancel your card is ludicrous!

    Here is yet another reason why—even though ProXPN had a lot of defenders in these comments—it seems that ProXPN is only “pro” ProXPN….and not their customers. The onus is on YOU to keep track of the date to cancel and resubscribe. It’s the same “scam-like” behavior that makes me certain I would never use them for something as important as my VPN.

  32. Dick on August 10, 2015 at 8:04 am

    You don’t need to cancel your credit card, you need to cancel your ProXPN service, then reapply to ProXPN for service and at that point put in your complete credit card information. Of course, if you have a discount on the price of your previous service the new establishment of service may not allow the discount. This is total nonsense and when renewal time comes around I probably will be looking for a new VPN service if ProXPN hasn’t fixed this problem.

    In fact, the ProXPN site has a link in their web page to do just what I want but doesn’t lead to anything that will allow you to change your credit card info.

  33. Sketch on August 21, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    At this moment you can’t even access the support page to submit a ticket for cancellation. It leads to a 404 page. Clicking login in their support section just reloads the page. This company is a nightmare.

  34. james on October 1, 2015 at 12:55 am

    I’m feeling your pain, I am trying to a six out of pro XP and it sucks compared to witopia where I’ll being hoodwinked, *uck them

  35. james on October 1, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    Hello ***** ***********, Your seller has issued a refund of $23.96 USD and this case has been closed.Seller’s name: proXPN Direct LLC>>> Sincerely, PayPal

  36. Toni Albert on January 14, 2016 at 4:23 am

    I’ve personally not had any issues with ProXPN VPN fraud. When I did the trial, I decided in a few days that I just wanted to use the free version of ProXPN, so I contactedcustomer support. They responded just a few hours later and canceled my trial with no problem.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

Posts by Category

Archives (2004 – Present)

Connecting the Dots Podcast

Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.