Cobra Mailer - Avoid This Bait and Switch Scam

This Cobra Mailer review looks at my experience with the program. Every so often, I see another pulse of emails from IM people pushing this system. To cut to the chase, steer clear of Cobra Mailer. You’ll be glad you did. It’s a Bait and Switch system designed to part you from as much of your money as possible.

You’ll find no affiliate links for this system in this post as I wouldn’t promote such a scammy product to my readers.

Ok, now let’s get into the nitty-gritty.

What Is The Cobra Mailer System?

Cobra Mailer is promoted through webinars by the developers John Shugart, Luke Sample and Stephen Renton. It’s touted as being one of the highest converting webinar promotions ever. And those webinars are effective; they suckered me in.

The system is aimed at people who want to do bulk emailing and take it to the next level. To that end, Cobra Mailer provides a bulk email system to send out your emails and every month you get 5,000 new email addresses plus a new turnkey email campaign. It’s advertised as an all-in-one solution for your bulk emailing needs.

It’s also very expensive. The initial fee is $1,497 and then there’s a monthly fee of $297 to cover the cost of using the system. The developers say that any member not at least covering their costs by the end of month 2 will get assistance until those costs are covered.

What The Cobra Mailer System Is Really Like

Monthly Email Lists

Yes, you do get 5,000 email addresses per month but they contain some dead email addresses. So the email lists they provide aren’t clean. You have to use an external service to clean your list before emailing; otherwise ISPs will throttle the number emails that successfully reach recipients.

They recommend hygieneagent.com which they’re probably getting commissions from, though I don’t know that for certain. This service starts out at $25 per month but prices go higher the more emails you have to clean. Hygiene Agent also only accept credit card payments which can be difficult to cancel (I’ve found this with a number of online services). I requested a cancellation from Hygiene Agent several times and still haven’t had a response, not even an acknowledgment. I’ve had to resort to telling my credit card company to stop payments to this company.

Hygiene Agent's Price Structure
Hygiene Agent’s Price Structure – click image for a larger view

The provided email lists can also contain email traps used by ISPs looking for spam. So the lists also have to be cleaned of these. And that means signing up with yet another 3rd-party service. With this one, you pay by the size of the email list cleaned rather than it being a subscription service.

Given the $297 ongoing monthly fee for Cobra Mailer, I don’t think it would be asking too much that pre-cleaned email lists be provided to members at the outset. And, frankly, I never saw $297/mth worth of value from the system.

To summarise how the email lists are mis-represented to prospective buyers:

  • Mis-advertising Issue #1: You don’t get a usable 5,000 list of email addresses as you’re told you’ll get
  • Mis-advertising Issue #2: You have to use an external service to clean the email list before use, so Cobra Mailer is not an all-in-one solution
  • Mis-advertising Issue #3: The external service requires an additional monthly fee that is not disclosed in the webinars to prospective Cobra Mailer customers.
  • Mis-advertising Issue #4: Paying for a second external service to clean your monthly list is also required. Another fact not disclosed to buyers.

The Bulk Emailing System

The Cobra Mailer system is capable of sending out 8,000 emails per day. However, it’s only after you sign up that you learn that they don’t advise using their system at all if you want good acceptance rates at ISPs. Several external email services are recommended for doing large volume bulk emailing, at additional cost; the cost isn’t high but it should have been disclosed to prospective customers.

After month 3, you would have 15,000 email addresses. If you want to mail all of them, you have to use one of the external services. This becomes ever more necessary as each month passes and your email address count goes up.

Members are actually told that the Cobra Mailer system really should not be used for bulk emails as it wasn’t really designed for this, despite it being touted as an all-in-one solution for email marketing to potential customers.

If I’m paying big money for a service, I expect to get a quality, top-notch service. This is not the case with Cobra Mailer. Their email system, such as it was, was not 100% reliable either and a few of the email campaigns I scheduled to be sent through it did not run to completion. No adequate explanation was given and I was fobbed off with a “sometimes glitches happen” type response.

  • Mis-advertising Issue #5: This “all-in-one” bulk email system isn’t. Having paid $1,497 plus $297/mth, members are advised to use external bulk email services that are significantly cheaper and more reliable than Cobra Mailer. Being a member, however, means that these external services are yet another additional cost not disclosed to prospective buyers.

The Monthly Turnkey Email Campaign

You’re supposed to get 1 turnkey email campaign each month. I got one the first month and nothing else thereafter (I stayed with the system for 3 months). Queries as to why I didn’t get the subsequent campaigns went unanswered.

  • Mis-advertising Issue #6: You do not get the Turnkey Email Campaigns each month as promised.

Missing Turnkey Email Campaigns in the Members' Area
Missing Turnkey Email Campaigns in the Members’ Area. Click the image for a larger view. Note the date in the lower left corner (Oct 27th) – I joined at the end of July; there should be 3 campaigns listed here.

Training, at the time I was a member in Autumn of last year, was by video only. No PDFs which meant searching for a particular bit of information was time consuming and difficult. It looked like an unfinished product and there was a definite lack of professionalism about the whole thing.

Customer Support

My interactions with the sole member of their support staff were not pleasant. Logan was somewhat combative and rather than providing the help or explanations I was seeking accused me of not using their system correctly. So customer support wasn’t important to them. Logan definitely needed some lessons in how to provide polite, competent customer support.

The Major Commitment Given By The Developers To Prospective Customers

The Cobra Mailer / Mailer Millionaire owners had made a commitment to customers that if they were not covering their monthly fees through email sales by the end of month two that they would personally step in and get that customer to a break-even point [point 4 on their Terms of Service]. I emailed support about requiring such help on October 15, 2013, in my third month. By October 26 (almost 2 weeks later), no such assistance had been provided as promised. In fact, there was no communication from them whatsoever.

So they broke their own terms of service on this issue alone.

  • Mis-advertising Issue #7: The promised assistance (in their Terms of Service no less) in helping members get to a break even point on monthly expenses, was not provided when asked for.

Cobra Mailer's Terms of Service
Cobra Mailer’s Terms of Service. Click image for larger view. Take note of point 4 – it’s the one where they say they’ll provide assistance that never arrives

The Final Straw

The final straw for pushing me to cancel this service was the hard sell for some product or service called The Easy Cash System that would either put your email marketing into overdrive or, if you weren’t in monthly profit yet, would get you in profit. It was being pushed as an almost necessary next step. And, yes, another payment would be required for it.

Cobra Mailer's hard sell of The Easy Cash System
Cobra Mailer’s hard sell of The Easy Cash System. Click image for larger view.

Credit Card Fraud

When I eventually decided not to throw any more good money after bad, I cancelled my subscription to the Cobra Mailer on October 26th. My access to the system was cut off immediately despite the subscription running to the 29th (the renewal date). It’s not much but by that action they effectively stole $30 from me.

Since access to my account was terminated prior to the actual renewal date, I no longer had access to the ticket system used by Cobra Mailer so I couldn’t even ask for a partial refund.

  • Credit Card Fraud Issue #1: Membership is terminated on the day cancellation is requested. No partial refunds are issued when service is terminated prior to the renewal date.

Major Red Flag I Should Not Have Ignored

One of the Terms of Use of the Cobra Mailer system is that all purchases are final. That should have been a red flag. They will not countenance refunds in any circumstance, even when it’s pointed out that they are not living up to their own Terms of Service. I now believe that if they did allow refunds, they’d have a high refund rate, if my experience with them is anything to go by.

One of The Most Grossly Misrepresented Products I’ve Come Across

The Cobra Mailer system was severely mis-represented to customers like myself. None of the hidden costs were highlighted in any way. It was promoted as an all-in-one system for businesses/clients interested in bulk email marketing. It was nothing of the sort and required several additional external services plus ongoing associated costs.

In addition, the core mailing system which was supposed to be able to do bulk email couldn’t even do that (not fit for purpose) and serious customers needed to hire the services of additional bulk email services. It also proved impossible to cancel ongoing monthly payments to the Hygiene Agent external service.

  • Credit Card Fraud Issue #2: Hygiene Agent refused to action all requests that I made to cancel my subscription to them. I don’t know if the owners of Cobra Mailer have any association with Hygiene Agent.

Seeking Redress From My Credit Card Company

Since I could not get a refund from Cobra Mailer, I’ve opened a dispute with my credit card company on the basis that the product/service was seriously mis-advertised. I’ll post on the progress on this as things happen…

*** In the meantime, I’d advise anyone to avoid Cobra Mailer at all costs.

Update: If you’re one of those who have been scammed by Cobra Mailer, here’s a new resource you can use.
 

 
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