Back in May 2021, Source Music announced the departure of GFRIEND after the agency and girl group members failed to come to an agreement on a contract renewal.
Shortly after the initial news, the agency clarified in a separate statement that all BUDDY membership fees will be refunded “as per Weverse Membership refund guidelines.”
If your GFRIEND BUDDY Membership is currently valid, a refund can be provided as per Weverse Membership refund guidelines. However, it may take some time before you receive your refund as we are still preparing detailed measures. We ask for your understanding, and we will provide detailed instructions for your refund process as soon as possible.
— Source Music
Unfortunately, in June 2021, the said “detailed measures” sparked criticism among GFRIEND fans as Weverse decided it could only offer membership refunds in the form of Weverse cash points — which, then, may only be used in the Weverse Shop.
Only after some GFRIEND fans sought legal advice — which, eventually, revealed that a point refund would be in violation of the Korean “E-Commerce Act” as well as the “Contents Industry Promotions Act,” Weverse agreed to issue cash refunds.
In the process of collecting information for the cash refunds, however, Weverse made a fatal mistake of not restricting the visibility of the collected request forms. This resulted in an “inadvertent release of personal information” for about 9 minutes. Weverse later apologized for the mistake and promised to “carefully heed the opinions from [the] fans being provided through a variety of channels and do [their] utmost to bring closure to these issues.”
By July 2021, the refunds have begun processing… except Weverse has found itself under fire yet again for its subpar customer service. According to some online reviews of their experiences with Weverse’s refund process, international fans revealed that Weverse made them cover the refund’s wire transfer fee.
Re: International Refunds
I’m here to share my experience with the international membership fee refund. I was refunded $18.20, but then I was charged $15 for the international wire transfer fee when I checked again today. So in total, I was refunded $3.20 for the membership. I honestly didn’t think I would get the money back, but I requested a refund anyway because I was so upset with how [Weverse] handled the situation. But I’m starting to think this is out of line. What is this, a joke? I can’t believe I had to pay a wire transfer fee for a refund.
— International GFRIEND Fan
So for international fans, the membership refunds have been “not worth it,” at barely 20% of what they originally paid. One BUDDY commented, after paying 80% of the refunded amount in fees, “I feel robbed.”
So I just received the gfriend buddy membership refund… and to be honest that was not worth it. Weverse made it so I had to pay for the bank transaction which was 80% of the refund price.
So basically I was supposed to get 10$ refund but payed 8$ transaction. I feel robbed😒 pic.twitter.com/ppKptFOXDo
— ItsAland (@ItsAland) July 24, 2021
Weverse has not responded to the frustration, though more accounts of unsatisfactory refund experiences continue surface online.
Previously, GFRIEND fans put together a #HYBESpeakUp hashtag protest demanding a better explanation of what has happened to the girl group.