This practice is so outrageous, the Waves of Tech is re-posting this as a consumer alert. The following excerpt was written by cnet.com. Please read the article in its entirety through the link below.
“Thousands of Web shoppers have complained that “mystery charges” are showing up on their credit card statements and have accused those who operate so-called Web loyalty programs of duping them into signing up.”
“Apparently, many consumers are unaware that for years now, e-tailers such as Buy.com, Orbitz, Fandango, and hundreds of others have given Web loyalty programs, also known as post-transaction marketers, access to their customers’ credit cards. Some online shoppers don’t realize that when they enter their e-mail addresses into these ads, they are opting into the programs and authorizing the charges.”
Update 2 Dec. 2009
As an update to the original post, three marketing firms, Affinion, Webloyalty, and Vertrue have generated $1.4 billion in revenue from this outrageous practice. Basically mystery charges to your credit card by tricking you to consent. As the holiday season approaches, it important to protect yourself from being lured into providing your email address for these “Coupons” which allows the vendor authorization to charge your credit card every month, and in return, you get nothing! A U.S. Senate Commerce committee is currently investigating these practices. An example of revenue generated is classmates.com which has received $70 million from these marketing firms using this trickery. (Listen to Waves of Tech Episode 7 for discussion of this topic.)
1. Ensure you read all print when processing an online transaction
2. Watch your credit card statements for unusual transactions
3. Below is a list of companies using these despicable marketing companies. Your decision, but we recommend not using these sites or do business with them until their practices change in using third party loyalty programs.
Barnes & Noble
Boston Apparel Group
Cendant Intercompany Agreements
Currents USA (123 Prints)
From You Flowers
FTD Florists Online
True Credit (True Link)