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BILLION DOLLAR WEB SCAM ALERT

November 21st, 2009 by Cdin

Important Information to Know re: Online Purchasing

Have you make a purchase from such companies as Vistaprint, Fandango, 1800 Flowers, movietickets.com, classmates.com, Victoria’s Secret, Yahoo, Cheap Tickets or a myriad of OTHER RETAILERS? See below for a larger list.

Were you diverted to a special bonus, coupon, money off after your initial purchase? Did you knowingly agree to pay a subscription or membership fee to the tune of $10 to $19.95 or more per month?

This “bonus” offer was especially designed to be deceptive and misleading, say a number of Web marketing experts before a Senate Commerce Investigatory committee.

For one thing, your “bonus” will probably consist merely of spamlike sales offers offering little value. In other words, you signed up to pay a monthly fee to receive spam emails.

For another, your eye was tricked  to go immediately to “Yes” buttons, arrows and Free Offer text diverting your attention from the fine print.

Additionally, AFTER your original purchase, your credit card information was automatically transferred, unbeknownst to you, to the entirely UNRELATED third party marketing company.

You would have tacitly given permission to share credit card information when you agreed to the Terms and Conditions with your first purchase.

What To Do

Check your credit card bills to see if there are any suspicious monthly fees that you do not recall signing up for. 

If you see these “unauthorized” charges, immediately contact the company and ask for a complete refund of ALL “membership” and monthly charges and fees. They will claim you gave your permission. Be insistent.

Send a quick letter or email to your Senate Representatives.

Contact the original company and voice your complaint. Let them know your displeasure and disappointment.  

Post your complaints on consumer websites such as Satisfaction.com. Be sure not to make any false claims.

Email complaints or notifications will not be enough. A number of people have reported that their emails were ignored.

Be sure to read the fine print on ALL purchases. Otherwise, you may end up being one of the unknowing victims of this multibillion dollar “industry.”

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Senate Investigation
Four of the offending marketing firms are Vertrue, Webloyalty, Chase Bank, Affinion. Currently, several or all are under Senate investigation for consumer fraud.

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Additional Information
CNET: Feds: Top e-tailers profit from billion-dollar Web scam
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10399880-93.html

COMMERCE.GOV
Aggressive Sales Tactics on the Internet and Their Impact on American Consumers 
Link

Government Archive Video
View Archive Webcast

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PARTIAL LIST OF OFFENDING RETAILERS

Over 10 Million Dollars Received
1-800-Flowers.com
Buy.com
Classmates.com
Columbia House
Confi-Check
Expedia/Hotels.com
Fandango
FTD
Hotwire
InQ
Intelius
MovieTickets.com
Orbitz
Priceline
Redcats USA
Shutterfly
Travelocity
US Airways
Vistaprint

1 to 10 Million Dollars Received
1-800-PetMeds
Adteractiv
Airtran Airways
Alliegiant Air
AllPosters.com
American Greetings
Auto Parts
Avon
Barnes & Noble
Bizrate.com
Bookspan
Boston Apparel Group

BuySeasons/Celebrate
Express
Campusfood.com
Cendant
Channel Advisor
Cheap Tickets
Choice Hotels
CollectionswEtc.com
Continental Airlines
Current USA
123 Prints
Custom Direct
Digital River
Dr. Leonard’s
Drugstore
eHarmony
eTix
eToys
Fareportal
FrangranceNet
From You Flowers
FTD Florists Online
Gamestop
EBgames
Gevalia
Haband
Half.com
Hanover Direct
Hertz
HiSpeed Media
Infinity Resources
J.C. Whitney
Joann.com
Lillian Vernon
Live Nation
Marketworks
Miles Kimball
Musicnotes
MyLife.com
MyPoints
Pizza Hut
Potpourri
Restaurants.com
Riverdeep
Shoebuy
Simplexity
Spirit Airlines
Suresource
Americart
Thompson Group
Tiger Direct
TimeLife
True.com
True Credit
True Link
Upsellit.com
US Search
Victoria’s Secret
Vitacost
WayPort
West
Yahoo

REMEMBER – THIS IS ONLY A PARTIAL LIST. THERE ARE A HUGE NUMBER OF ONLINE RETAILERS WHO PARTICIPATE IN THESE “WEB LOYALTY” ADVERTISING PROGRAMS.