Truth be told, I have no idea why I’m about to write this post, other than the fact that it’s in my little writing queue. You can’t fight City Hall. Here’s the deal: the Federal Government of the United States spent a bunch of money investigating various online marketing scams. How they work, what makes people fall for them, etc. Consumers lost some $1.4 billion to such scams.
The problem is that, despite the investigation into several businesses who engaged in these untoward business practices, companies that rely on them—Priceline, Orbitz, and Classmates.com are mentioned—haven’t shown any interest in severing ties.
Let me rephrase that: Sites such as Priceline and Orbitz utiliyze the services of companies like Affinion, Vertrue, and Webloyalty. Its those companies (Affinion on down) that the Federal Government has a problem with.
What problem? Consumers are apparently tricked, in a sense, to sign up for certain programs (loyalty rewards programs, for example). Then “mysterious” charges start appearing on credit cards. Then people get angry: “Hey, I didn’t sign up for this nonsense!” “Oh yes you did. If you check the fine print, you agreed to give us the naming rights of your first-born son.”
An exaggeration, obviously, but that’s the basic give and take of it.
I have no idea how people fall for such things. Like I wrote a little while ago, a little common sense goes a long way when it comes to preventing scams, imagined and otherwise, from ruining your life.