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The Almighty Buck

The Future of Shopping: Trapping You in a Club You Didn't Know You Joined (bloomberg.com) 165

Just a word of caution: the next time you spot a great deal on a shopping portal, you will want to carefully look for all the radio buttons, and tick boxes -- and perhaps also skim through the ToS -- before placing the order. Bloomberg has an in-depth piece on the ordeal of a customer who purchased a lingerie item from an e-commerce website called Adore Me. Little did the customer know that the $19.95 she was spending to purchase a piece of cloth would end up costing her -- partly because of her own ignorance -- more than $300. Adore Me, you see, maintains a subscription model in which it charges users a fee of around $40 a month, even if they don't purchase anything. It might surprise many, but Adore Me isn't the only shopping portal or service that runs this sort of tactic. "It's the new thing," says Francisca Allen, the deputy district attorney of California's Santa Clara County. "There's thousands and thousands of companies that do this." What's more, these companies have made it frustratingly difficult to cancel these subscriptions -- it often requires you to sit through a one-hour call to the customer representative and listening to a bunch of funky songs that you suddenly don't adore as much. Bloomberg reports:Hundreds of customer complaints against Adore Me and other subscription e-commerce businesses are stacking up at the Federal Trade Commission, according to records obtained by Bloomberg. They follow a pattern: Shoppers believe they've been tricked into signing up for recurring credit card charges, often for a relatively small amount that can be easily overlooked in a monthly bill. Then companies make it an exasperating hassle to quit and get a refund.
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The Future of Shopping: Trapping You in a Club You Didn't Know You Joined

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  • Other scams... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 01, 2016 @06:39AM (#52021951)
    Dealdash dot com... charges you $0.60 per automatic bid even if you don't win the auction. The TV ads are highly deceiving. They even have an elaborate troll system to make their reviews look good. Hellcatx... they are running a massive TV ad campaign for a car giveaway that supposedly helps charity. The prises are probably worth 1/100th of the income, and no mention of how much actually goes to charity.
    • About those funky songs, I have only this to say. [fyngyrz.com]

    • CC Dispute (Score:4, Informative)

      by flyingfsck ( 986395 ) on Sunday May 01, 2016 @08:38AM (#52022261)
      The easiest way to reverse it is to call your credit card company and dispute the charges.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Except if you are in Canada and use Mastercard. I was told that, as the card-holder, that I do NOT get to say which charges on the card are valid and which are not. Only Mastercard gets to decide that. If I want to dispute something, then I have to fill out a form and mail or fax (fax?!) it to them. Then they will decide. This is after being their customer for over 30 years and trying to dispute a $25 charge. Fuck them - I didn't pay it and I threw away their card. Weird because the only other time I needed

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Remember the old "The customer is always right"?
          Corporations don't.

      • by guruevi ( 827432 )

        Yep, I once got charged with one of these clubs from a store, just cancelled the entire purchase through my CC company because the original receipt was fraudulent. They get slapped with a nasty charge back fee ($32/charge) and are out of shipping and merchandise. I also stopped purchasing through them.

    • Re:Other scams... (Score:5, Informative)

      by JustBoo ( 4351021 ) on Sunday May 01, 2016 @10:55AM (#52022809)

      Here is THE ANSWER. Use Paypal.

      First, you won't be giving your credit card info to gawd knows who. It can be literally anyone from a group of criminals in Russia to psycho teens in Brazil to douche companies described in the article. If a 'company' does not have the wherewithal and ability to get setup to take Paypal, do you really want to give them your credit card anyway? If they don't take Paypal, I consider the company incompetent or scam artists.

      If you still somehow get on some recurring plan through Paypal, that is registered with Paypal as an actively recurring charge, you can go to Paypal and simply change the status of that account to inactive. Done. Paypal will no longer payout to them.

      I've done this myself with so-called companies that refuse to stop billing me. I check the list at least once a month. it has saved my tones of time and money. Note, I am not affiliated with Paypal in any way and rarely recommend any business. But with online shopping, Paypal has truly worked for me.

      • Re:Other scams... (Score:5, Informative)

        by HiThere ( 15173 ) <charleshixsn@NOSPAM.earthlink.net> on Sunday May 01, 2016 @12:13PM (#52023239)

        Odd comment. Based on prior stories I have included PayPal as one of the scam companies.

        A better answer, though one that's bothersome, is to have a special limited credit card, and use that for web purchases. Many drugstores sell them, and probably many other places do too. But doing it that way is a bother. I've opted for a less secure way...I use two separate banks. One to store money, and one the handle transactions. The credit cards are linked to the one that only hold a small amount of cash at a time, and where I periodically refill the accounts. So you can choose your degree of security by deciding how much cash to hold in your transaction accounts.

        • Random complaints by a few disgruntled users do not automatically make Paypal a "scam". In fact, most of the complaints I have seen are cases where paypal holds money back to prevent possible financial losses. For instance, when Notch started selling Minecraft, paypal temporarily suspended his account because thousands of $10 transactions were suspicious to their heuristics. They didn't keep the money, and soon restored his service.

      • The annoying thing about paypal is that they default to billing your checking account instead of your credit card, and it's impossible to change it without deleting your bank account. The lame thing about deleting your bank account is that if you ever need to receive funds through paypal, they make you go through an aggravating (and sometimes several days long) process to verify your account. I rarely receive funds via paypal by the way, but when you sell on ebay or swappa it's rude to make the buyer wait s

        • There's reasons why I never told PayPal where my checking account is. PayPal already does pretty much what I need it to do without being attached to a bank account.

          • I reached a $10,000 limit in buying through PayPal, and they demanded I link my account to a bank account 'for security'. The argument that "I've spent $10,000 through you over ten years or so without any problem at all, so now it's a security issue?" didn't get around that.

            So now they have a link into an account that has $5 (plus some small amount of interest) in it, and I have to change the payment method each time I buy something (which is pretty simple, not "impossible" as another poster claimed).

            The

        • Can you have two paypal accounts? You could have one for buying stuff and one that is used exclusively for receiving payments.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 01, 2016 @06:42AM (#52021959)

    ...telling us that it's "your own fault for not reading the smallprint", even though

    1) Capitalism is philosophically based upon perfectly informed rational consumers, which these guys aren't, by definition;

    2) It's made deliberately hard, but not impossible, to cancel, by the company purely being a bunch of shitlords without necessarily technically breaking any law (not everything can be reduced to clear rules);

    3) Society gains no benefit from protecting a ridiculous contract, so it would be irrational to do so.

    • by Archtech ( 159117 ) on Sunday May 01, 2016 @07:33AM (#52022069)

      Capitalism is philosophically based upon perfectly informed rational consumers, which these guys aren't, by definition

      There is, in fact, no such thing as a perfectly informed rational customer, there never has been and there never will be. Those two "simplifying" assumptions are typical of the fundamental defects that render economics almost worthless in its present form. Of course economists like simplifying assumptions, because otherwise their field would be far too complicated to make any sense out of. Unfortunately the assumptions mean that the resulting rules and laws apply only in an abstract world which hardly bears any resemblance to the real world we live in.

      1. "Perfectly informed". Even in the simplest possible model of a market, a village produce market where fruit and vegetables are being sold from a collection of stalls, perfect information is far from guaranteed. Who knows what Fred has been spraying on his pumpkins? And have those delicious-looking peaches been previously frozen, transported, and defrosted? Usually the vendors will know, and maybe a few others - but then it is in the interest of the vendors to keep the information secret, even at the cost of a bribe or quid pro quo favour. Thus the concealment of important product information actually becomes part of the market, with its own price. Consider now a more sophisticated, "evolved" market such as the electronic stock exchanges where corporations will pay huge sums of money to have their servers a few feet closer to the exchange's own servers. That may give them a few nanoseconds' head start, which may be enough to make the difference between winning billions and losing billions. Again, we see payments (this time, very large ones) being made precisely to prevent information being perfectly shared. And the pattern is repeated everywhere.

      2. "Rational customers". This one departs even further from reality and common sense. If you think about it for five minutes, you will see that the very concept of a "rational customer" is wholly artificial and almost meaningless in relation to the real world. We are all rational, more or less by definition, as a function of being human. But what does that really mean? I think you'll agree that virtually all humans use reason (facts and logic) as a tool when they need to, never as a way of deciding what it is they want. To suggest that all customers can be "rational" is, in effect, to make the ridiculous assumption that they are wholly focused all of the time on making financial gains! It would be more realistic to say that a rational person is one who devotes as little time, effort and attention to economic necessaities as possible, the better to enjoy the good things of life - which are NOT money (as such) or buying and selling. It is true, to some extent, that those who do best at the economic "game" are those who focus on it most unremittingly - spending almost all their waking time in business activities and reckoning their success in life solely by their net worth. For such people, the Bible has a warning.

      "And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God". (Luke 12:16-21) http://biblehub.com/kjv/luke/1... [biblehub.com]

      • by l0n3s0m3phr34k ( 2613107 ) on Sunday May 01, 2016 @09:30AM (#52022473)
        If people actually fit their ideal of "rational customers", then ideas like "buyer's remorse", "Post-purchase rationalization", "Winner's curse", etc. The fact that these terms exist show that no consumer (or human, assuming all humans are consumers) are ever 100% "rational" when it comes to the "market" and purchasing. If we were, the "impulse buy" area next to the check-outs wouldn't exist.

        Taking this a step further, it also shows that the idea of the perfect "free market" is a false idea as well, since it requires a 100% rational customer 100% of the time. It also infers no marketing or product trickery, which is also obviously never going to happen. The only way THAT could happen was if somehow a new "market" that somehow intrinsically required complete transparency appeared...and all sellers involved had to "start over" so no current brands or corps could participate. Honestly, the original Silk Road was probably one of the closest manifestations of this we've seen in recent history.
      • by complete loony ( 663508 ) <Jeremy,Lakeman&gmail,com> on Sunday May 01, 2016 @10:17AM (#52022663)

        One of the cleverest features of the rational expectations revolution was the appropriation of the term "rational." Thereby, the opponents of this approach were forced into the defensive position of either being irrational or of modeling others as irrational, neither of which are comfortable positions for most economists. (Barro 1984)
        I suggest that critics instead adopt the attacking position of describing this concept (the capacity to foretell the whole future of the economy) as a dictionary would, as "Prophetic Expectations".

        The Dodgy Dynamics of Economics [squarespace.com]

        The rest of that paper focuses on demolishing the whole concept.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Those two "simplifying" assumptions are typical of the fundamental defects that render economics almost worthless in its present form

        Populist!!

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        There is, in fact, no such thing as a perfectly informed rational customer, there never has been and there never will be. Those two "simplifying" assumptions are typical of the fundamental defects that render economics almost worthless in its present form. Of course economists like simplifying assumptions, because otherwise their field would be far too complicated to make any sense out of. Unfortunately the assumptions mean that the resulting rules and laws apply only in an abstract world which hardly bears any resemblance to the real world we live in.

        It's a simplification like a CPU taking one instruction after another, you don't start them off on a superpipelined hyperthreaded prefetching NUMA heterogeneous cluster and try to explain that.

        1. "Perfectly informed"

        Marketing theory has a ton of information on imperfect information, including perceived quality, substitution variables, effects of brand and reputation, behavior under uncertainty, unbalanced information like switching costs, speed of adoption from trendsetters to followers to holdouts and so on. It just so happens t

      • A customer won't normally have perfect information about the merchandise, but that's not what we're talking about. If the customer doesn't have perfect information on the deal, then there is no meeting of the minds and hence no agreement and (theoretically anyway) no binding contract.

    • This is really strange that such things are legal in the US.

      • by mysidia ( 191772 )

        Who says they are legal? It's a probable violation of the FTC act. I think they're playing the game that the specific practice/scam is relatively new with this medium (Partly, because they need to see how the law applies to this new scam, possibly against false contentions by vendors that they are all legal), and vendors hoping to make off with a quick illicit buck, and be half across the world with a few hundred million$$, because the government sometimes moves slowly to enforce the law on these types

    • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> on Sunday May 01, 2016 @10:46AM (#52022763) Journal

      Oh, fuck off. Libertarians don't support deceptive business practices.

      -jcr

      • by HiThere ( 15173 ) <charleshixsn@NOSPAM.earthlink.net> on Sunday May 01, 2016 @12:30PM (#52023319)

        No. libertarians don't support deceptive business practices. Libertarians do support deceptive business practices in that they are opposed to all means possible for impeding them. (And while libertarians [lower case "l"] don't support deceptive business practices, they are incoherent about how they should be stopped.)

        To say that you are opposed to something while at the same time being explicitly against all possible means of opposing it gives the lie to your original claim...or shows that you are incoherent.

        • Really, this gets '5 Insightful'?

          Libertarians do support deceptive business practices in that they are opposed to all means possible for impeding them. (And while libertarians [lower case "l"] don't support deceptive business practices, they are incoherent about how they should be stopped.)

          Okay, given that you did make a difference between the fundy Libertarians and the more moderate libertarians, of which I'm the latter, I'll give you the small-l answer: You don't get rid of the courts or all the police. You show a court(small claims, most likely) that they deceived you and charged you without authorization, and the court rakes them over the coals.

          Done.

          libertarians aren't anarchists, though some of the Big-L types seem to be more Anarchists trying to rebran

          • So what's the keep the courts & the police from being captured & corrupted? To quote the Non-Libertarian FAQ [raikoth.net] ,

            As far as I know there is no loophole-free way to protect a community against externalities besides government and things that are functionally identical to it.

            • So what's the keep the courts & the police from being captured & corrupted? To quote the Non-Libertarian FAQ [raikoth.net] ,

              What's keeping them from being captured & corrupted now?

              Also, I'm not seeing the connection between your question and what you quoted. That being said, keep in mind that I'm explicitly a moderate libertarian. By no means am I for getting rid of ALL government. I'm for some pretty extreme reforms in some ways, but not getting rid of all government.

              As such, I agree with the statement you quote. Matter of fact, the Non-Libertarian FAQ has my type in there:

              To many people, libertarianism is a reaction against an over-regulated society, and an attempt to spread the word that some seemingly intractable problems can be solved by a hands-off approach. Many libertarians have made excellent arguments for why certain libertarian policies are the best options, and I agree with many of them. I think this kind of libertarianism is a valuable strain of political thought that deserves more attention, and I have no quarrel whatsoever with it and find myself leaning more and more in that direction myself.

              This is me.

        • by jcr ( 53032 )

          Libertarians do support deceptive business practices in that they are opposed to all means possible for impeding them.

          How sad that a bootlicker like you can't imagine anything better than the status quo to regulate deception in the market. Tell me, how good a job did the SEC do in protecting people from Bernie Madoff?

          -jcr

        • There's lots of libertarians out there with different beliefs. It's not like you have to pass a government-imposed orthodoxy exam to call yourself a libertarian. If you talk to libertarians and they disagree with each other, they're not incoherent as much as disagreeing with each other, and some are indeed unrealistic.

          Many libertarians have hopelessly idealistic ideas about how business would work in the absence of regulation, but there are other people with hopelessly idealistic or ideological ideas.

      • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Sunday May 01, 2016 @01:25PM (#52023543) Homepage Journal

        Nor do they support any practical way to put a stop to them.

    • by jdavidb ( 449077 )
      Okay, I'm a libertarian fucktard, and that's not my position at all. My position is that you can have whatever goofball contract you want, but the rest of us shouldn't have to bear the cost of enforcing it. That actually makes a lot of contracts blissfully unenforceable. :)
  • Isn't it a variation of the Columbia House type of shyst?

    • by cellocgw ( 617879 ) <cellocgw@ g m a i l . c om> on Sunday May 01, 2016 @06:53AM (#52021981) Journal

      Sounds like it to me. And at least back in those days, you could return anything you didn't want for free. But the LP/CD clubs didn't charge a monthly fee for belonging, which I think is the new twist here.

      Personally, I'd send a return-receipt registered letter telling them you ain't a member any more, and use that when it gets to lawsuit or debt-collection time.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Isn't it a variation of the Columbia House type of shyst?

      No, because:

      1) In this case, the consumer is tricked. They are led to believe that they are making a 1-time purchase, not signing up for a subscription
      2) With Columbia House, any reasonable person could see that it was a subscription service, just from the initial price alone (10 CDs for a penny). Columbia House marketing materials were pretty clear about the expectations (must purchase ## CDs in YY amount of time, at ZZ retail price).

      Also, Amazon is pretty bad with this to (sneaky tricks to enroll you in

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      I love the Archer running joke on this...

      Columbia house is a bit different because they did not take you money before the fact. Columbia house had to invest in resources to get customers to pay. Most did not give a credit card that would be billed every month.

      This is more akin to the health club model, where you sign up, give a credit card, and are obligated to make payments for the rest of your life. This is where I find the flaw to be in these enterprises. Not that you are signing up to make payme

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's telling when someone brings up Columbia House as a scam. I belonged for about 5 years to both Columbia House and BMG and never felt scammed. It wasn't cheap but it wasn't more expensive than the local music shops. And the fucks out there who felt that it sucked because they actually had to (GASP!) open their mail and reply in a timely fashion were just assholes who shouldn't have been trusted with just about anything.

      Lazy fucktards blaming the companies they do business with are real bitches and they s

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      Yes but worse. The Columbia price of $0.01 for 10 was a huge red flag. The AdoreMe prices are not that obviously too good to be true.

      Columbia at least gave you something for the additional charges. (Apparently AdoreMe gives store credit now, but didn't at first).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Adore Me Prime

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 01, 2016 @07:00AM (#52022001)

    It is shit like this that makes me glad I use disposable credit card numbers for every single online purchase. In 15 years, I've never had a case of fraud or any other problem. But they have saved my butt a bunch of times. My bank emails me for every rejected authorization so I've seen every time some lowlife 'merchant' tried to charge me without my consent. Most recently Angie's List was trying nearly every day for about two months to "renew" a subscription.

    If you have a Bank of America or Citibank credit card account then you already have access to disposable numbers. There are other smaller banks (especially outside of the US) who support disposable numbers too.

    • I don't use disposable credit cards, but for some things (like web purchases) I use one that I could shutter at short notice, still leaving me with others.

      However I have never had to do that, although I have come close to it. The consumer protection laws in the UK are stronger than those in the Land-of-the-Free-to-Con-Who-you-Want, it seems.
    • by ak8b ( 798032 )
      I do the same thing - especially with someone I haven't dealt with before. Citibank also lets you set up one with time and/or dollar limits so you can use it for recurring monthly charges. The only downside to that is you have to remember to extend it when the time comes.
    • You don't need a disposable. You can just block a transaction on your CC. Literally 5 min email. I had a random 5 dollar charge that hit my CC. Took a while to figure out who it was and probably spent 30 minutes trying to unsubscribe. Couldn't, 3 sentences later had the last 3 months charges reversed. Showed up again 2 months later. Emailed the CC company and they blocked the charger. Nothing since.

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      If you agree to make payments, then you are liable for those payments. The issue here is if the firm is sufficiently disclosing the fact that it is a subscription service with recurring monthly fees, and if it is sufficiently disclosing how to cancel. Any credit card charge can be disputed, and if the firm is in fact collecting without disclosure the charge will be revoked. Likewise if you make an agreement to pay then pay using credentials you know will expire, that is similar to writing a bad check.

      The

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      AMEX used to offer disposable numbers (Amex Private Payments), but for some reason, discontinued them several years ago,

      I wish they still did offer them.

  • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Sunday May 01, 2016 @07:19AM (#52022021)

    (PT Barnum) "Wow. Never thought the family business would still be thriving well today."

    (CEO of Murphy's Law and and Practice) "No shit, Sherlock."

    (Sherlock) "Oh piss off, Murphy. Even Watson wouldn't fall for this."

    (Watson) "Hey guys, check this out! I just bought 10 CD's for a penny!

  • Reverse the charge (Score:5, Informative)

    by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Sunday May 01, 2016 @07:21AM (#52022025) Journal

    The moment you see the charge hit your bill you contact your credit card company and have them do a chargeback. Tell them you've been trying to cancel with this company who refuses to honor your request and these are fraudulent charges.

    The credit card company will remove the charge from your bill then attempt to collect from the other company.

    Rinse and repeat each month.

    http://www.geeksonfinance.com/... [geeksonfinance.com]

    • by chepati ( 220147 ) on Sunday May 01, 2016 @08:01AM (#52022149)

      DON'T DO THIS ON A REGULAR BASIS!!! This will negatively affect your credit score and will cost you much more than some paltry couple hundred bucks in comparison in the long run.

      I never thought I'd say this, but there is safety in shopping at big chains (Wallmart, Amazon, etc) -- they get much heavier scrutiny and can't get away with sleazy business practices for long. They are regulated, they have to report their finances, etc. On the other hand, small operations run from a garage in a third-world place, don't have to abide by the same laws so the only buffer between you and them is your credit card company. The CC company *will* protect you, but if you fall into the category of a habitual scam victim, you'll be flagged as a high-risk customer and your credit score will take a beating.

      Speaking of sleazy companies, I was almost scammed by a VPN company advertised here on ./ -- they had a "lifetime" membership that looked too good to be true. I did my due diligence and contacted the company to get assurance that "lifetime" meant forever. At that point I went in and got the promotional 3 day trial and both the service and customer support were pretty good, so I ended up contacting them again and getting the lifetime package. First they sent me a paypal invoice for a recurring payment type of service. That should have been the red flag, but like most people, even those who believe can spot a scam a mile away, I got greedy and ignored my gut feeling that things that are too good to be true, are never truly good. After getting reassured that the recurring payments invoice was a clerical error, I proceeded to pay via paypal. At this point I saw that the paypal payment was actually a recurring payment service. Long story short, I kept contacting their Tech Support department every day for a week and getting the run arounds, until I decided that enough was enough and opened a charge dispute with paypal. A day later I got a vindictive letter from the VPN company telling me that now that I had opened a dispute with Paypal, they will await Paypal's decision and if the case was decided in their favor, they would neither issue a refund, nor provide service to me. It was so childish that I could not stop laughing. However, minutes later I got another email that the VPN company had decided to refund the full amount on an exceptional basis.

      So the moral of the story -- stay away from questionable internet outfits. And keep one thing in mind -- no matter how smart you believe yourself to be and how discerning and cautious, there are people out there who spend the time and effort to hone their con artistry skills so well that you won't realized you were had until you've parted ways with your money. If it's too good a deal, it's a scam.

      Also, try to put a a few buffers between you and questionable merchants. In my case, I deliberately chose to pay via PayPal, because I knew they have a good dispute process and because my instinct told me I may have to come to rely on it. I was right. My absolutely last resort would have been my credit card issuing bank.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I would think that it would affect the credit score of the merchant.

        If it affects your credit score, then something is very wrong with the credit score system.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I would think that it would affect the credit score of the merchant.

          If it affects your credit score, then something is very wrong with the credit score system.

          You are correct. Something is very wrong with the credit score system.

      • by JimMcc ( 31079 )

        Another moral to this story is don't by anything advertised on /. I've looked at a couple of the offers and researched the feedback on the companies. They had horrible feedback. So has /. become the haven of scammers and garbage merchants?

      • by GTRacer ( 234395 )

        I deliberately chose to pay via PayPal, because I knew they have a good dispute process[...]

        Hahahahahahahaaaaa! I'm glad they've been good to you, but they refused to refund me when I purchased a used Galaxy Note 3 with "clean IMEI". Phone worked fine for about a month then stopped. Turns out someone got it from TMobile on installment and walked away from the payments (presumably got it using fraudulent paperwork/payment then sold it to a "refurbisher" to launder it).

        Here's the rub - CheckMend NEVER sh

      • by guruevi ( 827432 )

        It doesn't affect your credit score at all to cancel a purchase especially a fraudulent one. It's an excellent threat even for big chains to get customer service. What would cause your credit score to go haywire is if you fraudulently claim to be the victim and then refuse to pay for the services provided.

      • What VPN company was it? I think I saw the same deal and also thought "this is too good to be true" and signed up for ProXPN lifetime.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        > can't get away with sleazy business practices for long

        Clearly you've never heard of Paypal

  • by ebonum ( 830686 ) on Sunday May 01, 2016 @07:31AM (#52022061)

    One call to the credit card company and all will be fixed.
    I think most people will be pleased to find how easy it is to get their credit card company to reject all new charges from a online vendor plus credit you back for whatever was taken.
    Plus, when Mastercard or Visa see a lot of problems with a vendor, MC and Visa will cut them off. Or make it more expensive/difficult for the bad company to operate.

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )

      Exactly. Just dispute the charge, the company won't fight it.

      And file a complaint against the bad company.

    • Credit card companies are extremely lenient when it comes to subscriptions. I guess they receive way more complaints from people whose subscriptions were canceled because they forgot to update their credit card info (with a replacement for a lost/stolen or expired card), than they do from people who have illegitimate subscription charges placed on their card.

      I once lost my credit card and canceled it. They sent me a new card. A month later a mysterious charge appeared on my new card. When I investiga
  • This buy wants to fight it at the designer level, but seems to be a dead end. As no one is listening http://darkpatterns.org/ [darkpatterns.org]
  • Sounds like Amazon Prime.

    • Dunno. I got a 6 month free trial for prime with a .edu email address. One click and it was discontinued....

    • by mlts ( 1038732 )

      The thing about Amazon, Apple, Google, and Netflix's services is that they can be cancelled with a mouse click. In fact, it sounds odd, but it helps their customer sat, because if people find it easy to leave, they will be far more likely to come back. This is in stark contract to companies that would require you to call a special number and fight it out with some offshore rep to cancel the card. Having to sit on the telephone for hours on end virtually -guarantees- someone who leaves is not coming back,

  • Take a look at the Adore Me site. It advertises "advantages of membership" right on the first page, making the subscription model as obvious as Columbia House.

    • Take a look at the Adore Me site. It advertises "advantages of membership" right on the first page, making the subscription model as obvious as Columbia House.

      Yeah, and if you'd read TFA, you'd also know that only recently has the company changed its website extensively to emphasize that fact, after a flood of consumer complaints and the potential for state attorneys general to get involved.

      Nice pun, anyway.

  • I reported bogus magazine subscription to my credit union (Stanford) so they canceled my credit card without telling me. So then I'm finding many bills I want to pay are not being paid.

  • Unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts are all things companies are not allowed to do. They can be charged for doing this and should be.

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Sunday May 01, 2016 @01:05PM (#52023457)

    Bank of America offers ShopSafe [bankofamerica.com] (perhaps others offer something similar) that allows one to create a virtual CC (with unique number and CSC) associated with your real CC. You can set the dollar and expiration limits on the vCC and only the first vendor that charges to it is allow to make subsequent changes. You can even manually close the card before is expires. When I shop at a new online store, especially for a one-time purchase, I do this. Vendors can't make recurring charges to a closed CC.

  • Negative option exists in varying degrees of 'scammy'.
    When I was a kid, my friends and I would join Columbia House or BMG, get our 12-for-a-penny, buy four more, cancel, rinse, repeat.
    We were high-school kids and we knew the 'negative option' part of it was BS. But the 16 for the cost of 4 was a good deal.

    It was a good deal for the record company, too. The albums we received were 'special' labeled ones--it was obvious they were not the same as you'd get off the shelves at a record store. Our theory was t

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