Say it isn’t so!

 

Did you all catch the TWiT (This Week In Tech) episode # 222  last week? I was floored by the discussion of “Web Loyalty Ripoffs”. Leo Laporte, the host, was also shocked to find that Buy.com (a site that up until now I regularly used) was one of the companies involved in these apparently shady deals.

In a nutshell, many online companies (or companies with an online presence) have been selling credit card information to “web loyalty” companies like Affinion, Vertrue and Web Loyalty. These companies often employ tactics to get a customer of their “partner” companies to simply click on a link or provide their email address which, according to the purchasing agreement, can be used as authorization for recurring charges. Approximately 90% of American customers do not realize that they are being charged the usually nominal fee (often ranging from $2 to $15) per month.

As an affirmed capitalist and freedom loving fellow I am not calling for regulations or government oversite. I am going to do what millions of others are going to do: Stop making purchases with companies that do business with the three “web loyalty” companies mentioned earlier. If you do continue doing business then be careful what you click and once, just once, read the vendor’s Privacy Policy.

Please listen to the TWiT episode 222 to hear Leo and John and Becky eviscerate these companies. Here is a partial list of companies who have been said to sell customers’ credit card info. Gratefully (for me, anyway) Amazon is NOT on this list. You can see a more exhaustive list on on the Consumerist website.

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

Thanks to the TWiT folks for bringing this to light.