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.
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.
Thanks to the TWiT folks for bringing this to light.