Gamefly’s Post-Sale Coupon Cruft

Reader Greg B. writes:

Wanted to point out a bad experience I had yesterday with the Gamefly deal; [A sale we had linked to - Ed.] not the deal itself but a link they post after it which harvests all of your personal info from Gamefly (including credit card details I think) by simply submitting any e-mail address. You do get a 10 buck coupon but ugh man, I promise you my mailbox is going to be friggen’ overflowing with junk next month – this site was all sorts of sketch.

I’ll append my rather idiotic rant to them after the ordeal, which goes into a little bit more detail. Yeah I was a bit of a dumbass filling out that e-mail address, but I wish I had a screen grab of that page; it really looks like you’re not commiting to anything by entering a j.random@foobar.com address.

Greg’s angry email to Gamefly after the jump.

Hello all,

I want to register a pretty stern complaint.

I just finished purchasing two used games on your site, upon receipt of your first game I followed the ‘click here for a ten dollar discount on your next purchase!’ link out of curiosity. I was met with a whole hell of a bunch of jargon and I immediately became suspicious. It ranked on par with those seedy ‘GET A FREE PS3/PS4′ advertisements you see sprinkled around small cheap-ass websites. I was a good deal surprised that Gamefly was using such an advertising venue.

Still, I do what I normally do, which is play the ‘what do the really want game’ which involves plugging in a bogus e-mail address and seeing what other information the site will try and grab from you before it offers up the goods. Surely there is nothing binding with entering a bogus e-mail address, right?

Wrong. I enter a completely fictitious e-mail address and to my surprise the next screen comes up with my ten dollar coupon (nice, I think) and… all of my private information including my home address!

WHAT THE HELL? How did they get that? I’m extraordinarily cautious with my personal information and if I read this page correctly they have everything; possibly even my credit card info. I’m absolutely horrified – yeah the front page mentioned something about my personal details but it didn’t say anything that it was going to automatically harvest it when you enter a friggen’ e-mail address. If it did it must have been buried in some obscure legal jargon written in 6 point font. My knee jerk reaction was to close the window, as if I just got a virus or something.

So I make another purchase, use the coupon, half for the ten bucks off and half just to see if the thing is legit. The link is still there, but it leads me to a completely bogus 20 dollar off a rental car coupon site whose base URL doesn’t really point to anything related. I now can’t even go back to the original site and see what I’ve just been conned on.

Of course they got my information from Gamefly. Hey, I’m sure that your privacy policy allows to pass my info on with consent but this instance is both disengenious and absurd. As a result, you’ve lost a great amount of credibility to me; it’s like going to Fry’s Electronics to buy something and being forced to take a tour through their neighboring brothel after check-out. It’s sleezy, it’s bad business, and you’re going to lose me and a friend or two I convinced to sign up because of it.

So A) I’d like an explanation, preferably in something that isn’t full of lawyerese. Basically, why is Gamefly allowing vendors to do such dubious advertising on its site? Why is it passing personal info to these advertisers in what is quite obviously a terribly misleading digital signature contract (if that contract even exists)?

B) If at all possible (I’m assuming not) I’d like you to get all traces of me off that advertiser’s database[s]. They/You can have their/your dirty little 10 dollar coupon back.

C) I want a valid URL of this advertising company; something where I can reread that initial page in it’s original entirety.

That I have to author this to you on Christmas day is even more of an aggravation. A quick response would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely, Greg B