Watch Out For Webloyalty and Reservation Rewards

Entering your email address for a $10 cash-back offer on Fandango will sign you up for a $10 a month subscription to something called “Reservation Rewards” from a company called Webloyalty. Boy, NYT reporters sure are gullible lately. Anyhow:

I could picture my husband buying tickets online. I could imagine one of those annoying direct-marketing offers popping up. I could even picture him clicking on it. But I couldn’t see him entering a credit card to subscribe.

It turned out he didn’t have to. Tempted by a $10 cash-back award offer (“Good for your next Fandango purchase!”), he had typed in his e-mail address.

Unfortunately, he skipped over the fine print: “By entering my e-mail address as my electronic signature and clicking yes, I authorize Fandango to securely transfer my name, address and credit or debit card information to Reservation Rewards for billing and benefit processing.”

“Cancel it,” I said to the representative.

“I’ll also refund the $10 charge,” she said.

The next day, it got worse. That was when my husband received an e-mail message telling him that he had been a Reservation Rewards member since November 2005.

He phoned from his office to read the message: “We have issued a refund of $160.”

There’s currently a class action lawsuit against Webloyalty, according to the article. Our advice?

Read everything you input personal information into. Oh, yeah, and check your credit card statements every month . In fact, why not check your statement for “Reservation Rewards” right now.

It looks like this:
WLI*RESERVATIONREWARDS.CO. If you don’t want it, call and get your refund. Then tell us about it in the comments or at tips [at] consumerist [dot] com.—MEGHANN MARCO

Who Charged This? You, That’s Who. [NYT] (Thanks, James!)

Comments

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  1. ptkdude says:

    Now that Comcast owns Fandango this kind of crap is only going to get worse!

  2. dbeahn says:

    Now I know to never use Fandango, ever.

  3. Pfluffy says:

    I was tricked too. I thought I was savy enough to make a purchase on the ‘net. The site said, “Click Here if you would like a $10 discount. I did click and almost immediately caught the $10/month membership deal. Not only did I have to send them a snail mail letter with delievery confirmation to cancel the membership, which they ignored, they also tried to hook me again when I called the obscure telephone number included in my “Congratulations on your membership” email AFTER I already cancelled. So I’ve cancelled in writing and over the phone. I did get an email confirming my cancellation after the phone call, but who knows? I’ll be carefully examining my CC statements.

    They are shady people in my book.

  4. kerry says:

    What service does this company even pretend to offer? It looks like a scam to charge people $10 a month for nothing. How is it not totally illegal?

  5. SOhp101 says:

    Wow, sounds just like some agreement on some porn site… “sign up for our site for only $1 a month! In addition to your membership, we’ll sign you up for four different websites that will cost you $9.95 each month until you ask us to cancel, but even then you’ll have to ask us maybe four, five, or even six times!”

    I don’t get why people would use those online ticket sites anyway, I prefer just looking up times ahead and then buying tickets in person so I can get a student discount AND not pay for some ridiculous ‘convenience charge.’

    Too ‘old’ to get a student discount? Just go apply at a local community college, get an ID and then you’re set. You get a free drink at Chipotle too.

  6. Karl says:

    My girlfriend got hit with this a few years ago. If I remember correctly, they hid the fact that you were signing up for something. They had a large ad saying something like, “SAVE $10 NEXT TIME! CLICK FOR DETAILS!” When you clicked, they automatically sent your credit card information to Reservation Rewards.

    Needless to say, we’ve never purchased anything from Fandango since.

  7. Shea says:

    I responded to a blurb on Orbitz about receiving 10% back if I signed up for a similar service called “My Great Fun.” That would equal $75, so I signed up two months ago. This article reminded me about it, so I called and got a call center employee from India.

    She said that they had sent a rebate form to my PO Box, but it had never came. Right now they’re resending it and giving me a month before they start the monthly charge.

    Has anyone else tried this? Maybe it’s headed the way of a class action lawsuit.

  8. e10 says:

    Living in New York, I always purchase tickets in advance either over the phone or on the computer so I don’t have to deal with the typical lines at every movie theatre. If you normally have to show up 30 minutes early just for a good seat at a new release you better get there even earlier to get in the ticket line.

  9. The Bigger Unit says:

    The beauty of being poor is you notice charges like this almost immediately, not 16 months after the fact!

    I got suckered into one of these deals once…to the tune of $99 bucks. Don’t recall ever acknowledging anything on the website saying I would want travel protection (for the two times a year I fly), so I wrote some letters and got my money back. You really have to go over your orders with a fine-toothed comb; the site that “got” me was reputable in my mind! Hope it was worth it to them…I haven’t shopped there since, nor will I ever again.

  10. indianaguy says:

    you have to read read read.

    yeah the big bad company trying to take our money, but also the big stupid consumer signing up for stuff without reading.

  11. formergr says:

    @SOhp101: The online ticket sites can save you waiting in a long line for tickets when you live in a big city, and get you in to a popular new release without either going to the matinee or getting to the theater like 8 hours before showtime.

  12. bostonmike says:

    I don’t know what large merchants like Fandango are thinking when they sign up with webloyalty, but I know that many small merchants can end up signed up with webloyalty through their shopping cart provider. The merchant doesn’t see how the program actually goes awry, gets assured that it’s good for their customers and that nobody is ever tricked or misled, and gets offered 10 cents for each customer who is subjected to a sales pitch (and nothing extra for customers signing up). It all looks pretty harmless until you start seeing coverage like this. I’m glad my company opted out before this “feature” went live on our shopping cart service.

  13. Imhotep says:

    I’ve been seeing a lot of B.S. like this from sites that offer $10 off your next purchase, only to sign you up for their $10 per month subscription. Total scams… be vigilant. Be very, very vigilant.

  14. squikysquiken says:

    I got taken by those thieves for a 1-800-flowers.com purchase. I just clicked somewhere to get my $10 coupon and after being faced with a lengthy chunk of legalese and some more personal info to fill, I just closed my browser and forgot.

    Fast foward 4 months later, where I suddenly notice that line on my credit card bill. I call the number and they gleefully inform me that someone must have authorized the purchase. After threatening them with filing a billing dispute (I had no recollection of authorizing anything), they cancel and promise to refund my $10. I never saw those $10 back.. or the $30 they took in the previous 3 months. But they did stop charging me.

    I emailed 1-800-flowers but that went no where (no even some generic reply) and haven’t done business with any company that displays a Resevation Rewards banner since then. I’m even more irked that they charged me even though I didn’t complete what was required to get my coupon.

    This is one place where one-time merchant specific credit card numbers are very useful.

  15. oana says:

    Also beware the nice checks you get in the mail from places like Budget. One recent check that arrived seems to be a courtesy check for some low amount, like $2, but the fine print available on the back informs you that by cashing the check you get a subscription to a service for the low, low price of $99 a year! Automatic renewal, of course…and IIRC, the amount went UP after the first year…

  16. unwritten07 says:

    @kerry: It looks like they claim to save you money?

    http://www.webloyalty.com/our-approach/reservation-rewards

    I looked through these “valuable benefits” and there is nothing you couldn’t Google for yourself.

  17. simian-fever says:

    I know people who had/have worked for the company and I had actually interviewed for a manager position in their call center several years ago. Very professional offices, however all the call center handles are irate calls from people who didn’t realize they had signed up for the service, although the person I interviewed with did acknowledge this immediately. Didn’t try to sugarcoat the job at all. Needless to say the amount of escalated calls and higher than normal turnover you would have to handle as a supervisor didn’t seem worth it.

  18. nullset says:

    Things like this are why I use “shopsafe” credit card numbers online. MBNA lets me generate temporary CC#s with limits that I set. It’s great for online things that want to rebill

  19. ShreelaAgenor says:

    I also got scammed by this. I purchased pet medicine from PetChoiceOnline and was charged 12.00 for a membership at Shoppers Discount. I called the number from my CC bill and the cancelled the membership. I would like to get my 12.00 back, any advise? How should I call? Or should I ask my CC to handle it?

  20. du2vye says:

    They are still at it. There are some big retailers involved. Amazon, WalMart, FTD, Moviephone, Buy, Ebay and I have no idea yet where my charge came from. The account they tapped into was not a general account, but one used for specific purposes and it’s never been used online – But has on PayPal account linked to it as reference – but not authorized for charges (that’s in agreement with PayPal, I think). There was no way a coupon was clinked for a discount, even if it had been legit. They charged to an unauthorized account.

    Creeps will always be around trying to make a buck for nothing. But it seems webloyalty has increased their presence with larger retailers over the last year. They are the ones that need to realize people are blaming them, not shoppers discount.

  21. paheather says:

    I just noticed that Reservation Rewards has been charging $12 per month on my credit card for the last 8 months! I never intended to give this company my credit card information and/or sign up for any of their services. It’s a perfect mouse trap! They draw you in with the promise of $10 back after you buy movie tickets. Then, by submitting your e-mail address your credit card information is passed along and you are automatically signed up for a “rewards service”. I called their customer service representative and they issued me 2 months refund right away. To get a full refund I have to fill out a form. What makes this company think I want to give them any more of my information? I have very little consumer confidence in online vendors and will NOT be using fandango.com to purchase my movie tickets ever again. The worst part is that I’m not the only victim of this company’s scam. There are countless others who wake up, check their credit card statement and realize that there has been a big misunderstanding!

    The lessons I’ve learned:
    -Never give anyone your information without reading the fine print.
    -Check your credit card statements
    -Check your SPAM filter for e-mails that say you’ve been signed up for services.

    I’ll update this post with the outcome of my refund.