We’ve devoted a fair amount of time to trying to find ways to beat companies like Webloyalty, which market themselves via post-transaction popups on legit Web sites like Fandango and Orbitz, and suck you in with promises of savings, savings, savings, but really just deliver hard-to-cancel recurring monthly charges. The best solution we’ve found: Block pop-ups, boycott merchants that work with these losers, and immediately close any window that starts talking to us about all the great deals we’re about to get. Senator John D. Rockefeller IV has another idea, and it’s one that we like: Investigate the companies and make them hand over the goods on their business practices.
Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, sent a letter to Webloyalty demanding, among other things:
“All documents and communications related to internal discussions regarding internet customers accidentally or unknowingly signing up for an online membership service or discount club offered by Webloyalty, including, but not limited to, documents and communications related to Webloyalty’s efforts to minimize the problem.”
“All communications between Webloyalty and any payment or processing company, bank, credit card company, or debit card company regarding unauthorized charges, including, but not limited to, cardholder complaints or inquiries about unauthorized charges by Webloyalty.”
A similar letter was sent to Vertrue (aka Memberworks).
We’re hoping Rockefeller follows up with subpoenas if the companies stonewall. And we’re really hoping for public hearings (if only so we can actually talk back to the people behind those insanely annoying talking popups). And, ultimately, as Ed Mierzwinski at U.S. PIRG says, “Let’s hope Senator Rockefeller’s investigation leads to more financial privacy reforms, including on the Internet.” Anything less is just talk.
Chairman Rockefeller Launches Investigation Into Deceptive Online “Mystery Charges” [U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation]
Rockefeller moves on click-to-ripoff scams [U.S. PIRG]