88 websites, a good number pretty big name sites, that earned millions, some in excess of $10 million, as partners in the infamous Webloyalty consumer ripoff. Pizza Hut? Say it ain’t so.
Webloyalty is that annoying thing that pops up when you buy movie tickets that says you can get $10 off your next purchase just by entering your email address. By clicking yes, you actually give permission for the website you’re on to pass your credit card information on to Webloyalty, and they start billing you $9 a month for a useless “discount buyers club” and the rebate is hardly ever paid.
The info below comes from a report Sentator Rockefeller released in advance of the hearing he’s convening today to investigate aggressive online sales tactics.
In a statement, he said, “”After six months, this Committee has found that the companies we are investigating have figured out very clever ways to manipulate consumers’ buying habits so they can make a quick buck. American consumers have been complaining for years about these misleading practices and asking for answers ï¿½ and rightly so,” said Chairman Rockefeller. “Millions of Americans are getting hit with these mystery charges every month ï¿½ we have to do all we can to protect the hard working families relying on us to look out for their wallets and well-being”
PARTNERS PAID OVER $10 MILLION
PARTNERS PAID BETWEEN $1-10 MILLION
Barnes & Noble
Boston Apparel Group
Cendant Intercompany Agreements
Currents USA (123 Prints)
From You Flowers
FTD Florists Online
True Credit (True Link)
Even though there are disclaimers and disclosures displayed on the websites before you click yes, most people think they are clicking for a free movie ticket or some such deal. Most people are trained that if you’re going to make a purchase online, you have to enter a credit card. They don’t expect this information pass on. Webloyalty knows what the average user does, and deliberately does the opposite, to great profit for it and its partners.
If you do find Webloyalty charging you on your credit card, it’s pretty easy to call them up and ask them to refund all the charges.
One way to avoid getting ripped off like this when shopping online is to use a credit card that lets you use virtual or disposable account numbers, which are credit card numbers that are generated on-demand and can be used only once but they charge to your regular account.