Pizza Hut Forces You To Opt-In To Spam Marketing When Ordering Online

When you place an order on Pizza Hut’s website, you have to create an account, and to create an account, you have to check the box that says you agree to their privacy policy and terms of use. It also says, “I agree to receive information about Pizza Hut®/WingStreet® couons, promotions, announcements, events and specials.” This e-commerce blogger is amazed that Pizza Hut would resort to such a sneaky tactic, which ultimately ruins the customer experience and probably costs them online orders.

Here are the two biggest problems Tim sees with Pizza Hut’s “no choice” strategy:

First, it completely eliminated all of the value mentioned above that could have been created by an online order. Since we called in [and abandoned our online order], conversion costs increased, Pizza Hut will never have the opportunity to add our email address to their marketing lists (via a check or a non-uncheck), they will never have the chance to up sell or cross sell to us in an automated fashion, they have completely obliterated any loyalty we had and they provided an utterly terrible customer experience. Moreover, their customer retention and market share numbers just dwindled by a body count of two (my friend and I).

Second, the strategy that Pizza Hut is utilizing makes me wonder if most users don’t notice what they’re getting themselves into and if this is what Pizza Hut is shooting for. Well known practice in eCommerce is to force a customer to agree to a sites general terms of use in order to transact on that site. Sometimes, at the same time a user is agreeing to the Terms of Use, a second, optional, opportunity is provided that allows the the customer to opt-in to advertising. If only one option is given, it is by and large a Terms of Use agreement. Therefore, if a customer only sees one option, and doesn’t read the details, they assume that they are agreeing to a sites Terms of Use, and that no option to opt-in to advertising exists, let alone that they are opting in if they agree to the Terms of Use.

Despite the “no choice” opt-in trick, it’s fairly easy to get yourself off their spam marketing list after you’ve registered. Here’s what their Privacy Policy has to say about it—note the comical way they make it sound like users had a choice to begin with, when they obviously didn’t:

For those who initially opted-in to receive future offers or promotional materials or to allow the sharing of Personal Information with third parties may subsequently opt-out as follows:

For email communications: (a) send an e-mail to webmaster@pizzahut.com or (b) if you are a registered user, deselect the option on your accounts profile page under “My Account” on Our website;

For text message communications, (a) send an email to webmaster@pizzahut.com and include the appropriate mobile telephone number(s), (b) send a “STOP” text message to “749488” or (c) if you are a registered user, deselect the option on your accounts profile page under “My Account” on Our website.

Or do what Tim did—don’t bother ordering from Pizza Hut online, and in fact order your pizza from a competing restaurant until Pizza Hut decides to stop forcing its marketing on online customers.

“That’s Freaking Spam-tastic: PizzaHut.com Requires Customers to Opt-In to Advertising When Ordering Online” [PlumberSurplus]