We’ll give Unilever points for offering an exhaustive opt-out page that covers every conceivable form of communication you may be receiving from them. We’ll take all those points away, however, and award them a fail badge for creating the world’s longest, most labor intensive opt-out page you’ve ever seen.
BoingBoing Gadgets says that Verizon has been mailing out a leaflet to its customers informing them that the company intends to sell their personal information unless they explicitly opt-out.
You’d think a whole bus is hard to hide but Orbitz had no problem trying to sneak one past Harry McCracken when he was booking a flight to Las Vegas. He noticed at checkout there was a $14 ground transportation fee that had been “added for [his] convenience.” Paging backwards, tucked in a list of about 40 upgrades and local attractions was a $14 bus fee. The tricky part was that all the others were opt-in and this one was opt-out. Naughty Orbitz, trying to sneak a bus onto an airplane!
Nashville Electric Service (NES) decided it would be a good idea to round up each customer’s bill to the nearest dollar, then take that extra change to donate to charity. It’s a great idea, and since the total amount donated per year can’t exceed $11.88, it’s not a hardship on most people. But there are a few problems. First, NES chooses the charities, if that matters to you. What’s more troublesome is that NES plans to opt-in every customer when the program begins on January 2009 without asking for explicit permission—if you pay your electricity bill through NES, you’ll donate to their charities next year, thank you very much.
I just opened my mail for today. I just received a pre-approved credit card application and they ::oops:: included another one for my neighbor, in my envelope.
Last month we reported on Charter Communications’ plan to start tracking its users internet activity in order to serve more targeted ads. Charter claimed customers could opt-out of the service, but a reader reviewed Charter’s opt-out method and discovered that even if you said no, you would still be tracked. Yesterday Charter announced it was abandoning the program and will not track its customers’ activities after all—at least for the immediate future.
C writes in with another lesson on why you should check your statements frequently:Two years ago I purchased items for my grandchildren at KidsStuff.com. This month (March 2008) I found an $18.00 charge from them on my American Express card.
Direct mailers don’t believe in the concept of opting in, so if you want to cut down on the amount of straight-to-the-trash mail you receive, you’ll need to contact them directly and request that your name is removed. ForestEthics—the group behind the Do Not Mail Registry petition we blogged about earlier, has gathered several ways to contact the offending parties.
Joseph writes in with a helpful reminder:
Now might be a good time to remind people that they can opt-out of pre-screened offers of credit. In light of the HSBC debacle I’ve been victim of, I checked out my credit report yesterday. I was amazed at how often the major credit card companies (AMEX, Capital One, Bank of America, etc…) access my credit history in order pre-screen me for promotional purposes. Consumers can opt-out at: www.optoutprescreen.com
Chase will reset everyone’s marketing preferences under the guise of providing “more options to specify which mail offers you do not want.” Remember when you originally opted-out? They didn’t quite understand. What about their Value Added Products And Services and Used Vehicle Financing? Unless you opt-out again by January 24, Chase will acknowledge your implied change of heart. Read their notice after the jump.
If you buy a ticket on Spirit Airlines’ website, the purchase screen has the nasty habit of prefilling options to buy travel insurance and join the Spirit Airlines fare club. And those fees? Nonrefundable, even if you cancel your membership. How nice.