“Who knew that not protecting your purchase would be so costly?” was all John’s e-mail to our tipline said. Attached was this screen capture. When putting an item costing $22.99 in his virtual cart, the site presented him with two protection plan options: two years for $6.29, or no plan for $4.99. Wait, what?
“Dark patterns” are when web designers exploit common browsing behaviors and use them to trick people into do something that’s to their disadvantage. One of these, the “anti-scan trick question,” is used by RyanAir to get people to sign up for travel insurance. Counterintuitively, to opt out you have to scroll through a “please select country of residence” drop-down menu. Sneaky.