Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Caveat Emptor Online

“Dear Wenchypoo,

I bought some serger thread from Jo-Ann Fabrics over the internet. A month later a charge for $9.00 showed up on my Discover bill for Reservation Rewards. When I called Reservation Rewards I was told that the charge was "generated" from the Jo-Ann Fabrics site and that I was now a member. I revisited the Jo-Ann site and my account and could find no place where I could have ordered a membership in Reservation Rewards. I have contacted Jo-Ann Fabrics and have received no response to my request to be given a credit for this charge. I feel like I have been scammed and I will never order from Jo-Ann over the internet again.”

Caveat emptor, dear consumer. Before you click a final “place your order” button, be sure to take a good look around the page—especially at the bottom. By clicking, you may be unknowingly accepting an agreement to allow for third-party marketing. Be on the lookout for fine print.

Since the manufacturer or the company itself isn’t responding to your request, I’d notify Discover that a charge dispute was in progress so interest doesn’t continue accruing while you slug it out with Reservation Rewards. Do not pay the charges—otherwise, you’re agreeing to accept the service.

Let this type of thing be a warning to all online holiday shoppers--when you click, you may be giving permission for third-party marketing, and the next thing you know, your inbox is full to bursting with the same junk mail you fight to keep out of your HOME mailbox.


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