Mysterious Charges on Your Account Statements?

David Little
NLSO, USN

Where’s your money going? Check your statements carefully; chances are good that if you’re an e-shopper, you could be losing hard-earned money to mysterious charges.

Vertrue, Webloyalty, and Affinion are just some of the companies out there that use sneaky tactics to lure internet users into on-going monthly membership fees. More often than not, it’s for services that consumers have no clue about. The companies partner with legitimate websites—Priceline, 1-800-Flowers, Fandango and others—to obtain your payment information. After completing a legitimate purchase, generally a banner window pops up or an outside link that advertises cash-back or a free membership. Most are followed by a prompt saying, “Just enter your email address confirmation to accept!”

However, free membership is short-lived (usually 30 days) and they already have your payment info The partner websites get a cut of the subsequent fees and you get stuck paying for things you never bargained for.

If you see these tactics, click the No Thank You option, close the “pop-up” window, or don’t click on the “banner” link. Don’t enter any information. If you do decide to enroll, read the fine print and cancel before getting charged.

But, if it’s already too late, call the number associated with the charge, cancel your membership, and say you want your money refunded. The support staff is trained to evade these demands, so be direct. Mention you’re planning on complaining to the Attorney General, Better Business Bureau and website partners.

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About rlsonw

Navy JAG Corps
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