Visa Informative - Visa cuts off scamming merchants
Visa just announced that it is no longer doing business with over 100 merchants who are allegedly scamming consumers. As we have all read on this site, consumers think they are getting a free trial offer of some product (teeth whitening, dietary supplements etc) then these merchants charge the consumers credit cards, sometimes hundreds of dollars.
Here is a description from the article on how the scam works:
"consumers click on an ad for a free trial offer of supplements or a free "information kit" that will explain how to apply for government grants or use the Internet to make big money effortlessly from home. They think they're entering a credit card number to pay for shipping and handling. But in a few clicks, they've unwittingly authorized ongoing charges that can rack up fast. When consumers see their statements and try to question the charges, they are often unable to track anyone down to make them stop. Often, clicking through can result in more than one monthly charge on a card.
"The game here is to get people hooked, keep them on the hook for monthly charges as long as you can, and only stop making those charges when you're forced to," said Stephen Salter, vice president of BBB Online. BBB has received thousands of complaints about the problem, with multiple companies to blame. "The product is irrelevant to getting the charges on the card."
The trick is a marketing technique called "negative option," where customers must say they don't want to join a so-called club or receive additional materials in the future. The details of the ongoing charges are often in small print or can only be found by following a hyperlink. There's frequently a series of pre-checked boxes that most consumers zoom past as they order. Skipping those boxes is key, because leaving them checked ostensibly giving the companies permission to keep charging the card."
It is refreshing to see a major corporation take this action.