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TBayIT - Web Design / Development, Web Hosting, Content Management Systems

Scamming You After Checkout

Posted on April 10, 2010

It is called Post Transactional Datapass and if you shop online you could be the next victim. Never mind having your credit card information stolen, this involves an online retailer giving it to another company to bill you for something you didn’t agree to!

Post Transactional Datapass is a common and shady scam many legitimate online retailers are a part of – and you could easily be the next victim. Up-selling you when you purchase something online is common but this involves charging you for something you didn’t even know you bought just because you clicked on the wrong button after the initial transaction.

It is simple, you input your credit card details to purchase something online, once processed the web site passes this information to another company who sells you some sort of subscription or useless service and charges you for it. It may be as simple as clicking a button. You may see this in the form of advertisments like “save $10 off of your purchase” or “get a discount on your next purchase”.

This market is massive – 2 billion per year and unfortunately involves many large online companies and includes reputable brands. As soon as you click this button, in some cases you don’t even have to agree to anything or confirm the transaction and you will be billed.  The primary reason this is such a large market is because it misleads the consumer. The primary retailers do this because they get a hefty cut of whatever their customer “sign up” for.

One example is a lady who bought movie tickets and after checkout, a message said “save $10 on your next purchase”. She clicked it but never entered any further credit card information and absolutely no contact information. When her visa bill arrived she was charged an additional $20 for “Reservation Rewards”. Obviously anyone seeing this would immediately call and cancel this service but it is difficult to get your money back.  An ex-employee of one of these “reward” companies is quoted as saying that 98% of their calls are for cancellations.

Read this PCWorld article for more details on how this rip-off works.

Personally, I will boycott any retailers who take part in this scam.  Always read the fine print before clicking! The US Government has taken steps to reduce this practice and hopefully the same will happen in Canada.

Here are some other stories on Post Transactional Datapass

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