Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Do You Have Online “Mystery Charges” on Your Credit Card?

Senator Jay Rockefeller is launching an investigation into mystery charges that have been appearing on credit cards. Apparently, Internet users have been unwittingly signed up for monthly fees when clicking a web offer. This is another good reason for reviewing your monthly statement.

• The source of these puzzling monthly fees appears to be from a group of marketing companies that acquire consumers’ billing information through agreements with popular online retail sites. 

• On many well-known websites, including Fandango.com and Orbitz.com, after consumers make a purchase, a hyperlink or “pop up” window appears and offers consumers a cash back reward if they sign up for a company’s online membership service.  If consumers accept the offer by providing an e-mail address and clicking a “yes” button, their credit card or debit card account information is automatically forwarded to the company and they are automatically enrolled in the service.  And unless the consumer cancels this online membership service, their credit card or debit card is indefinitely charged $9-$12 on a monthly basis.   

• These deceptive online “mystery charges” have generated thousands of complaints from internet consumers who were unaware they were signing up for a monthly service that charged a fee. 

• Examples of the “pop up” or hyperlinked windows that appear on well-known websites can be found attached below.

Additional information can be found at Senator Rockefeller’s website.

Here is one example.


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