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Conspiracy against consumers- read the fine print. Go here to report scams

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posted on Feb, 24 2006 @ 10:35 AM
I hope for this thread to be a compilation of warnings regarding consumer money/ID scams, for all ATS'ers...

The one that prompted this thread is a very noticable trend in blantant false advertising.

I recieved an email saying "b]I was chosen to recieve a florida vacation for simply visiting a website"
Now, My degree is in advertising (albiet fairly unused), so I tend to feel that I can spot the scam in most misleading ads... That is becoming less true.

It used to be a standard of industry, and requirement of law, that an Advertisment couldn't lie or misled directly. Loop holes, and tricky techniques have allowed advertising to still hornswaggle many a trig consumer... but it still kept the industry fairly honest.

Now it seems
that an advertisment can claim anything, as long as that little "accept conditions" disclosure amends and removes any of those said statements.
Meaning... read the fine print everytime, it might change everything.

In this case, once I went to the website, i was quickly educated to what "chosen to recieve" means... it means it only costs $89... with nothing additional to buy ever and of course, no additional signups, and of course, they dont sell your info, and totally respect your privacy...

then I read the disclosure agreement dialogue box, that also happened to only let you read 3 lines at a time... (and it was very needlessly repetitive and wordy)

Now after about 6 pages of this three line reading (seriously) hidden deep within the disclosure, was a retraction of almost every claim they made...
under a little heading that said revisions as of jan 1 06.

that is where they disclose that if you sign up for there vacation package... you are really joining a travel club with regular fee, that is automatically deducted from your account on a monthly or yearly basis (i can't remember which)...
then of course, it went on to say, that they will use your data anyway they please... regardless of the bold face type promise on the top of the website...

it also removed any obligation of theres to ensure that the vacation coupons were honored by the various companies using there service to promote thier vacation packages...
in other words...

you are buying nothing guaranteed, and you are giving everything... and from what i could tell, the only thing that was still the same as the website, was the original cost of $89... but wait... there are other fees involved...
I didn't want to read to the 20th page of the three line disclosure, to see what those fees were...

I hope this example will illustrate what my hopes for this thread are...
to make others aware of the scams that we discover.

And please, refrain from calling people names, if they fell for one that you didn't... that is the point... to make sure none of us fall for ANY of them. Its us against corporate America people...

and just like in school people... no scam is too stupid to post... it might not be a stupid scam to others...

[edit on 24-2-2006 by LazarusTheLong]

posted on Feb, 24 2006 @ 10:50 AM
False advertising has been around for years it's not right but it's there. I've always felt that if it seems too good to be true it is. Consumers need to educate themselves and as you say read the fine print and research companies. In this information age it's not that hard to do. Good topic and appearing in a timly manner.

posted on Feb, 24 2006 @ 11:11 AM
Its getting very concerning how these companies can go 'unchecked' and bilk millions of dollars out of unsuspecting consumers.

My Grandmother had me check her 'free' trip' a few months ago. She recieved a letter in the mail from a travel company stated she had been awarded a trip, all inclusive, blah blah blah... for a small agency fee .

Checking the company out on the internet showed several disgruntled customers as well as many lawsuits.

But.... they are still in business and must be turning a profit.

posted on Feb, 24 2006 @ 12:01 PM
It is not only getting more savvy... but more mainstream

I know that several national companies I do business with (certain credit card companies) have not only included these last line, fine print caveats... but then do data sales business with companies that are outright crooks...
(refer to the Bank of America Data "theft" scandal...)

it wasn't theft, if it was sold outright... they just didn't do any checks on the scum they sold it to.

Also... please include suggestions on how to restore the requirement of honesty in advertising...
I am thinking that boycotts and lightshines on these scams will hurt them, but will it be enough to sway the trend?

posted on Feb, 24 2006 @ 05:30 PM
Working in IT, I get a lot of the scams that come from e-mails:

AOL: Please update you account information
EBay: Please verify your account status
Enter Bank Name Here: Unauthorized credit card use

and the list goes on...

All kinds of wacky business claims, like "make $1,000 a day with NO MONEY DOWN!" or "Get Paid for your Opinon!", and the lovable "Free* dinner at Chili's/Applebees/Starbucks/Wendy's for completing this survey!" come into my BULK e-mail folder daily.

All of them are shamelss, blatant LIES to get you to open those e-mails. And since I deal with some of the most amature novice users, they fall for it, hook line and sinker.

Here is a great saying "if it is too good to be true, then IT IS".

Lazarus has the perfect advice...READ those disclaimers for EVERYTHING (especially installing software, but that is for another time).

posted on Feb, 24 2006 @ 06:01 PM
Also, I get scam e-mails all the time, that just want you to "forward to other people who care" or "if you love them, you will forward this"

I gotta tell you... even when a security expert came to our company and told all our employees "these are harvesting your e-mail addresses, dont reply/dont open" everyone still does...

ahwww that little angel was so cute... it must be good if it has an angel picture on it... gosh...

That is the purpose of this thread... to help those that choose to do business on line, to do so carefully... and know what to watch for...

keep em coming...

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