E-mail and web scams have become a part of everyday life, and most Internet users have become justifiably cautious.

We joke about the “Nigerian e-mail” scams. We don’t trust the e-mail from a bank asking us to “confirm” our bank account or credit card numbers. We check URLs to be sure we are on a legitimate site, and not a well-done imposter.

But sometimes, we can be scammed by legal and “legitimate” companies that cross the line into sleazy business practices.

The Reservation Rewards Scam

Image the following scenario:

You visit a website run by a well-known, national brand, and place an order.

During the checkout process, you are asked if you’d like to receive discount coupons for other product by e-mail. Since you trust the site you’re on, you click the checkbox. (Or it may already be checked for you as a “convenience.”)

A couple of months later, you notice a small charge (about $8 to $12) on your credit card statement. The company listed is not the major national site you visited… it’s from a company called Reservation Rewards, which you have probably never heard of.

How the Reservation Rewards Scam Works

The e-mail discount coupons are actually a paid service from Reservation Rewards. When you check out on another website… that trusted national brand… you can check the box to receive the coupons. When you do, the national website passes your credit card information to Reservation Rewards! A charge will then appear on your credit card each month until you cancel the service.

In return, that major national brand gets a fee from Reservation Rewards.

The big surprise is the number of trusted companies that have partnered with Reservation Rewards. According to the research I’ve done on the Internet, the list included: Staples.com, ftd.com, Expedia.com, Orbitz.com, Priceline.com, AllPosters.com, Fandango.com, Moviefone.com, and ShutterFly.com. There are likely many more sites; you can search the web for Reservation Rewards scam to learn more.

Complaints about Reservation Rewards (also called webloyalty.com) date back to at least 2005, and there have been lawsuits filed against the company.

Getting Your Money Back

Most people who complain about the scam don’t even remember signing up. Check you credit card statement to see if there is a charge from Reservation Rewards or WebLoyalty. If you find a charge, check your older statements… in many cases, you’ll find that the company has been charging your card for months.

Contact the company at the 800 number listed on your credit card statement. State clearly that:

  • You did not sign up for the account
  • You want the service cancelled immediately
  • You want to request a full refund.

Based on web accounts, you will be sent a form, and after filling out the form, you will be given a full refund. Apparently, giving refunds is one way the company avoids legal action. They count on the fact that most people will not take the time to fill out the forms and insist on a refund.

And of course, be very careful what you agree to when shopping on the Internet… even when dealing with a “trusted” website.

For more information on the Reservation Rewards scam, visit:

 



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