Beware "€10 cashback!" Ticketmaster,IrishRail,Ryan,eBay

Brendan Burgess

Founder
Messages
38,125
After you finish booking a ticket online with Ryanair, Irish Rail or Ticketmaster, you might get a page saying something like


Special Offer
Your purchase is complete. Click here to claim your £10 cash back incentive on your next Ticketmaster purchase. Continue

By clicking above, you can claim your reward from our preferred partner when you join their programme. Terms and conditions apply
Do not click on this special offer.
By pressing the “Click here” or “Continue” button you are brought to a website for a completely separate company. Many people realise this and go no further. But many don’t realise this and end up giving this company the authority to take €12 a month from their credit card.



Many people are caught out by this in Ireland

Conor Pope in the Irish Times has investigated this and reports on many people finding these payments:

This week’s consumer concern relates to mystery payments to Completesave.ie

and

More readers contact us about Complete Savings


And the Ray Darcy Show
Is Complete Savings/Save a con or a scam - Ray Darcy Show

They have been catching people out in the UK for years.
http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=3622877&page=5

But why do so many people get fooled by this?
Some people have insisted that they never gave their bank account information to Complete Savings but that Irish Rail or Ryanair must have passed on the information. Irish Rail does not actually pass on any banking information.



Complete Savings defends itself by saying that people must sign up on their website and proactively give them their bank account information.
But the problem is that many customers do not realise that they have moved on to a different website.



An anti-trust investigation in Italy found that 62% of those who subscribed, cancelled claiming that they had not signed up consciously


Just recently The Italian Anti-trust office fined Ryanair €420,000 for its participation in the scheme. http://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2014...dreams/897017/ (Use Google translate to read it in English. ) The anti-trust office discovered that 62% of those who joined the scheme left the scheme claiming that they had not signed up consciously.



Why do companies like Ryanair and Irish Rail participate in this scheme?

The company behind it is Webloyalty. They and their “partner companies” settled a $10m class action in the United States back in 2009 for an earlier version of the scheme.



Complete Savings is owned by Affinion the company which owns LoyaltyBuild, the company in Ennis which had its systems hacked and 500,000 of their customers had their credit card details compromised.

This is known as post-transaction marketing which is described by Wikipedia as

Post-transaction marketing is a deceptive marketing practice used by many companies, which have then been subject to investigation, charges from state attorneys general, and class action lawsuits.
According to a United States Senate staff report, this practice presents "highly aggressive sales tactics [which] charge millions of American consumers for services the consumers do not want and do not understand they have purchased." It reports that consumers involuntarily spent 1.4 billion USD due to these practices, 792 million USD of that paid to the third-party sites which presented services paid for by post-transaction marketing. The report concluded that such marketing practices "exploit consumers' expectations about the online 'checkout' process." It stated that their "Misleading 'Yes' and 'Continue' buttons cause consumers to reasonably think they are completing the original transaction, rather than entering into a new, ongoing financial relationship with a membership club."
In 2010, an American law was introduced to so that “ the post-transaction third party seller has clearly and conspicuously disclosed to the consumer all material terms of the transaction” .



Irish Rail and Ryanair should be obliged to “clearly and conspicuously” tell their customers that they are being passed onto another website. They do not do this at present. Hitting a button saying “continue” does not suggest that the person is leaving the site.
 

Brendan Burgess

Founder
Messages
38,125
I have just booked a ticket through Ticketmaster - it was for a UK event, so I don't know if they have the same scheme going in Ireland.

As part of the screen confirming my booking, there was a line at the end

Special Offer
Your purchase is complete. Click here to claim your £10 cash back incentive on your next Ticketmaster purchase. Continue

By clicking above, you can claim your reward from our preferred partner when you join their programme. Terms and conditions apply
I have no idea what this meant. I was being offered £10 back on my next ticketmaster purchase. What does "our preferred partner" mean?

While "terms and conditions" was not highlighted as a link, I clicked on it anyway which brought me to a very complicated screen. The biggest item on the screen was a voucher for £15 ( with £10 crossed out) and ads for 4 music events.

As far as I was concerned I was still on a TicketMaster page. There is a heading at the top

Complete Savings tickemaster

In fact "Complete Savings" is actually a separate company although I am sure they chose the name so that you still think you are dealing with Ticketmaster

"
Congratulations...
here's your Special Reward to thank you for being a valued Ticketmaster customer!
Sign up to claim your rewards!
Complete the 3 easy steps below to get your £15 cash back voucher if you sign up for all the cash back rewards of Complete Savings, a premier online savings service FREE for the next 30 days and only £10 per month thereafter."

You then See Steps 1, 2 and 3

Provide us with a credit or debit card for your Complete Savings benefits.
(A valid credit or debit card needs to be registered.) By providing your billing information below, you authorise Complete Savings to use the information you provide for billing the membership fee of £10 a month until you cancel. Our secure software encrypts your information as you send it to protect you and your privacy.
I assumed that I am providing them with my Credit Card details for refunds. But if you read the stuff you are actually , signing up to pay them £10 a month until you cancel.

"A valid credit or debit cards needs to be registered" sounds as if you are just registering.
 

Brendan Burgess

Founder
Messages
38,125
I really am amazed that Tickemaster would particpate in such misleading advertising

"terms and conditions apply" is a scandalous way of hiding the fact that you are actually paying £10 a month for a discount scheme. On the very first page they should say something

"Join Complete Savings for just £10 a month and we will give you £10 off your next Tickemaster purchase"

They should also highlight it on the second page that this will cost £10 a month.

Instead they highlight
Congratulations
£15
Sign up to claim your rewards!
Get your £15 cash back voucher
 

Brendan Burgess

Founder
Messages
38,125
I went back to my confirmation screen and clicked on "Continue" and was met with the same screen but with a voiceover which said

"Your purchase is complete

Click Yes below to claim £15 cash back on your next purchase and enjoy cash back every time you shop at hundreds of our top online stores when you join Complete Savings


Limited to one per household. Terms and conditions apply."


Again, as they say "Your purchase is complete" it is designed to sound like a Tickemaster page. AGain no mention that you are being charged £10 a month.


There is a button saying "Yes! click here now" . I am not sure if this is actually signing up using the credit card details given to Tickemaster.
 

Brendan Burgess

Founder
Messages
38,125
Apparently lots of people have been caught out by them

http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=3622877&page=5

They are active in Ireland. I wonder if this is recent?

A guy on Boards.ie nearly got caught out.

Ticketmaster uses it.

The following websites seem to have links with them

Ryanair (why am I not surprised?)
ebookers.ie
irishrail.ie
argos.ie


Their own website does not tell you which "top online retailers" they have deals with.
 

ajapale

Moderator
Messages
7,724
... so I don't know if they have the same scheme going in Ireland.
Brendan,

Yes its operating in Ireland. I got caught by this "trick" this morning.

On completing a long and tortorious process of buying One Direct Tickets on Ticketmaster.ie an embedded screen offered me €10 off my next purchace from ticketmaster.ie. I imagnined wrongly that I was sill on the ticketmaster site and proceeded with the "registration".

What actually happened was that I had opened a monthyly €10 subscription with "completesavings". At this stage I was completely unaware of what I had done.

Perhaps it was from reading this post but about a half hour later I decided to investigate and discovered the "trick" or perhaps it was the short date expiry on the offer (3months from the date of sign up).

I rang them on their 1800 number and got through after the 3rd go. Im not sure that its premium number. I cancelled with the lady at the calll centre. I also sent an email cancelling the "subscription". I also got the company's snail mail address and intend cancelling by letter as well.

I notice that the subscriptions are monthly or quarterly and fear that many people who are tricked in this way may not even notice amounts of €10 going out every quarter until it is far too late.

What I object to is ordinary decent companies like ticketmaster allowing their site to be abused in this way by "completesavings".

Is there any way that ordinary decent companies such as ticketmaster, ryanair, irishrail etc can be encouraged to get companies like "completesavings" off their sites?

This is a good explaination of how the "trick" works.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Discuss:Is_complete_savings_a_scam#ixzz2gC2cB1Dl
 

ajapale

Moderator
Messages
7,724
Its what is know as "Post Transaction Marketing" .

See this wikipedia article.

Post-transaction marketing is a deceptive marketing practice used by many companies, which have then been subject to investigation, charges from state attorneys general, and class action lawsuits.

According to a United States Senate staff report, this practice presents "highly aggressive sales tactics [which] charge millions of American consumers for services the consumers do not want and do not understand they have purchased." It reports that consumers involuntarily spent 1.4 billion USD due to these practices, 792 million USD of that paid to the third-party sites which presented services paid for by post-transaction marketing.

The report concluded that such marketing practices "exploit consumers' expectations about the online 'checkout' process." It stated that their "Misleading 'Yes' and 'Continue' buttons cause consumers to reasonably think they are completing the original transaction, rather than entering into a new, ongoing financial relationship with a membership club."

Mechanics of the scam:
The Senate report identified "data pass", or the automatic transfer from the merchant after the transaction of the customer's credit card information. Information provided by the Federal Trade Commission and the National Association of Attorneys General, and information collected from telephone billing has found that requiring the entry of credit card information will decrease the likelihood that a customer will enter a transaction by a factor of 3 or 4. Therefore, companies will use the automatic transference of this information which will induce consumers to involuntarily provide their credit card information to merchants which they were otherwise unwilling to transact with.

It also reported that post-transaction marketers will pay a 10-30 USD "bounty" for a customer's enrollment in a membership club.

The report also identified low consumer awareness of their involuntary memberships to these clubs, and cites numerous consumer complaints.

It also presents companies' training scripts for customer service staff response to such complaints, especially those from individuals unaware of their enrollment. It also identifies high cancellation rates as evidence that these subscriptions were unwanted.

In addition, it identified unscrupulous efforts to protect merchants against legitimate consumer complaints by labeling it as a "strict no-no" to refer customers to the providers of the services which they were involuntarily enrolled in, and quotes a variety of complaints from merchants who were concerned about these deceptive practices.[1]
 

ajapale

Moderator
Messages
7,724
A few years ago President Obama introduced legislation to make the process much more transparent in the U.S.

On December 29, 2010 President Obama signed into law the "Restore Online Shoppers' Confidence Act". A culmination of extensive Congressional investigation, the Act regulates online post-transaction marketing and codifies disclosure requirements applicable to "negative option" marketing programs. The Act also prohibits the transfer of certain consumer information by internet merchants to third party sellers engaged in post-transaction marketing soliciting sales from the merchants' websites
 

mmclo

Frequent Poster
Messages
265
Can't believe I've just found out I was done by them. Via Irish Rail no less. Well I'd like to do something about it, what are the real options (not toothless ASAI). This was some sort of cash back on tickets, OK more fool me am it's only €12 but this is really dodgy and a state company too
 

Ceist Beag

Frequent Poster
Messages
1,134
Can't believe I've just found out I was done by them. Via Irish Rail no less. Well I'd like to do something about it, what are the real options (not toothless ASAI). This was some sort of cash back on tickets, OK more fool me am it's only €12 but this is really dodgy and a state company too
Yes I nearly got caught by the same scheme . Luckily I have cloudacl installed and it blocked the site but it's pretty shocking that a state company is involved with schemers like this.
 

Skybox

Frequent Poster
Messages
21
I almost got caught by this on Irish Rail a few weeks ago. I balked at handing over credit card info for what was supposed to be a discount on Irish Rail tickets.
Must make a complaint to them - very shoddy.
 

ajapale

Moderator
Messages
7,724
Hi Rainyday,

In the absence of legislation (such as enacted in the US) outlawing the practice its hard to see how www.comsurmerhelp.ie (or advertising standards) can be of assistance in the "Post Transaction Marketing" trick as perpetrated by completesavings.com with the tacit permission of ordinary decent companies such as Irish Rail, Argos, ticket master etc.

I will however ring them and let you know how I get on.

this is really dodgy and a state company too IrishRail
Perhaps we could complain to the shareholder - the Irish Government.?


aj
 

seantheman

Frequent Poster
Messages
932
Was booking tickets for my kids for McBusted on Ticketmaster today and would probably have fallen for this but for this thread
 

RainyDay

Frequent Poster
Messages
4,506
Hi Rainyday,

In the absence of legislation (such as enacted in the US) outlawing the practice its hard to see how www.comsurmerhelp.ie (or advertising standards) can be of assistance in the "Post Transaction Marketing" trick as perpetrated by completesavings.com with the tacit permission of ordinary decent companies such as Irish Rail, Argos, ticket master etc.

I will however ring them and let you know how I get on.
In fairness to NCA, they seemed to be able to get involved in the Xtravision / Xbox thing this week, though I don't think there was specific legislation. If there is an issue of unfairness, give them first shot at sorting it.

If not, Joe Duffy or Conor Pope or some parliamentary questions to the Minister or whatever.
 

mmclo

Frequent Poster
Messages
265
OK I get the media and consumerwatch stuff but my experience in this country is this takes for ever and these guys have their own agenda.

I'll obviously be contacting Irish Rail hopefully today, I will also make an FOI and data protection request for exactly what they do with my credit card details under this arrangement

I will also be looking at a claim against both companies in the small claims court which is effectively an accessible version of the district court. This hasn't been tested in Irish Law so this is the way to do it. This will cost me more than I lost but it seems important. Happily discuss the outcome of these initiatives with the media

I know it's unlikely but is there any requirement for these guys or the companies to deal with the financial regulator or ombudsman for this stuff?
 

mmclo

Frequent Poster
Messages
265
Missive dispatched to Mr Slowey, cc'ed CEO, NCA (via site) and Oireachtas Transport Committee. Lets see how it goes but wouldn't be confident, two people ion the phone tried to refer me to Complete Savings! Have to exhaust all these options first
 

mmclo

Frequent Poster
Messages
265
Did anybody else who fell victim of this receive update emails before deduction, I've only just discovered them now as gmail put them in a promotions tab which I never really read grrrrrrr!!!!
 

mmclo

Frequent Poster
Messages
265
well well well, the secret may well be to cite the class action they lost in Boston which is a previous link, i'll post it again and what I sent them. Still not happy with Irish rail and will keep up pressure on them

mmclo

***


This notice confirms that your Membership in Complete Savings has been cancelled as of 28/11/2013.

Your cancel confirmation number is: xxxxxx

We have issued a refund of your Membership fee. This refund will appear as a credit to your account within the next 10 working days.

Please let us know if your request was resolved to your satisfaction. All responses submitted will go to our Customer Service Director for review because your feedback is important to us.

If you would like to provide feedback, please click here.

Sincerely,

The Complete Savings Customer Service Team
customerservice@completesavings.ie
1800 806 167*
 

mmclo

Frequent Poster
Messages
265
This did the trick

"I am hereby requesting you refund the money deducted from my account in light of the previously settled U.S. Case of your parent company;

In Re: Webloyalty.com, Inc. Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, MDL No. 07-01820, Lead Case No. 06-11620
JLT; (2)

Failure to refund will lead to action in the Irish courts with similar results"
 
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