It is a topic that deeply concerns me because it often exploits the parts of society that lack the sophistication and education to understand complex terms and conditions.
If a business wants to sell it products, fine and good.
If a business wants to offer poential customers a good deal, fine and good.
But a business is acting like scum when the special offer obligates the customer to purchase additional goods and services.
With that in mind, I hereby offer the first of my Opt-Out Marketing Pond Scum Award.
This award has been developed with the cockroach in mind. If you go in a dark room full of cockroaches, and shine a light, all the cockroaches scurry away. It is my hope that by pointing out companies engaged in opt-out marketing campaigns will scurry away when I shine the light on them.
And the first awardee is: White Overnight.
These cockroaches can be found at www.whiteovernight.com, where they tell you that you can get your teeth up to "8 shades whiter, in just 15 minutes. The Promote their *Free Treatment.
Here is the deal on the *Free Treatment:
To begin receiving WhiteOverNite™ grant us permission to charge $3.95 to your card to cover our shipping and handling expenses and you will receive the FREE Treatment. This free Treatment is for first time customers only. See below for Terms and Conditions.
Now for the Terms and Conditions:
* Upon ordering your Free Treatment of WhiteOverNite™: you will be enrolled to PARTICIPATE in our continuity program. The WhiteOverNite™ 60 day continuity is only $89.95 plus shipping ensures that you will never run out of your supply as you keep your bright, beautiful smile!
Within fourteen days of placing your order "unless you cancel", you will automatically be shipped a 60-day supply of WhiteOverNite™ and billed $89.95 plus $16.95 shipping to your card. We know that you will feel this is the best money you ever spent.
Further down it says:
NOT A FREE OFFER OR TRIAL: This offer is represented only by the terms and conditions on this site. No advertising, association or incentive programs that advertise other then what is represnted here are not valid and do not apply.
So, it is *Free, but it is not a "NOT A FREE OFFER OR TRIAL" and if you do not opt out within the first 14 days, you will be billed $89.95 for the next batch of the prouct plus $16.95 for shipping. Why the huge shipping cost? Because if you cancel after they ship the product, and return it, they promise to refund 100% of the product cost -- but will not refund the shipping and handling costs.
Note, too, that their terms and conditions state:
Within fourteen days of placing your order "unless you cancel", you will automatically be shipped a 60-day supply of WhiteOverNite™
Not they do not say that they will ship after 14 days. There is absolutely nothing in their terms and Conditions that prohibits them from shipping the product the day after they ship the *Free treatment.
So, congratulations to our first Opt-Out Marketing Pond Scum Award. Would someone please shine a flashlight on these cockroaches!
Updated: The pond scum at this particular company have now completely removed their address from the website, and there is no return address on any of the material that they send when they ship their product. Nice, really nice. Check out www.scams.com for some horror stories.