L.A. News Station Visits Forced Continuity Operator's Home

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Reporting on one more case of marketers killing the golden goose by souring a user on the idea of buying off the internet. How many people's days have to be ruined to be a successful CPA marketer?

Online Shoppers Get Surprise Bills for Unwanted Jewelry | NBC Southern California
#continuity #forced #home #news #operator #station #visits
  • Profile picture of the author Nightengale
    This kind of thing infuriates me.

    I'm on the ENTREPRENEUR'S side of this kind of thing. I don't know how deep the continuity info was buried, but it's quite obvious the consumer didn't read everything and obviously has no idea how this kind of thing works. As an entrepreneur, I'm familiar with and comfortable with continuity, as long as it's disclosed up front.

    Unfortunately, this doesn't look good when the marketer refuses to talk. But the story is entirely one-sided. The consumer gets to yell about she was "taken", the "consumer advocate" is shown all official and important, and the show slickly talked about how much the house was worth -- hardly a 2-sided presentation.

    P.T. Barnum said "You'll never go broke underestimating the intelligence of the general public." It's harsh, but he was right. If you've ever done customer service in any capacity (I've done call center customer service for 10 years now), you know you ALWAYS need to factor in the "stupid" element.

    Our media and general culture is skewed against the entrepreneur and that needs to be taken into consideration when doing business.

    That said, the marketer SHOULD have been more forthcoming and upfront. And the consumer needs to educate herself more. BOTH are to blame. (I do NOT subscribe to the theory that the "customer is always right" They're not.)

    Michelle
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    • Profile picture of the author DubDubDubDot
      Originally Posted by Nightengale View Post

      That said, the marketer SHOULD have been more forthcoming and upfront.
      Scammers aren't interested in making an effort in what they "should" do. Some people are still in business only because of their willingness to bilk people out of money. For them it's an easy choice. Lie, cheat and steal their way to "success" rather than go on welfare.

      Originally Posted by Nightengale View Post

      And the consumer needs to educate herself more. BOTH are to blame.
      The consumer needs to be presented with a brief, clear understanding of the billing agreement rather than having it buried in the fine print or deep in the TOS.

      Either you regulate yourself or the government will do it for you. And that second one always costs an industry money. But, again, the scammers just want to "get money" while they can. They aren't interested in anything beyond their immediate financial situation.
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      • Profile picture of the author Nightengale
        Forced continuity hearkens back to the Book-of-the-Month club of decades past. And maybe earlier than that. It's a completely legitimate business model.

        The problem here is not in the business model itself. It's in the way it was implemented. The marketer in this case was NOT up front about it and buried it in the fine print. And when called to account for it (on local TV) he hid from the cameras. (And guilty or not, that behavior DOES make him look like a scammer.)

        And THAT is the issue. I think most Warriors here would agree that if the marketer is up front and the customer is fully aware of what he's getting into, then there's no problem.

        The local media caught wind of it and produced a completely biased and unbalanced story about it.

        I'm don't have an issue with the marketer's precise method. I DO take issue with the WAY he did this. I think it was Maya Angelou who said "People may not remember what you said or did. But they always remember the way you made them FEEL." (Paraphrased.)

        Even if the marketer was right by the letter of the marketing method, he completely missed the mark in the SPIRIT of it. The customer felt taken advantage of. And obviously, the marketer never made it right since the bank had to give the refund, not the marketer.

        But you are right: if you don't do right by the customer (and they FEEL you did right), then the government WILL step in. Trouble is, they tend to throw the baby out with the bathwater. They say "all continuity is BAD!"

        Well, that's B.S. It's completely legit. But it MUST be done in a spirit of full disclosure.

        I stand by my original comments: The marketer SHOULD have been more forthcoming, but the customer was just as guilty. I've been in customer service WAY TOO LONG. I see customers become extremely unreasonable and demand things far outside of the scope of the purchase in the name of "the customer is always right."

        No, they're not. The customer needs to pay attention and take responsibility for their purchasing decisions. Marketers shouldn't take advantage of their customers, but customers can be just as bad. Anyone who has been in customer service or sold anything online here knows how customers can game the system (like buying digital goods, then demanding a refund).

        Grow up!

        But a few bad apples like this marketer ruin it for everyone. Next thing you know, the laws are being written to control how the entrepreneur does business and to protect the stupid from themselves.

        Take a look at the woman in this video. Look at her appearance. Look at how she's chasing free stuff. Look at how she makes purchasing decisions. Look at how her whining about a $98 continuity charge got her her 15 minutes of fame and the authorities figuring out how they can write the laws to tell YOU how you can conduct YOUR business.

        Take note. She is your customer. Act accordingly.

        Michelle
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        • Profile picture of the author edlewis
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          • Profile picture of the author Nightengale
            Amen! Eeeeexactly.
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          • Originally Posted by edlewis View Post

            I'm sorry...but people need to take personal responsibility for themselves instead of blaming others and claiming they got "scammed"
            I totally agree. There are too many lemmings, ops sorry naive customers, not willing to take responsibility of their own stupid acts.

            However...

            Originally Posted by edlewis View Post

            Order page - Kate Winston - Fine Quality Jewelry

            Uh....sorry, but those terms that are allegedly "hidden" in the "fine print" look like they aren't really "hidden" at all, and the print doesn't exactly look all that "fine". It practically hits you right in the face like a Floyd Mayweather Jr jab.
            Sorry, but no.

            In this case, the marketer DID try to hide the recurring payment details by styling the payment terms in the shape of a guarantee stamp design. And he is VERY aware of the mental trick he's using here.

            The front-end payment terms are designed as a standard checkout page, clearly visible and itemized, but the recurring payment terms are designed and paragraphed to be overlooked as a separate element altogether. The common rules of e-commerce standards dictate that both front-end and back-end payments need to be equally disclosed. I should know, as I own a payment processing solution (see signature).

            And let's not even mention the fact that he's asking for sensible credit card info in a NON SECURE URL (http instead of https)... WTF?! no serious marketer does that!

            So, in this case, the marketer is clearly at fault (and well aware of it). Besides... following this practice is utterly retarded: sooner or later your own payment processing gateway will close your merchant account due to high chargeback and complain rates from the credit card companies. It's very short sighted, quick-buck-aimed, and asking for troubles in the long term.
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            • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
              Banned
              Originally Posted by Anonymous Affiliate View Post

              In this case, the marketer DID try to hide the recurring payment details by styling the payment terms in the shape of a guarantee stamp design. And he is VERY aware of the mental trick he's using here.
              That makes it pretty much a black-and-white issue, for me.

              It's just blatant, indefensible, attempted deception. It's illegal, unethical and immoral. :p

              It scares me that people can actually defend this. It almost makes me feel ashamed of being an "internet marketer". People doing this (until the FTC catches and prosecutes them) are the scumbags who are collectively giving the rest of us a bad name.

              Originally Posted by Anonymous Affiliate View Post

              in this case, the marketer is clearly at fault (and well aware of it). Besides... following this practice is utterly retarded: sooner or later your own payment processing gateway will close your merchant account due to high chargeback and complain rates from the credit card companies. It's very short sighted, quick-buck-aimed, and asking for troubles in the long term.
              Indeed. Exactly so.

              This is one of those issues over which people need to be willing to "choose sides", because if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem, and you have to live with the consequences of that.
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              • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
                Originally Posted by DubDubDubDot View Post

                I did look at the site before posting my reply. The terms do appear on the checkout page - though the design is optimal for overlooking them. The unappealing terms are framed out in graphics that look like a certificate of authenticity that might come with jewelry. Very odd. We have no idea when the terms were put there anyway. They could have been added when the heat got turned up.
                Exactly what I was thinking.

                As for the swipe at the "biased local media", give me a break. This wasn't a hard news segment. It was a piece by the station's "consumer advocate", who by definition will take the consumer's side of things and pander to the larger group of viewers.

                Seeing a news van in the driveway is kind of like the old joke from 60 Minutes's heyday:

                You know your week is going to suck if you walk into your office on Monday morning, and Mike Wallace is waiting for you with a camera crew.
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  • Profile picture of the author salegurus
    Originally Posted by Nightengale View Post

    This kind of thing infuriates me.

    I'm on the ENTREPRENEUR'S side of this kind of thing. I don't know how deep the continuity info was buried, but it's quite obvious the consumer didn't read everything and obviously has no idea how this kind of thing works. As an entrepreneur, I'm familiar with an comfortable with continuity, as long as it's disclosed up front.
    Michelle
    Entrepreneur? (LOL)
    You are obviously comfortable with these tactics, personally it leaves a bad taste in my mouth...
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  • Profile picture of the author Rbtmarshall
    The originator obviously went about his marketing in a black hat way:

    from the first line in the article, which I feel people who support this scammers actions did not read.

    Talia Marquez says she was virtual window shopping on Amazon.com when a pop-up ad appeared asking if she would take part in a survey.

    deceptive marketing is something many here feel they need to do, and eventually turn to. Because it's hard, almost impossible for most people who try to make money online in a legitimate or ethical way.
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  • Profile picture of the author DubDubDubDot
    You can't blame the customer for your problems when you can predict exactly what's going to happen ahead of time. You know going into it that pretty much nobody wants to pay $6 for a piece, get charged $90 for it later and then receive random pieces in the mail at $40/mo. The offer, the website and the terms are designed specifically to extract money from people in a sneaky manner.

    I did look at the site before posting my reply. The terms do appear on the checkout page - though the design is optimal for overlooking them. The unappealing terms are framed out in graphics that look like a certificate of authenticity that might come with jewelry. Very odd. We have no idea when the terms were put there anyway. They could have been added when the heat got turned up.

    I also noticed that the checkout page isn't secured. That is proof alone that something isn't right with this operation.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnnyNight
    Originally Posted by webapex View Post

    Reporting on one more case of marketers killing the golden goose by souring a user on the idea of buying off the internet. How many people's days have to be ruined to be a successful CPA marketer?

    Online Shoppers Get Surprise Bills for Unwanted Jewelry | NBC Southern California

    Yeah, I just went to the article and in the comment section at the bottom and lady by the name of Predita pretending to have gone to the jewelry site for the first time is defending it by saying it's not confusing at all, everything is clear and easy to understand.

    The only problem is the website is registered to a location in Glendale, California and Predita is from Glendale, California.

    So unfortunate coincidence I guess...
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