In March of 2007 I purchased tickets to the Houston Rodeo using Ticketmaster. I was given a link to click on towards the end of my transaction, which was offering a discount. Since I entered my email address, I was immediately enrolled in an Entertainment Rewards account.
At the time of this 'purchase' I was not aware that I had enrolled in anything. Note that this link comes up before Ticketmaster tells you that your purchase (for tickets) has been completed, so it seems that clicking on the link is just a step in the purchasing process.
A few busy months later and I finally sat down to review my last few credit card statements. Entertainment Rewards had been charging my $9 a month for the last 9 months. The $9 a month was not a large enough amount for me to notice something was wrong right away. I called my bank, they told me their policy is to have customers try to resolve issues first with the vendor, then my bank transferred me to Entertainment Rewards.
The first person I spoke to told me she could cancel my subscription but only refund me for 3 months of my subscription. I insisted to be refunded for the full 9 months, since I had never intended to subscribe to Entertainment Rewards and had never used the subscription (they can check your account to see if you've ever printed off their coupons). She again told me she could only refund me for 3 months. I demanded to speak to someone else.
I was forwarded to the escalations department. The man I spoke to told me that they could only refund me for 3 months, and that it was clear to me when I signed up for this subscription that I was purchasing their services. I told him that this is a scam and is starting to show up on web forums and scam alerts, and that tricking internet consumers into purchasing a subscription this way was very poor business practice.
Again, he told me he could only refund me for 3 months. (I was asking to be refunded $9/month for 9 months, or $81, is that such a big deal?) Then, I lied. I told him that I was a principal and that my school sells Entertainment books for fundraisers (I remembered selling those things as a kid), and told him that I would make sure that no schools in my district ever sold those things again. Eventually he agreed to refund me for the full amount.
I would have threatened with legal action, if I had to. Since they have no receipt of your purchase, they would probably lose if I had contested the charges with my credit card company.
I'm pretty upset by this - not that I really needed the $81, but that a company would conduct their business in such a manner. I hope that someone takes this to court and that Entertainment Rewards and Ticketmaster stop this practice of sharing customers credit card information.
For people that live on tight budgets, $9 a month can make a dent in their living expenses. I am also pretty upset with myself for taking so long to notice I was being charged. I shop online all the time and have never run into a problem like this before. It just shows what poor practice Ticketmaster and Entertainment Rewards are using. I will never purchase anything from either company again.