By D. Budde, February 23, 2009 @ 8:14 pm
Thanks to the commentary provided by your website participants, I was able to unravel the puzzle of the mysterious savings2go charges that began appearing on our VISA card last month. The key, at least in our case, was an order we placed online last December from the ShamWow website. If you note the VERY fine print at the bottom of the order page (relating to a $10 discount offer), it reads as follows:
“You’ll receive your membership welcome e-mail (from saving2go) within 3 days and can, at that time, access your benefits, including your $10 Cash Back. Your discounts are free for the next 30 days, plus all the valuable benefits of Savings2Go. If you are satisfied during your trial, do nothing. All your Saving2GO discounts and benefits will automatically continue for just $14.95 a month. Savings2Go benefits may be enhanced or modified at any time without prior notice. If at any time you are not completely satisfied during your trial or thereafter, simply call Savings2Go at 1-888-448-0166 to let us know you wish to cancel and you’ll owe nothing more. All your benefits and access will then be canceled immediately. All the money you save and the $10 Cash Back are yours to keep!”
The catch—and it’s a big one—is that if you didn’t notice or simply randomly deleted the savings2go “membership welcome email” as trash or spam and didn’t immediately contact them to cancel your AUTOMATIC ENROLLMENT, you will be billed each month in perpetuity for $14.95. They’ve already got your credit card number thanks to Sham Wow. They don’t need your approval or authorization. Your failure to affirmatively cancel your “free” membership is all it takes.
Not quite fraud but, clearly a VERY deceptive business practice. This is a classic example of what is referred to as the “automatic OPT-IN.” Absent your affirmative act to CANCEL and opt-out, you’re on the hook WITHOUT your consent or approval. Unfortunately, unlike legitimate websites, there is no option to decline this offer when you place your Sham Wow order. You are automatically booked with savings2go, like it or not. If you fail to respond to their email and cancel within the 30-day trial period or even if you never received a “membership welcome email”, your card charges being as soon as the free trial period is over. You opted IN when you placed your Sham Wow order.
Lastly, when I called the number listed on the Sham Wow website for savings2go, all I got was a recorded message that stated the number is “not in service.” If you go to the savings2go website, you will not find a customer service number. You can’t even get beyond the initial screen without a “membership” number, which, if you did not receive or respond to their original email, you won’t, of course, have. Talk about a classic Catch-22 situation…
Fortunately, I was able to secure an active customer service number for savings2go from my VISA card disputes unit. They were, apparently, quite familiar with this merchant. The number they provided for savings2go is 1-800-448-1944. It is a working number, at least as of 2/22/09. If you do call to cancel, be prepared for a high pressure pitch to keep your membership. Good luck and as the watch commander (from the old TV series) would admonish his troops at the morning line-up, “….be careful out there…!” Good luck and thanks for the help.
COMPLAIN - not only to your Bank but every company they offer discounts for