Vistaprint Vertrue Adaptive Marketing / unauthorized charges, spyware, theft of cc #
There is an international scam and fraud being run by a company called Vistaprint - claiming over 15 million customers world-wide http://careers.vistaprint.com/vistaprint_locations.html they also have a U.S based office in Massachusetts where I live.
I have just discovered after 6 years of purchasing 90+ orders of business marketing collateral from them for multiple personal/business items and on corresponding credit cards (five to be exact) that I am a victim of Vistaprint’s selling/providing/giving/exchanging my personal information and CREDIT CARD numbers to 3rd party affiliates and receiving financial kick backs for unauthorized billing/charges for bogus membership services and subscriptions to phantom companies!!! Apparently this scam has been running for many years and has affected thousands if not hundreds of thousands of consumers http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VistaPrint#Controversy:_Rewards_Program
Vistaprint and their affiliates Vertrue http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertrue (Up to 2004 it was called MemberWorks or MWI) and THEIR dozens of bogus affiliates under yet another company running scams – Adaptive Marketing http://www.adaptivemarketing.com/memprogs_overview.asp )
To date I have found over $1, 000 in bogus subscriptions and turns out two co-workers and family members have also been scammed and stolen from!
There is a Harvard Professor Ben Edelman who specifically reported September 30, 2008 Auditing Spyware Advertising Fraud: Wasted Spending at VistaPrint at http://www.benedelman.org/news/093008-1.html
Ben http://www.benedelman.org/bio/ holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Economics at Harvard University, a J.D. from the Harvard Law School, an A.M. in Statistics from the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and an A.B. in Economics from Harvard College (summa cum laude). He is a member of the Massachusetts Bar.
I've reported this fraudulent, unauthorized credit card billing and breech of security and privacy to countless state/federal agencies including the FBI, FTC, FCC, three AG's offices, 5 BBB's and a HUGE number of state/federal agencies (see below) along with disputing/canceling credit cards...to date I have received NO HELP or response...
There have been multiple class action lawsuits nationally against ALL of these companies and their affiliates by various state AG’s offices for violations of the federal Electronic Funds Transfer Act and the federal Electronic Communications and Privacy Act, as well as asserting various state statutory and common law claims, relating to certain membership discount programs offered by the third party merchants on VistaPrint's U.S. website.
I found this post by an employee http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/Archive/Soc/soc.culture.quebec/2005-12/msg00836.html
The following links provide all the background information and legitimate links for you to reference…
Class Action Filed Against Vertrue, Inc., Adaptive Marketing LLC, VistaPrint USA, Inc. and VistaPrint Ltd.
Vistaprint acknowledges PROVIDING PERSONAL AND FINANCIAL CUSTOMER INFO on their OWN website http://www.vistaprint.com/customer-care/privacy-and-security.aspx?xnav=foot&rd=1&GP=12%2f27%2f2008+5%3a46%3a40+PM
under PRIVACY policies Use and Disclosure of Information second paragraph down In order to carry out certain business functions, such as order fulfillment, e-mail delivery, or marketing, we sometimes hire other companies to perform services on our behalf. We may disclose Personal Information that we collect about you to these companies to enable them to perform these services, but they are required to safeguard the Personal Information and are not authorized to use it for any other purpose than completing their contractual requirements to VistaPrint. For example, as a part of the normal process of completing your purchase, VistaPrint may provide your Personal Information to a third party payment processor, such as Bibit B.V., depending on your chosen method of payment. Please be aware that, because of the limitations of the systems used by some financial institutions, the statement you receive from your credit card or financial institution may show the name of a third party payment processor, such as Bibit B.V., instead of or in addition to the VistaPrint name. In addition, we may share the Personal Information we collect with other companies with whom we have joint marketing arrangements.
In August, 2008, Meisleman, Denlea, Packman, Carton & Eberz, P.C. filed a class action complaint in federal court in Massachusetts on behalf of Deloris Gordon and all others similarly situated (the “Class”) alleging that Adaptive Marketing, LLC and its parent company Vertrue, Inc., along with VistaPrint USA, Inc. and its parent company VistaPrint Limited (collectively “Defendants”), are perpetrating; specifically, the practice of imposing unauthorized charges upon unsuspecting consumers who order services or merchandise from VistaPrint and whose personal and confidential credit card and bank account information is then accessed by Adaptive Marketing and Vertrue without Plaintiff’s or the Class’ prior permission.
From all my research online this seems to be an international scam affecting hundreds of thousands if not millions of people...and generates millions of dollars for unauthorized charges defrauding consumers internationally!! Every day I am uncovering MORE companies that are billing me, providing me with unordered materials/subscriptions and services... Sadly I've just discovered this has been going on since 2002 and involves countless charges...because my husband pays the bills I haven't even noticed until recently...the charges are also very small and appear to be subscriptions...therefore they've been overlooked by both of us.
Because Vistaprint provided our credit card info to an UNKNOWN number of companies I can only imagine what I’m dealing with. Based on the online complaints about them some people have been billed for HUNDREDS to THOUSANDS of dollars!
When I contacted our Boston Investigative Producer at Channel 5 she was actually working on this very story because its happened to many other people who contacted them asking for help on this same situation…
Some of the steps I am currently taking or have already taken
1. Contacted the Massachusetts Attorney Generals office where Vistaprints corporate office is located - http://www.mass.gov/Cago/docs/Consumer/consumercomplaintform.pdf - they responded that they could NOT help me because they don’t handle business to business complaints. On 12/3/08 - I recontacted them and informed them that this also affects my personal credit cards and they are going to open the complaint again.
2. Contacted the President and CEO of the company Robert S Keane's at [protected]@vistaprint.com demanding Vistaprint provide me with any/all third companies they sold/gave my personal info and credit card #’s to since 2002. (I haven’t heard back)
3. Contacted and filed complaint with the Better Business Bureau of MA - surprise surprise they already have a BAD RATING here http://reports.bosbbb.org/Boston/Public/Reports/RR/Report.aspx?i=82218 - I received a call from
Ainsley Dryden Help Desk Team Supervisor VistaPrint [protected] ext 5585 - who happened to call me on my cell phone at 7 p.m. from JAMAICA. He told me he responds to all BBB complaints. I am supposed to be credited for any/all of the charges from Passport to Fun, BusinessMax, VP Rewards.
4. Filed an electronic complaint against Vistaprint and partners them with the FCC Federal Communications Commission online http://esupport.fcc.gov/complaints.htm
5. complaint submitted www.fraud.org
6. Contacted and inform the SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION Washington, D.C. 20549 and made an online complaint. You may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the Securities and Exchange Commission at 1-800-SEC-0330. The Securities and Exchange Commission also maintains an Internet website that contains reports, proxy statements and other information about issuers, like us, that file electronically with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The address of that site is www.sec.gov.
7. Filed a complaint with the Illinois BBB where Vistaprint affiliate companies are located https://chicago.app.bbb.org/complaint/new/0
8. Disputed ALL charges on credit cards THEN Cancelled – TWO VISA cards / TWO Amexp – both personal and business. My husband who has also been billed for unauthorized is disputing his charges and may be canceling all of his cards as well.
9. submitted complaint through econsumer.gov complaint form Reference Number: [protected] www.econsumer.gov
10. Filed complaints with NEBRASKA and South Dakota BBB per recommendations of Illinois BBB as follows The information in this report provided by Better Business Bureau of Omaha, Nebraska, which is the headquarters for this company. All complaints received at the BBB of Chicago are transfered to the BBB serving Nebraska, South Dakota & Southwest Iowa.
In order to file a complaint against this company, please visit http://www.bbbnebraska.org or call [protected] [protected]@bbbnebraska.org, [protected]@bbbsouthdakota.org
11. FTC – Federal Trade Commission complaint filed at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/FTC_Wizard.aspx?Lang=en
12. Filed complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
13. Filed Report to the Illinois AG’s office: http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers/conscomp.pdf since the company Vistaprint sold my info to is based in IL and fields calls for AT LEAST three businesses I’ve found as well as to my husbands card/s
Passport to Fun and Vistaprint Rewards and Business MAX
Des Plaines IL
billing number [protected]
16. Working with Kristen Setera Senior Investigative Producer WCVB Channel 5 Needham, MA [protected], phone who was ironically working on a story about this very same company when I emailed her!
17. Contacted Jerome Noll of who is currently active in a class action lawsuit against Vistaprint and their partners. Have provided him with all my info and details:
Meiselman, Denlea, Packman, Carton & Eberz, P.C.
1311 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605
18. mailed certified letter to the president PRESIDENT Robert S Keane [protected]@vistaprint.com of at US headquarters with a request for a list of any/all companies they gave/sold our INFO TO – he received my letter of demand for companies and affiliates he released my info to and signed for this on or around 12/2/08
VistaPrint Limited c/o VistaPrint USA, Incorporated Customer Care
95 Hayden Avenue
Lexington MA 02421
19. http://www.lookstoogoodtobetrue.com/contactus.aspx logged complaint
20. Alliance against Fraud in Telemarketing and E-Commerce logged complaint
21. BBB – CT – emailed and logged complaint
22. Filing complaint against Vertrue and affiliates with Nebraska’s Attorney Generals office.
23. Emailed the person who created and monitored the website Auditing Spyware Advertising Fraud: Wasted Spending at VistaPrint http://www.benedelman.org/news/093008-1.html
24. Emailed another law office working on class action [protected].
GIRARD GIBBS LLP
601 California Street, Suite 1400
San Francisco, CA 94108
25. http://www.consumeraction.gov/caw_contactus.shtml emailed complaint
26. Emailed every single Massachusetts legislator and all my representatives asking for them to investigate and help consumers
FINALLY Vistaprint claims to have over 16 million customers worldwide... if they are doing this to all of them and many people aren't noticing... the revenue generated by these bogus memberships is unimaginable...
When discussing this with co-workers and friends I've already found FOUR of my friends and family that have had the same charges against their credit cards...
As of Thursday, December 04, 2008 I have found $733.08 worth of bogus charges from Vistaprint and their affiliates under Vertrue. I have requested credit card invoices from the credit cards they had/have on file from [protected] so I imagine I will uncover hundreds of dollars more.
I hope someone can help...