On March 17, 2009, I made an online purchase for sunglasses. After inputting my credit card information, I was directed to a site asking if I would like to accept a free gift of a $25.00 Canadian Tire Gift Card. Of course, I said yes. I did not need to fill in any credit card info here. That was it, they thanked me and said I would be receiving my free gift in so many weeks.
On April 17, 2009, my credit card was charged with $15.95 CAD to "Privacy Protection". I called the phone number. They apologized for any misunderstanding and said they would immediately cancel my membership. When I requested my credit card be credited with the $15.95, they said I signed up for it.
This is a slimey business practice. Most likely, somewhere on the page where I was accepting my 'free gift', it listed an Agreement, which I would have agreed to. My fault that I didn't read it. It would have stated that I was signing up for a membership.
This shady practice should not be allowed. It should have been very clear on the main page that I was accepting this free gift AND by doing so, I was signing up for a membership. Buyer beware but I'm thoroughly frustrated that they can take advantage of people like this. Stick a free gift in front of them and anybody will buy in! I am sure they are not the only company doing this kind of business but if they are ever looking to change their name, try 'Piracy Plus'.
St. Catharines, Ontario