what a deal from household bank visa. not.

In today’s mail I got a check for $10 from Household Bank. If I cash it, I will be entitled to the benefits of Household Bank Visa rewards of 2% back on every purchase. Wow! What a deal! Only ... oh, I see, if I don’t cancel the free trial, I get slapped with a $99 fee ($109.99 next year) and, oh, 2% of up to $5,000. Let’s see, doing the math—oh, that’s $100. So, I get to pay $99 to get back $1 IF I charge $5,000 on this card. And there are four $10 bonus coupons I may get to use on food or gas ... and those super discounts at places I never shop at, like Sharper Image, Pretzel Time, and Planet Hollywood. (What’s Pretzel Time?)

This kind of stuff must rope in enough people to pay for the cost of printing and mailing the come-ons. They know that most people won’t remember to cancel the free trial in time. What a ripoff.

Which brings me to Amazon. They offered a three-month trial of Prime, the service where they mail stuff in two days for $2.99 or something in that range. When they pushed the offer on me, one of the selling points was that converting to the $79-per-year membership deal would require my express authorization. But—they didn’t do this, just charged my credit card without my authorization. I was pissed—and cancelled the service as soon as I discovered it (about three weeks after they charged my card). Amazon.com did refund the money pretty fast, but why in the hell would they risk alienating a ten-year customer like this? Or any customer? I guess they, too, were banking on me forgetting.

I did the math for this, too—there’s no way the number of orders I get per year justifies the fee, and a good portion of those orders are from Amazon vendors, so are not even eligible for Prime shipping.

When bargains really aren’t. Caveat emptor. Or something like that.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/14/06 at 05:28 PM
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