I was a victim of this scam!

I was a victim of the Google Treasure Chest Scam. I can tell you from experience that they are unscrupulous con artists and my advice is "Stay Away from them". Do be very wary of any offers that toot the "Google" name as part of their offer as they are not connected with the "Google" search engine.
Please read about my experience with "Google Treasure Chest" so you will be better informed about how these scams work.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rebuttal to "Comments".

Here is a comment that was posted on www.complaintsboard.com in the google treasure chest complaints.
The Post:
Here's what you should do: PAY ATTENTION AND READ ALL OF THE DETAILS BEFORE YOU SIGN UP FOR SOMETHING! The details were there - you just didn't bother to read them. There's no cure for stupid...

My reply to the comment:

Good advise on "Pay Attention and read all the details before you sign up for something." The only problem with that is: in my case of involvement, and I'm sure other's involvement in these nasty "google"scams was that there were "no details" to read. It was "not" that I or we did not bother to read them, the details were just not there. Since all the complaints from consumer victims have been rolling in, the con artists are learning WHAT they need to change on their bait websites in their tactics to stay ahead of the game. One of the things that they have had pointed out to them is that they should disclose the terms and conditions of the transaction before the consumer submits his financial information. The thing they are not "realizing" is that they are still "not following" the law on how they can do this "legally". One thing, is that they are still not properly disclosing the fact that the "upfront dvd" is tied to a membership with other debits intended which have not been properly disclosed to the consumer. Some of the "bait websites" are now putting a bit of small unreadable type on their transaction page but not in a manner that really discloses the real purpose they have in mind for getting your financial information. Their purpose or intent is still not being disclosed in the manner prescribed by law. Another thing--the law states that they have to get legal "permission" for "each debit" they make on a consumer's transaction. They are not getting "permission" to use the consumer's finances for further debits since they are not disclosing in the upfront transaction that their intent is to pass your financial information on to 2nd, 3rd or 4th parties for use or what that use would even entail. No where in their upfront disclosures are they letting the consumer know this bit of information. If they did disclose this "important" bit of information the consumer would probably not take the bait. These types of "google" scam websites do not state in any of their disclosures "upfront" before the transaction that the transaction will be considered a "negative option" or even explain what a negative option entails. Granted, negative option is mentioned in their "hidden" terms and conditions, but, they are still required to put that important information in a "warning disclosure" along side where you submit your financial information.

Here is paragraph from FTC site:
from http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/guides/free.htm

c) Disclosure of conditions. When making ``Free'' or similar offers all the terms, conditions and obligations upon which receipt and retention of the ``Free'' item are contingent should be set forth clearly and conspicuously at the outset of the offer so as to leave no reasonable probability that the terms of the offer might be misunderstood. Stated differently, all of the terms, conditions and obligations should appear in close conjunction with the offer of ``Free'' merchandise or service. For example, disclosure of the terms of the offer set forth in a footnote of an advertisement to which reference is made by an asterisk or other symbol placed next to the offer, is not regarded as making disclosure at the outset.

Now FTC defination of "FREE".
from http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/guides/free.htm

§251.1 The guide. FTC Guidelines defining the meaning of "FREE"

(a) General. (1) The offer of ``Free'' merchandise or service is a promotional device frequently used to attract customers. Providing such merchandise or service with the purchase of some other article or service has often been found to be a useful and valuable marketing tool.

(b) Meaning of ``Free''. (1) The public understands that, except in the case of introductory offers in connection with the sale of a product or service (See paragraph (f) of this section), an offer of ``Free'' merchandise or service is based upon a regular price for the merchandise or service which must be purchased by consumers in order to avail themselves of that which is represented to be ``Free''. In other words, when the purchaser is told that an article is ``Free'' to him if another article is purchased, the word ``Free'' indicates that he is paying nothing for that article and no more than the regular price for the other. Thus, a purchaser has a right to believe that the merchant will not directly and immediately recover, in whole or in part, the cost of the free merchandise or service by marking up the price of the article which must be purchased, by the substitution of inferior merchandise or service, or otherwise.

(f) Introductory offers. (1) No ``Free'' offer should be made in connection with the introduction of a new product or service offered for sale at a specified price unless the offeror expects, in good faith, to discontinue the offer after a limited time and to commence selling the product or service promoted, separately, at the same price at which it was promoted with the ``Free'' offer.

(2) In such offers, no representation may be made that the price is for one item and that the other is ``Free'' unless the offeror expects, in good faith, to discontinue the offer after a limited time and to commence selling the product or service promoted, separately, at the same price at which it was promoted with a ``Free'' offer.

Here is what FTC regulations say about "Deception".
Quoting from Ftc policy statement on deception:
"Commission cases reveal specific guidelines. Depending on the circumstances, accurate information in the text may not remedy a false headline because reasonable consumers may glance only at the headline.33 Written disclosures or fine print may be insufficient to correct a misleading representations.34 Other practices of the company may direct consumers' attention away from the qualifying disclosures.35 Oral statements, label disclosures or point-of-sale material will not necessarily correct a deceptive representation or omission.36 Thus, when the first contact between a seller and a buyer occurs through a deceptive practice, the law may be violated even if the truth is subsequently made known to the purchaser.37 Pro forma statements or disclaimers may not cure otherwise deceptive messages or practices.38"

What that paragraph says is that even though the con artist is changing some of his t/c tactics on his websites-- the underlying "deception" has not been remedied.

As for being considered "Stupid" --That is yet to be determined.