ABC Goes After Online Businesses for 'Hidden Fees'

     Online shoppers aren’t smart enough to avoid giving away their credit card information to pop-up ads, at least according to ABC’s “Good Morning America.”


     “Some pop-ups on your computer can lead to unwanted credit card charges that go on month after month,” correspondent Elisabeth Leamy reported July 11, criticizing what she called “deceptive marketing practices.”


     Leamy interviewed a “very careful” woman who claimed she was victimized by the ads when trying to buy shoes online. Marya Mayer said she clicked a pop-up ad “just once to make it go away” and was rewarded with 14 months of unwanted credit card charges.


     Leamy portrayed Mayer as a victim even though the maker of the ad, the Affinion Group, said she had to have filled in her personal information to sign up for the advertised discount club.


     “They thought that they were just going to get a discount on the purchase they were originally making,” Paulette Hotton, CEO of the Connecticut Better Business Bureau, told “Good Morning America.”


      But the Affinion Group disagreed. “The enrollment process for all of our services involves multiple steps to ensure that consumers understand they are signing up for a service that will charge them,” the group said.


     Hotton ventured to defend consumers who “unknowingly” gave their credit card information to random ads online. “They did not know that they were in fact buying a product of this nature,” she claimed.


     Leamy’s last bit of advice to make sure this doesn’t happen to you wasn’t exactly revolutionary.


     “You’re going to need to check your credit card bill each and every month and look for charges that you don’t want to be on there,” she said.