30 July 2005

Dodgy Credit Card Practices 2

This is second atrocious tactic by credit card companies.
I received a check (cheque) made out to me for $5.00. Normally I bank checks immediately, but this time I hesitated. Why are they giving me money? So I read the fine print.
Underneath the amount is the note in 5 point high print:

Cashing this check automatically activates a membership in the Travellers Advantage program.

Hang on. What's this program? On the back of the check is a box that says "Signature of payee (required for processing)"
Just above in 7 point bold:

Please endorse and cash or deposit this check to automatically activate Travelers advantage, which comes with the first 30 days risk free.
followed by 5 point details which actually say that if you don't call the toll free number within 30 days you will be charged $99.99 for annual membership.
Then at the end in bold: The $5.00 check is mine to keep.

So if someone didn't read the fine print they would find a $99.99 charge before the next statement came out and couldn't complain because they signed the agreement. Also, the agreement is no longer in your possession as you banked it, so look forward to some hassle finding the toll free number.

Rule 1: Always read the fine print!
Rule 2: There is no such thing as a free lunch.

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