Not you, of course. Unless you’re one of those jerks that charges for hidden fees.

We have written here, here, here, and here about scummy gimmicks that hide secret charges in their Terms and Conditions. You think you’re signing up for a “free” kit for $3.88 shipping and handling. But then, when you don’t cancel after your 7-day trial, you get hit for a $90 monthly charge for a membership you didn’t know you were signing up for. It’s a practice also sometimes called negative options marketing.

You can try to cancel. You can try to get a refund. You can cry, threaten, and cajole. But if you follow the comments in the posts I linked above, you’ll see that the pimps selling this kind of junk make it very difficult, if not impossible, to meet their refund conditions. Don’t let bad behavior go unpunished.

Sweet Vengeance

Here’s one way you can hit those deceptive marketing bastards back. Thanks to alert reader Eugene for posting this:

I got the slam too. what a dirty little trick. I found the right place to let Google know about this evil use of their trademark.

Go here and report the trademark infringement:

http://www.google.com/support/websearch/bin/request.py?contact_type=g_trademark&ctx=contactpolicy

I’ve tried it and I got a huge amount of perverse satisfaction by reporting “Google Money Tree” to Google for trademark infringement. If you’ve been bitten, strike back by turning them in. Unfortunately, the link above will only help you report improper use of Google’s trademark. But hey, it’s a start.

Before You Write Us or Comment…

This is for that busybody who is all in a lather right now. You know who you are. Before you write to me and say something stupid and obvious like, “Hey, everyone should read the terms and conditions before signing up for stuff. It’s your own fault if you gut sucked in when you didn’t read what you were signing up for,” just shaddup, alright? Take your bad, self-righteous self out for a massage and a colon cleanse and come back when you’re not so uptight. I’m the only one who gets to lecture around here.

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Last Updated: February 23, 2009

Join the Discussion

  • Deborah
    Deborah
    Reply

    As a follow up on the topic of trademark infringement I have not had much available time to further research this matter but did send out emails to the major companies that are used in what I believe is a template that is copied over and over again on these scam web pages–it just so obvious. However just now I was looking though my feed alerts for the day and found one that doesn’t exactly address this specific issue but it does show that copyright infringement has not escaped the company’s notice and they are attempting to be proactive. If they aren’t they will lost their copyright status–as did Kleenex and Xerox did many years ago–it amounts to the fact that if a company such as Kleenex does not protect their copyrighted name and does not in allowing it to be used in a generic way then that company is giving implicit approval for use and loses their right to the copyrighted name. How many times have you asked for a Kleenex without even considering which brand? The same with Xerox–when we would ask an employee to go xerox a document on a Canon copier? Just a FYI which is completely off the topic but I am incapable of writing a short post–when this occurred to Xerox, Pepsi and Coca Cola became concerned that if you went into a fast food place or restaurant and asked for a Coke you may have gotten a Pepsi. Thus began the mystery shopper concept–you might notice that to this day if you ask for a coke you will be more than likely to be told they do not serve Coke products but do have Pepsi or vice versa.

    The link to the NY Times article on copyright infringement is:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/02/business/media/02scrape.html?emc=eta1

    Deborah

  • Deborah
    Deborah
    Reply

    Hi Carolyn and Joe–Just what I needed after watching too much CNN and the President’s address to Congress while on the computer–I just cracked up but thanks Carolyn for the offer of a good colon cleanse but I believe I already have a lifetime membership to a colon club. And Joe, if you will just wait one moment–you know lawyers lie right? Check in a minute and I will reactivate my new website that includes every manner of authentic and credible references from reliable sources such as Yahoo, Google, USA Today etc, that do not in anyway infringe on copyrights. The reason I know this to be true is that in response to one of my emails as I was told that by a nice scammer errr person who was kind enough to inform me, for a price of course, that I should not concern my pretty little blonde head about such things as this scam site had run it through their vast legal department–located next to the local strip club and stated that there were absolutely no infringement problems. I will continue on my quest to get further info and have already sent emails to the usual “as seen on or as read on” companies as time allows. Anyway Joe I would just love to take your Nigerian Lottery debit card payment and then my bank can process that along with the Hong Kong 250,000.00 fee I received for mystery shopping in WalMart and testing Western Union and returning money to them through Western Union. I swear I was down on lawyers until I came across all of these scams. If these scammers would only apply their talents to legit work who knows what could actually happen however I suppose they must be raking in the dough as there is no end to them.

    Have a great night all. Thanks for the laughs and I agree spare me photos.

    Deb

  • Joe
    Joe
    Reply

    @ Deborah: You shouldn’t have told me it’s merely a figment! I was all ready to sign up using my preloaded, $1M debit card I won in a Nigerian lottery. But since you don’t really have such a Web site, I will sell you my preloaded debit card for a mere $5,000. That’s pennies on the dollar.

    @ Carolyn: PLEASE don’t send me photographic proof! :)

  • Carolyn Bennett Sullivan
    Carolyn Bennett Sullivan
    Reply

    You’re awesome, love the information, it’s so helpful. By the way if you need a good colon cleanse, I can recommend a great one.

  • Deborah
    Deborah
    Reply

    Thanks Joe,
    I am on the computer 24/7 and love research, which is why I consult now for other attorneys here in Virginia who forgot how to conduct good research the minute they left law school. Plus I love using the internet to my personal advantage and am always looking for shortcuts. I used the PayPal virtual card when they first came out with it in beta. Then it was not available to my knowledge for over a year but I could be wrong. However I had occasion to use it last week and love it–I am a big believer in PayPal and the services it offers. Now about trademark infringement, it was the fact that Eugene pursued it through Google that I started thinking of other companies that would be interested as well, especially if connected with deceptive advertisements and/or scam web sites. I am going to start researching this avenue tonight and will keep you informed of any information I may find. However the good news is I am offering a 30 day risk free trial to my web site–LawyersWhoScamForProfit.aba– that will expire at midnight tonight and for a one time up front fee of several thousand dollars I will send you a list of worthless legal sites that will inform you of absolutely nothing but guarantees to make you crazy and spend an obscene amount of time and money reviewing and signing up for more worthless offers while I make millions and retire in Costa Rica……..(disclaimer–there is no such web site–it is merely a figment of my imagination)
    Thanks for asking and I will post any findings.
    Deborah

  • Joe
    Joe
    Reply

    Great points, Deborah. I did not know about the one-time use card through PayPal. I’ll look into that. And please let us know if you find out how to report trademark infringement to CNN et al. Thanks!

  • Deborah
    Deborah
    Reply

    Hi Steve,
    Love your emails and this one in particular. I have to say even though I have my MBA and a law degree I used to just check the box that stated I had read the TOS and Terms of Conditions without doing so and just moved on. This was generally when I was signing up for online banking accounts, payment accounts, and sites I did business with–my feeling was that I knew the companies already, was switching everything I could to paperless and that if I did not like the terms and conditions there was nothing I could do about it. However over the years I have to admit that I would be offered some free samples that would be of interest to me, generally cosmetics, and again was lucky I only got burned several times. I was able to dispute the charges through my credit card company or PayPal which if you don’t use is excellent for handling disputes–and they now offer a one time use virtual credit card that you create to use just once and it tied to your PayPal account–this keeps recurring fees from happening. This is a spectacular way to keep sellers of these scams to try to charge an account that doesn’t exist after a one time use. But Steve you are right–in researching many of these sites I now check out if it is a scam and read the Terms and Conditions thoroughly. I think what your one reader, Eugene, sent you about Google and trademark infringement is brilliant. I am going to check any other sites I come across that also use the “AS SEEN ON CNN, ABC, NBC” etc. I would imagine that these companies would also be interested to know about any trademark infringement cases as well. This opens up another an entire new way to attack the attackers. Well done.

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