News from the House of Plague

This appears to be the flu that keeps on giving. It won’t win any records for its deadliness, but it certainly is virulent, and at three weeks to a month on, it still has us in its grip. The latest development: a viral infection of Erin’s inner ear, giving her what the doctor termed was “labyrinthitis”, which essentially means strong bouts of vertigo and nausea. And because the infection is almost certainly viral (because the antibiotics they’ve prescribed for us have done sweet fraking all), there’s nothing that they can do but treat the symptom with anti-vertigo medication, like Gravol or Serc.

The side effect of such medication? Sedation.

So, the doctor has prescribed bed rest for Erin for the next couple of days. I’m still vacillating between being okay and trying to cough up a lung, and my visiting mother-in-law isn’t doing much better. But at least the kids are doing okay.

So, I’m not in a good mood, and haven’t been in a good mood to write, either on this blog or elsewhere.

My Beef With Reservation Rewards

Earlier this weekend, I was getting our finances in order, when I noticed a strange charge to our credit card from earlier this month. The line item read “Reservation Rewards” and gave a phone number of 800-732-7031. It was for $12.00. I did a routine search for “Reservation Rewards” on Google and came up with this alarming website. It seems that I’ve been hit with credit card fraud.

On May 18th, 2006, I noticed a strange transaction on my credit card statement, for just $11, something I wouldn’t normally notice. After some leg work, I discovered this was fraudulent use of my card, and had been happening for months, at $11/month. Looking on-line, I saw that this is a known scam that has been happening with the company, Inc. for some time , in conjunction with many host sites (see links provided below).


Looking back through my statements I found that, sure enough, each month I’d been hit with a $12 charge that slipped under my radar. This had been going on for a year, meaning that the company had bilked $144 from me.

Looking through my e-mails, I did discover the date and time that this happened. It occurred after I purchased a computer component from The component came with a $20 rebate on my next purchase with TigerDirect, apparently, but to collect it, I had to fill out some information for the rebate management company, Reservation Rewards. The confirmation e-mail contains a lot of fine print, and made no apparent mention of a $12/month charge, until I did a search. That’s when I spotted this paragraph, three-quarters of the way through the e-mail:

For your records, this confirms the Offer and Billing Details for your membership in Reservation Rewards: Enjoy your $20.00 Cash Back Award on your next purchase, plus 30 days of all the money-saving discounts and valuable protection of Reservation Rewards through 08/10/2007, with our compliments. It’s a Special Reward! If you are completely satisfied during your trial, do nothing. All your Reservation Rewards discounts and protection will automatically continue for just $12 a month billed by Reservation Rewards to the credit or debit card you authorized (MasterCard, Last 4 digits: XXXX). For your convenience Reservation Rewards will use the contact and credit or debit card information you authorized for billing and benefit processing. In the event your monthly membership fee were to ever change, you would be notified before you are billed. Reservation Rewards benefits may be enhanced or modified at anytime without prior notice. Your monthly fee will show up on your card statement as billed by WLI*RESERVATIONREWARDS.COM 800-732-7031 CT.

Emphasis added.

Slick trick, huh? So, through the magic of negative option billing (do nothing and we’ll bill you), they’re able to get their claws into my credit card and suck away like a parasite.

I, of course, called the credit card company to complain, and brought to their attention the numerous complaints raised against this company. Their decision was to cancel my credit card and reissue me with another, and have me sign an affidavit, and we’ll see about getting some of my money back for services I never received. Unfortunately, looking at all of this fine print, I fear that what Reservation Rewards has done conforms to the letter, if not the spirit, of the law. These complaints go back a few years, and yet the company is still able to partner with a supposedly reputable computer electronics store.

So I’ve written to TigerDirect to tell them that I won’t be doing business with them until such time as they disassociate themselves with Reservation Rewards and condemn their negative option billing practises. And I encourage you all to stay away from TigerDirect and any other company that makes use of Reservation Rewards’ services. It happened to me, so it can happen to you.

Further Reading

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