Business needs federal intervention

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Letter to the editor by Alan Gold 01-07-2011

By Alan Gold

President Barack Obama is expected to sign a bill that prevents Web merchants from selling their customers’ credit card information to third parties.

A bill called the “Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act” was passed by the U.S. House of Representativeslast week and should soon hit the desk of President Barack Obama.

The legislation is designed to stop a practice made infamous by three marketing firms: Webloyalty, Vertrue, and Affinion. These companies presented ads for membership programs to consumers just as they were completing transactions at Web stores. The ads they presented didn’t require shoppers to key in their own credit card numbers to sign up or to pay for the memberships. No, the marketers got the information from the well-known and trusted stores where the consumers shopped, such as Priceline, Orbitz, FTD.com, Classmates.com, Buy.com, Barnes & Noble, and Hertz. That trust was misplaced.

Those stores betrayed their customers by selling their credit card information to the marketers, according to the findings of an investigation by the U.S. Senate. The result was that people found “mystery charges” on their credit card statements and had no idea how they got there.

Business needs federal intervention to protect consumers.

The latest issue was on 60 Minutes, Jan. 2, about Glaxo making bad drugs. An 8 year-old child received 2 times his dosage of Paxil due to practices at the plant. Bad bacteria was found in a bacterial cure for bacteria. Take your Glaxo prescriptions to your pharmacy to check if they are OK for you. Call Glaxo at 1-888-825-5249 and ask for bad lot numbers or choose Contact to send email. Be prepared for a run-around.

Business needs federal intervention to protect consumers.

Alan Gold