This post has been edited following a threat of legal action from Adaptive Affinity.
This page originally contained a recounting of J&J’s experiences as “customers” of Adaptive Affinity. Following the receipt of a threat of legal action, I have had to remove the original post and its comments. In the opinion of Adaptive Affinity, the claims made in the post (and in the ensuing comments) that their business practices are deceptive were “inaccurate”, “offensive”, “unacceptable” and “simply untrue”.
Adaptive Affinity were understandably upset at the material presented and were concerned that the opinions expressed might give the ordinary reader the impression “that the practices of Adaptive Affinity are unethical or at worst illegal.”
For those of you not familiar with Adaptive Affinity (though it seems like many of you were also “customers” at some point), they are the European division of the US company Vertrue Inc.
These companies have a rich and colourful history. Among the highlights:
- In 2000, Vertrue (trading as MemberWorks Inc.) settled a case of abusive sales practices brought against it by the New York State attorney general who stated that people who had signed up for a free trial were charged annual membership fees “without their knowledge”. [The New York Times]
- A statement from the Federal Trade Commission in 2001 stated that “at least four states – Minnesota, New York, Nebraska and California – have obtained either an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance or a court settlement with MemberWorks” (the previous trading name of Vertrue). The AVCs state that MemberWorks “must provide refunds to consumers alleging unauthorised charges”. [The Federal Trade Commission]
- In May 2006, Vertrue were sued by the state of Iowa for violating consumer Fraud Laws. The judge ruled that Vertrue used “deceptive and unfair practices”, affecting 497,683 Iowans, and that Vertrue and its subsidiary companies, Adaptive Marketing LLC and Idaptive Marketing LLC, were liable for consumer fraud. [The Iowa Department of Justice]
- A report released by a US Senate committee in November 2009 which looked at Vertrue and two other companies with similar business practices, stated that “…it is clear at this point that these three companies use highly aggressive sales tactics to charge millions of American consumers for services the consumers do not want and do not understand they have purchased.” [The US Senate]
- Vertrue currently hold an “F” rating from the US Better Business Bureau due to “Government actions against their business” and “failing to resolve the underlying causes of a pattern of complaints”. The Bureau has received more than 2,500 complaints against Vertrue. [Better Business Bureau]
I personally agree with Adaptive Affinity: it is much better that we remove the claims that were here before, which were without solid supporting evidence, and replace them with these facts, which are documented and completely verifiable.
Peter (your friendly thelondonplan.com host)