Angry me!

This post has been edited following a threat of legal action from Adaptive Affinity.

Dear Readers,

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)

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5 Responses to Angry me!

  1. Justin says:

    Thanks for your response…However What you say does not ring true for us or many others with similar stories. Nor does your statement hold true with your dealings with our bank who sided against your organisation in our dispute. I would be happy to open my e-mail account to you to prove no opt out or cash back offer or rewards, or offers e-mail were ever received.
    Nice to hear from you though…whoever you are.

    Cheerio

    Justin

  2. Justin says:

    you sir are a legend amongst men and women!
    How could we have provided proof of an imaginary agreement other than our experience and our monthly diminishing bank balance.
    J&J

  3. Martin UK says:

    A great post. I stumbled upon this after seeing that Adaptive Affinity has allegedly made similar complaints against other bloggers.

    Two other documented and completely verifiable facts you may want to add to your list are that:

    1. The Office of Fair Trading investigated Adaptive Affinity for “alleged breaches of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008″ in 2009: Source: http://www.oft.gov.uk/news-and-updates/press/2009/75-09

    2. Adaptive Affinity were featured on BBC Radio 4 in 2008, with comments from the Trading Standards Institute. Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/youandyours/items/03/2008_05_wed.shtml

    It looks like Adaptive Affinity has gone after another UK blog, also using the “simply untrue” claim. Their response has been to publish copies of evidence to support their claim – this includes credit card statements, extracts of a letter from them, and a rather embarrasing transcript of a telephone conversation. Well, they did say that no proof had been offered!

    Links to the evidence offered: http://www.consumerdeals.co.uk/adaptiveaffinity.html

    Links to the story: http://www.consumerdeals.co.uk/news/2010/09/adaptive-affinity-requests-deletion-of-over-190-consumer-comments.html

    Hey Ho!

    Martin

  4. Pingback: Adaptive Affinity requests deletion of over 190 consumer comments | ConsumerDeals UK Offers Update

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