Citizens' Issues
What to Know about Negative-Option Offers
It's National Consumer Protection Week. Learn how to avoid repeated charges on your credit card
 
Negative-option offers – they turn sales transactions on their heads. Instead of a business selling you a good or service, negative-option offers start with the premise that you’ve already bought it, and it’s your responsibility to contact the business to cancel your order.
 
There are four different types of negative options to watch out for:
  1. Pre-notification negative-option plans, where you receive periodic notices offering goods (e.g., books or music) and then receive the goods at a charge unless you specifically reject the offer.
  2. Continuity plan, where you agree in advance to receive periodic shipments of goods or provision of services, and then get charged until you cancel the plan.
  3. Automatic renewal negative-option offer, where the seller automatically renews the contract, such as a one-year magazine subscription, at the end of a fixed period unless you specifically tell the seller not to.
  4. Free-to-pay conversion plans, where you receive a good or service for free (or at a nominal price) for an introductory period. Then, you get charged a boat load of money if you don’t take affirmative steps to cancel the plan or return the good or service.
Now you may be wondering how on earth do these shady businesses get their hands on your money when you don’t really want them to? Here’s how: by hiding important terms and conditions in tiny print, using pre-checked sign-up boxes as the default setting, and making it near impossible to cancel with super-strict cancellation and return policies. You really have to be on your guard with these types of marketing ploys. Below are some helpful tips:
  1. Watch out for pre-checked boxes. Those checkmarks may give the company the green light to continue the offer past the free-trial period. 
  2. Find the terms and conditions for the offer, read them carefully, and make sure you understand them. 
  3. Look for who’s behind the offer. Just because you’re buying something online from one company doesn’t mean the offer or pop-up isn’t from someone else. 
  4. Mark your calendar. If you do sign up for a free trial, make sure you have a timely reminder of when you need to cancel to avoid getting charged. 
  5. Look for info on how you can cancel future shipments or services. 
  6. Use a prepaid credit card if you are worried your credit card will be repeatedly billed. 
  7. Read your credit and debit card statements so you know right away if you’re being charged for something you didn’t order. 
  8. Research the company. Look online for complaints or reviews of the company’s services.
 
If you have been unfairly charged, here are tips on how to fight it.
 
TINA.org’s continuing coverage of negative-option orders can be found here
 

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COMMENTS

R Balakrishnan

9 months ago

Cannot this be made in to a criminal offence?
ASCI should be pushed in to this.

India's February WPI unchanged at (-) 0.9%
The annual rate of inflation, based on monthly WPI, stood at -0.91% for February 2016, unchanged from January, shows official data 
 
India's wholesale price index (WPI) based inflation remained in negative territory for the sixteenth straight month in February at (-) 0.91% against (-) 0.90% in January. However, this was higher than the (-)2.17% level in the like month of the previous year, official data showed on Monday.
 
Manufactured products inflation, which has a weightage of 65%, grew 0.3%. Food articles inflation was down 3.2% in February.
 
The index for primary articles group declined by 3.4% to 244.7 (provisional) from 253.3 (provisional) for the previous month. The index for ‘Food Articles’ group declined by 3.2% to 259.1 (provisional) from 267.6 (provisional) for the previous month due to lower price of fruits and vegetables (11%), egg (6%), arhar and gram (5% each), coffee and moong (4% each), masur (3%), condiments & spices (2%) and wheat, jowar and fish-inland (1% each).  However, the price of barley (4%), fish-marine (3%), bajra (2%) and pork, ragi, maize and poultry chicken (1% each) moved up.
 
The index for fuel and power group declined by 1.2% to 169.6 (provisional) from 171.6  (provisional) for the previous month due to lower price of aviation turbine fuel (14%), bitumen (7%), furnace oil (3%) and LPG, petrol and high speed diesel (1% each). 
 
Meanwhile, the overall WPI for December 2015 has been revised to (-) 1.06% from a level of (-) 0.73% announced earlier.

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India successfully test fires ballistic missile Agni-I
Agni-I, the surface-to-surface, single-stage missile, covered 700kms distance within 9 minutes and 36 seconds
 
Balasore (Odisha): India on Monday successfully test-fired its indigenously built nuclear-capable intermediate range Agni-I ballistic missile from a test range off the Odisha coast as part of a user trial by the Army. Agni-I is capable of hitting a target 700kms away.
 
The surface-to-surface, single-stage missile, powered by solid propellants, was test-fired from a mobile launcher at 9.15am from launch pad-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Abdul Kalam Island (Wheeler Island), a defence official said.
 
The trial, which formed part of a training exercise by the Strategic Forces Command of Indian Army, was fully successful, he said.
 
The sophisticated missile covered 700kms distance within 9 minutes and 36 seconds, they said.
 
“The launch was undertaken as part of a periodic training activity by SFC to further consolidate operational readiness,” the official said.
 
The trajectory of the trial was tracked by a battery of sophisticated radars, telemetry observation stations, electro-optic instruments and naval ships from its launch till the missile hit the target area with accuracy, they said.
 
The Agni-I missile is equipped with a sophisticated navigation system which ensures it reaches the target with a high degree of accuracy and precision.
 
The missile, which has already been inducted into the armed forces, has proved its excellent performance in terms of range, accuracy and lethality, the sources said.
 
Weighing 12 tonnes, the 15-metre-long Agni-I, is designed to carry a payload of more than one tonne. Its strike range can be extended by reducing the payload.
 
Agni-I was developed by Advanced Systems Laboratory, the premier missile development laboratory of DRDO, in collaboration with Defence Research Development Laboratory and Research Centre Imarat and integrated by Hyderabad-based Bharat Dynamics Ltd.
 
The last trial of Agni-I, conducted on 27 November 2015 from the same base, was also successful.

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