This post isn’t going to be a fun one like normal I’m afraid. I’m here to talk to you about the Subscription Trap. What they are, and how I, a very computer literate, and computer safety aware individual, was caught off guard and fell face first into the well of scams, criminality and down right cuntery (sorry) of a website named My Trip Online. Hold onto your pants, this one is sweary…. bye bye SEO….
So this year my wife and I are celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary… You get less for murder…. Am I right lads? Ho ho….. And to celebrate we are going to visit family in Canada. Canada, like the US, needs you to fill out a government form named an ETA (ESTA for the Americans). You basically just provide them with upfront details about your passport, age, address, if you have any criminal convictions, are you a terrorist, etc etc. Super easy, you don’t need a Bachelor’s degree to fill any of the information in.
So, off we went, type onto Google, Canada ETA application, hit search. First result is a link straight to the form page on what looks liks the offical Canadian website…. Now I say looks like… I’d previously been on the Canadian government website, and it has a distinctly boring white header with the Canadian flag and some text in English and French. Funily enough, so does this website.
I’d like to just interupt myself here briefly for some context. All that follows is directly after we had spent over 3 hours struggling to book the flights. As our family live in multiple locations, we needed to arrange a few internal flights from one side of the country to the other. And this particular day, the Air Canada website wasn’t working, and I had to speak to them directly on the phone. Its also quite late, and we just wanted to get the important things done.
Right, back to the story…
So we are on the website, and we fill out the form, get to the payment section, pop in my card details, and I’m prompted to add more people, so off I go, I add my son, then I add my wife. $7 each, nice and easy, wham bam thank you mam. Nope.
Fast forward 4 days, its 10:50pm, I’m laying in bed about to have a sneeky go on Final Fantasy X on my Retroid Pocket 3+. Ping goes my phone, its the bank. You have 2 incoming charges for £73.99 from My Trip Online. Excuse me? What the fuck is this? Quick log into my bank and there they were. Two pending charges to my account. I quickly send a message in my banking app chat to say I haven’t authorised this, but I’m too late for the night. The chat closed at 11pm and its now 5 passed. Shit. What the fuck even is this website? My wife and I start looking online, and what we found made me very, very angry… As my son T would say “Hulk Smash”.
It didnt take long to find a worrying Trust Pilot page all about this (Look around and you’ll find my review in there soimewhere).
So what happened? Well, apparently, after I clicked pay for the $7 government admin fee, I had actually also signed up for this websites premium consiege service. With a glorious 3 days free trial, and then what happens after 3 days? Well you get charged, upfront, for 3 months. And aren’t I lucky, I get charged twice because I added my wifes email accound to her application rather than use my own. So now she was signed up also, but it had my card details associated with it.
I’d like to point out that at absolutely no point had there been any indication that this wasn’t legit. Okay, I had a little red flag when I received an email saying that the charges will show as my trip online. But I’ve never been to Canada before, never filled this form out. For all I knew, they outsourced this documentation to a third party. Ofcourse, had I not been tired, maybe I’d have done a bit more of a look. But seriously, at absolutely no point during my entire time on their site, was there any information at all about subscriptions, free trials, upront payments, and oh…. NO FUCKING REFUNDS.
How they getcha…
So I did some digging. Using both my mobile phone, and my PC. Both with decent resolutions, there is nothing that says about the trial and subscription fee….except in one place. At the very, very, very bottom of the page where you click, submit, after putting your card information in, in very small text. And in order to see it? Well you have to scroll down off screen. They have purposefully hidden this information from you. Cunts.
I’ve now learned that this is called a Subscription Trap. Purposefully misleading, or lack there of, information being provided to the user, to lure them into a subscription fee, with a very small window of opportunity of cancellation, and no chance of a refund. Nothing on their website, no confirmation emails with any information confirming the subscription, nothing confirming the trial period. Nothing. Silence.
So where am I now. Well I’m about 6 or 7 emails deep with their customer service team. They are refusing point blank to refund me. And I supose where I spouted off to them about being criminals hasn’t helped my case. But there is hope. My bank. Even if I don’t get a refund, they have been blocked and will be unable to claim any more money from me.
But I suppose one good thing has come out of all this. I get to warn you about it, and hopefully you won’t fall into the same piss ridden, cunt forged, twat built, wanker trap I have…. Fuck me it stinks in here.