Shopping Online But Don’t Have Time To Read The Fine Print?

Written by Amit Agarwal on Feb 19, 2011

While searching for the contact information of an old friend on Google, I came across a public records website that claimed to have the full dossier of him including his phone number and postal address. It was a paid site, the fee was very reasonable and anyone with a credit card could request access to that record.

This got me excited but there was a small problem though. Since this site required my credit card details and it was my first transaction with them, I decided to Google them to confirm if it was a legitimate service or any sort of a scam.

The results suggested that, somewhere hidden in the fine print, the company had a policy where they could automatically charge your credit credit card every month if you are subscribed to some particular services.

I had two options – either spend the whole night reading their 100-page service agreement to ensure that I don’t get charged extra for services that I didn’t use or skip them and try another service.

As I was not too keen to miss this opportunity of regaining contact with a long lost friend, I tried something else – I created a new virtual credit card and set the maximum limit of that card equal to the amount that I was initially asked to pay for access to that record.

I made the transaction using this new credit card and the site immediately granted me access to all the information I was looking for. And, to my surprise, it was quite accurate.

Hours later, after the transaction appeared in my bank statement, I deactivated that virtual credit card and also cancelled my account with the ‘public records’ company. Everything went smoothly and I no longer have to worry about getting charged later.


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