Why I Removed A Recent Post & A Word of Caution About Its Content

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shawn-coomer
Ok I probably need a better editor’s photo, but I love this pic taken in Kerala, India in March, 2014.

Why I Had to Remove a Post

The other day I wrote a post about an app that works with certain stores to provide rebates on certain purchases. At the time this company was offering a rebate at an office supply store, but gift cards were excluded in the terms.

I pointed out in my post that gift cards were working despite the terms and many people signed up. The next day I received an email from the company sternly requesting that I take the post down. They went on to say I was advocating fraud and alluded to prosecution for my “crime” if the post was not removed.

Before I go any further, I do not believe I did anything illegal. My post clearly spelled out the terms and I was informing people about my experience. At no time did I commit any fraud nor did I ask or advocate that others commit fraud. After all, this company has access to all of the transaction data and can simply deny the receipt.

So why then did I take the post down? I simply don’t feel the fight is worth it. While I don’t believe I did anything wrong, it isn’t worth drawing this out with them just to keep the post up. As I have told others, I am just not a fighter, but I do get why some other people would want to fight.

My Caution to You

Based on what the company communicated to me, they feel that submitting receipts with gift card purchases is fraudulent. While I am confident that I didn’t do anything illegal, they did also point out that this practice is a violation of their terms of service, which is probably true.

If you are planning to continue doing this, be prepared for the company to shutdown your account. I doubt they would go as far as to threaten prosecution like they did to me, but they are most likely within their rights to take any money you have earned. I am not an expert on this matter, so I would consult your legal professional if something like that happens to you or if this company contacts you like they did me.

Where I Stand

After sending me the email, the company left my account in tact, although they removed the two $5 rebates I had received from Staples. That is fair enough and I don’t really care at this point. I don’t really plan on using their app anymore since I neither find the service personally useful and I am not impressed with their business tactics as it relates to me.

To be honest, the company could have sent me an email warning that this practice was a violation of their terms and I would have been more than happy to update my post to warn everyone. The fact that they decided to take the course they did says a lot to me as a user of their app about how they do business.

Conclusion

I am truly sorry that I had to take this post down. On Miles to Memories I work hard to bring in depth and informative writing and this post was an example of that. This is the first time I have ever had to take a post down or filter myself in any way and I don’t like it.

The purpose of this post was to both explain my reasons for taking the post down and to also warn everyone so you don’t run into trouble. Now we can get back to the good stuff!

Thank you in advance for understanding and for being the best readers in the world!

Shawn


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25 COMMENTS

  1. I am glad they called you out on it. I know you think you did nothing wrong but ethically you did. It saddens me to see the mentality of so many people that think it’s perfectly moral to take advantage of companies when issues like this arise. We see it all the time with mistaken airfares for business class flights for zero or little and everyone just thinks there the companies should lose out. It’s a gotja mentality

    • TruJeffie, thank goodness we have people like you to show us the moral high ground. What would we do without you? I plan on heading to church, mosque and temple to confess and repent.

    • TruJeffie, so I suppose we should all look out for the profitability of companies everytime we take advantage of a lucrative offer? Have you read a ToS before? they’re a joke. Essentially giving a company a right to abuse their consumers as they see fit. Sure, they tend not to because its bad business but some corner a market and do anyway. The us vs them stigma stems from faceless large business practices reminiscent of this. Hard to feel morally conflicted about ignoring a company’s ToS to make a buck when they respond so heavy handed to someone revealing a loophole in their system they should have known would get out sooner or later. This type of reaction is completely overboard and should be condemned regardless of you feel ethically about following a ToS to the letter.

    • “Ethically wrong”? Maybe?! Then everything we do for the miles collection was “Ethically wrong”! Chase clearly says Ink plus should not be used for personal purpose, then is it “Ethically wrong” to buy gift card with it? So many other things like that… Please do not tell me that you have not taken advantage of any of this. Id so, then why do you want to read this blog?

      TruJeffie, it is OK for you to think it is “Ethically wrong”. It is even OK for you to think in that way even if you take advantage of “good opportunities” like this. But it is not OK if you run after all kinds of “good opportunities” and still try to criticize people who tell you those opportunities.

  2. Fuck that company. I think everyone should figure out who it is and defraud those scumbags to death. That company is violating your right to free speech under the First Amendment!!!

    They need to be put out of business. If I knew who it was I would tell everyone I know to defraud those scumbags.

    • The first amendment applies to the interaction between the government and you, not the interaction between private businesses and you.

  3. Also you should file an extortion report with the FBI against that company. They committed extortion by threatening a bogus criminal prosecution against you for exercising your First Amendment Rights.

  4. @Mike

    I hope you are being sarcastic. This company is not violating anyone’s first amendment rights. The first amendment states that the government will not pass any laws infringing on our speech. And this company is not the government. While I agree that the tactics used were distasteful, filing an FBI report would be a waste of time. As is my post back to you.

  5. Hey Shawn,
    That makes me mad!
    I’m also taking my business somewhere else plus alerting all my friends to do the same. Hey you gave that company free publicity and they didn’t appreciate it. I guess they don’t understand the value of a life long customer and the resulting lifetime revenue potential. They’re loss! BTW…we love you man!

  6. I love your posts and think they’re some of the best on the web. I’ve greatly benefitted from them and appreciate it. I also spend half the year in Kerala. I hope you had a great time there. If you go back, visit amritapuri.org. Thanks again.

  7. Just goes to show you they’re watching you…if they were smart, they’d hire you to promote the app and company. Well done Shawn

  8. Yeah seriously they threatened “prosecution” for a “crime”??? Was that signed by an attorney?? Without having actually seen the letter, I can say that threatening some bullshit like that may violate an attorney’s professional ethics obligation. I really wish you would post the full text of that letter, man.

  9. The correct tact for this company to take was to thank their lucky stars this was made widely public and brought to their attention so now they can address the situation. If they ever thought their system was going to scale, surely they knew this manual review fallacy loophole would become a major issue. If they didn’t that explains the idiotic knee jerk reaction… That had to be a wake up call.

  10. That’s awful. I did get a $5 rebate on a non-gift card purchase from Staples. But I’m not using the “i bought a” app anymore after hearing about this.

  11. After reading this, first thing I did was uninstall this apps.
    I think there approch would have been much better explaining there terms instead of threatening to sue you.
    Its not worth to deal with this type of company.

  12. LOL! Your story aside, the comments are hilarious. I’ve never seen so many misquotes about the law. ‘Freedom of speech,’ extortion…Better call saul people.

  13. Shawn, are you not at liberty to say the name of the company? If they tried to gag you about it this is even worst! Either way, people need to know the name of the app/company so at least they give them horrible reviews wherever that company/app is mentioned on the web!

  14. I’m all for stating our personal opinions, even forceful ones, but there’s no need to use profanity and be nasty along the way. Thanks again Shawn for all your great posts.

  15. Those guys must be crazy. They got a hell lot of users to sign up. As long as their cost of customer acquisition was more than the $5 they had to spend on each ‘user’, they were still coming out ahead. These numbers do matter if they go in for additional funding. Short sighted approach to profit might lead to a bigger long-term loss for them.

  16. wow, i just looked at the app and the Staples offer is still there. I recently used this app because “I Bought A” bunch of stuff at the grocery store and they offered rebates on those items. The cash out for this app is a $10 minimum, so you have to participate in several of their offers to get enough credit.
    If you are slickdealin’ at the drug and grocery stores, I am sure you have come across this rebate app for your phone where you scan the receipts of items “I bought a” bunch of.

    Thanks for posting the info about how rotten they are.

  17. 1st – you did nothing wrong in the original publication. companies always will take advantage of a consumer via their fine print. so, if the consumer reads the fine print or knows how the system actually works and publishes that information….and it is to the consumer’s advantage……fair is fair.

    2nd – however, the company also has a right to protect it’s own interests. and it did so…..and you chose wisely to handle it in the manner you did.

    3rd – I play the game a lot and I don’t want any trouble from any credit card company, bank or other entity. I would have done the same as you.

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