Better Business Bureau: Your online order was canceled

Dec. 31, 2011 at 6:31 a.m.

By Alan Bligh

Another shopping season is over, and as expected, we saw some problems, but one of the major tribulations was not anticipated.

A few days before Christmas, untold numbers of customers received emails from the company with bad news: your order is being canceled.

And these weren't orders from a few days earlier; they were from Thanksgiving weekend.

The company offered little explanation and refused to say how many customers were affected.

Although Best Buy got the media attention, the same fate happened to consumers who ordered online from other outlets including Kohls, Walmart, Target and, well, the list just goes on and on.

These giant online retailers are going to have to take a new look at handling the massive number of orders they receive.

It is a good lesson for us consumers who may think more highly next Christmas of the advantages of shopping locally despite the sales tax.

In the past I have discussed the problem with some of those charities that claim to help public safety personnel and their families. The Texas Attorney General has secured an asset freeze and temporary restraining order against the Texas Highway Patrol Association and two of its affiliate organizations, the Texas Highway Patrol Museum and THPA Services.

The AG charged the defendants with illegally soliciting charitable donations and falsely claiming, in part, that donors' contributions would benefit the families of fallen state police officers.

According to state investigators, the defendants claimed to provide death benefits to slain law enforcement officers' families. However, investigators found that few survivors receive any financial assistance.

The defendants also falsely claimed that THPA is a tax exempt organization. Just another reason to donate to our local Victoria public safety organizations.

Do you have Netflix? Listen up. Netflix is the latest in a long line of companies to be plagued with a phishing scam using their name.

Netflix confirmed the phishing attempt and stated that Netflix has identified the website used and has executed a shutdown of that site.

The scam is not just limited to Netflix customers. It uses the company's name and logo and most of the emails contain the subject line "Netflix Account Closed."

The bogus email contains links that contain phishing malware that can steal information from your computer.

Netflix advises people not to click any links; just go directly to the website, and sign into their account.

As you know phishing is a way of acquiring personal information by posing as a trusted entity in an email.

Have you heard of the situation known as Yo-yoing? Yo-yoing happens when a consumer drives a car off the car lot, only to find out later that the auto dealer was unable to secure financing.

The auto dealer then offers to sell the consumer a different car or raises the interest rate.

Sometimes, the dealer simply repossesses the original car and keeps the down payment, claiming it goes toward the mileage the customer placed on the car.

Furthermore, the dealership may refuse to return the vehicle the consumer traded-in at the time of purchase, claiming it has been auctioned off or sold.

The Center for Responsible Lending shows that 1 in 8 car buyers making less than $40,000 has experienced a yo-yo deal.

For those making less than $25,000, the incident rate rises to 1 in 4.

Alan Bligh is the executive director of the Better Business Bureau in Corpus Christi. Contact him by e-mail at



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