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By (February 1, 2009) ()

I was buying tickets on the Clearview Cinema’s website for a screening on friday and during the process I became victim of a persuasion attempt by a company called Reservetion Reward. I was at the end of the transaction to buy the tickets and, when I clicked the confirmation button, I was moved to a page of an external website proposing me a bonus reduction of 10 dollars on future purchases. At the beginning I thought I was gaining some kind of benefit from registering to the cinema’s website. The page was full of text and the only clear information was the 10 dollars discount and a big shiny button : “YES”. I was in a hurry so I thought it would be a good idea to accept the discount.
When I accepted, I was redirected to another page with a bigger discount, 20 dollars, on future purchases. So I became suspicious. I started reading carefully all the information and I discovered that the offer had nothing to do with the transaction I just made for the tickets purchase. It was a service from another company, Reservetion Reward, which was trying to gather new clients promoting a subscription offer: first 3 months for free and then 12 dollars bill per month to get the discount on your purchases. Since I gave them my credit card information from the purchase of the cinema tickets, I was really afraid they could have charged me, simply because I clicked on the YES button.
So I tried to understand how I could have unsubscribed from this service and, after a research of almost 10 minutes, I was finally able to do it.

The deception strategy that they used was based on the context. The Reservetion Reward page appeared exactly at the end of my tickets purchase, making me think it was the final part of the transaction. Another strategy they used to convince me was the attempt to make the page overcrowded of information, preventing the user from understanding what was really going on. I feel really ingenuous after this…

February 1, 2009

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