NEW YORK DIVISION OF CONSUMER PROTECTION ALERTS CONSUMERS ABOUT LOYALTY PROGRAMSFebruary 20, 2021
For Immediate Release:
February 18, 2021
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CONSUMER ALERT: NEW YORK DIVISION OF CONSUMER PROTECTION ALERTS CONSUMERS ABOUT LOYALTY PROGRAMS
Loyalty Programs Can Offer Benefits, But Are Not Always What You Bargain For
Consumers Can Always Opt Out of Loyalty Programs
The Division of Consumer Protection reminds consumers of their rights when engaging in the many loyalty programs available in the marketplace. When consumers sign up for loyalty programs, their information is captured and used by the company to contact the consumer – how and when the company wants. Consumers should know they have options to limit or stop any unwanted emails, texts and phone calls.
“Consumers complain about phone calls from companies and sometimes these calls are legal – because the consumer ‘signed up’ when they started a loyalty program,” said Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, who oversees the Division of Consumer Protection’s Do Not Call program. “Consumers need to know the law empowers them to stop these unwanted communications.”
Loyalty programs come in a variety of packages, including points (credit cards), rewards for purchases (clothing and other retail stores), tiered based on use (airlines), paid program (Amazon Prime and other subscription memberships), value-based (marketing), and partner programs (fly with us and get deals with other companies). Businesses across the marketplace use loyalty programs to market their products. Benefits include “free” products, services and sometimes cash, but the programs are not without cost. Companies gain your permission to reach out with email, social media, texts and phone calls, whenever and however they want. This is true, for example, even if your phone number is registered on the National Do Not Call Registry.
Below are key tips consumers should keep in mind when signing up for loyalty programs:
- Phone calls. Before starting a loyalty program, ask about automatic phone opt-out. If you are already a member, search the company website or your loyalty card for the loyalty program phone number. Call them and say you no longer want to receive calls and/or text messages. Under NYS law, once you opt-out of receiving calls from that provider, the calls need to stop immediately, regardless if you registered your phone number with the National Do Not Call registry.