Loyalty programs: Know your consumer rights

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Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Loyalty programs: Know your consumer rights
7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda has details on how to protect your data with loyalty programs.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- We all want to be rewarded for being loyal to a brand, a store, or a product.

Loyalty programs can offer a host of benefits, but you may get more than you bargained for.

The New York Consumer Protection Division says it's getting bombarded with complaints about robocalls and unauthorized charges.

Beware, because once you sign up you may be signing off on a whole bunch of ways a business can contact you, use your information, or even charge you every month.

Once you enroll in a loyalty program, your contact info is captured and in many cases, you are agreeing it can be legally used by the company or shared with a third party that can contact you for solicitation.

Loyalty programs come in a variety of packages, including credit card points, rewards cashback for purchases, airline miles, even paid subscriptions like Amazon Prime and Costco. Benefits include free products, services, and sometimes cash. Companies gain your permission to reach out with email, social media and text, and phone calls whenever they want.

This is true even if your phone number is registered on the National Do Not Call Registry. It's a good idea to review and closeout any loyalty programs you're no longer using and request the company remove your personal information so it's not just sitting there getting exposed to a data breach.

The big takeaway is that its law in New York State, once you opt-out of receiving calls from that provider, the calls need to stop immediately, regardless of whether you registered your phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry.

Any company marketing emails require opt-out options under the federal CAN-SPAM Act. Find the link and click through the opt-out and unsubscribe options.

Company text messages also have opt-out requirements under the federal Telecommunication Consumer Protection Act.

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