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Feb 28, 2008 09:53 AM


I purchased two coupons from this site for a trip to Vegas.

A month later a $14.95 charge appears on my CC from "Shopping Essentials". An hour later, via Chase M/C, they connect me with a gentleman who indicates my recurring subscription charges began after a 30 day free trial initiated via my dealings with He agrees to cancel my account and credit the $14.95.

I may have tripped the "subscription" inadvertantly. It would be a first in my frequent internet purchases or it may have been the "fly in the ointment". has dozens of similar complaints.

Food for thought. My days are over.

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  1. I purchased something through them last fall for a restaurant in Vegas and was not charged extra. I wonder if this is something new they're doing. I hope not or else I won't be purchasing from them again either.

    1 Reply
    1. re: PHX Becky

      Here's a link (long) that explains the practices employed by Shopping Essentials and tacitly endorsed by host sites.

    2. does anyone know if this is still happening? i wanted to try this
      ooooh, so sad, it IS still happening. darn it!

      6 Replies
      1. re: alkapal

        I've used several times and never had any extra charges.

          1. re: alkapal

            You should be fine as long as you don't click on any of the offers after you have already entered your CC info and purchased your gift certificate.

            I bought a coupon in mid-December of 08 and after I had entered my CC info there is an ad or promo or something for a free gift or discount or something. I stupidly clicked on it, then I accepted something that asked if I wanted to proceed (which I should have realized was a bad sign, but I wasn't really paying attention) and then I was directed to a screen that said I had been enrolled and my card would be charged monthly after a month long free trial period. It was pretty clear right away I had stupidly fell for the trick.

            To be fair to the company, I did receive an email almost immediately that said I had been enrolled in their program and my CC would be charged on a specified date in January. They included a link and phone number to call and cancel. I called the number, spoke to a customer service rep who immediately canceled my subscription and I received an email within a minute confirming the cancellation.

            It is clearly shady that they don't tell you before you accept the 'special offer' that the CC info you provided to will automatically be transfered to the other company, but it just proves that special offers are often too good to be true.

            I think you'll be fine as long as you don't fall for the bait. I would have no reservations about using again, it was my stupid mistake to be accepting the special offers.

            EDIT: I just checked out the link you provided and I might have clicked the survey to win a free prize. I don't really remember what the offer was, just don't click anything!

            1. re: pollymerase

              polly, i think you just helped me a great bit! bless you, girl!

              1. re: alkapal

                I'm just glad my dumb (albeit ultimately harmless) mistake can help someone else!

          2. Having been a user for some time now, with no issues. I would respectfully add that errors are often human, not the company out to get us. A simple click of curiosity can wind up sending you and your information elsewhere. When in doubt, read and re-read the entire website and/or order page before hitting any submission buttons. If the company is reputable you can call them or email them and receive an immediate reply to your "human" error for immediate correction.

            Sure there are scams and when these scammers trick us its annoying as hell but more times than not, we just clicked the mouse one too many times.

            1. It's like Buying Money!!

              I have used for at least 8 years; any new city I am going to visit requires a quick browse of their offerings.

              Absolutely love and trust the site.

              9 Replies
              1. re: Kris in Beijing

                me too! I've used them for a few years now. I usually wait until they have a promo going on, so I can get them for anywhere from 50-80% off. The certificates are good for a year, so if I've gotten a deal and don't end up using it, or the restaurant has "disappeared", I'm out only a few dollars.

                1. re: moma1bud

                  I have tried several times to use their service, but when I scan the list of restaurants, I have yet to find one that I would consider going to. Only restaurants that are doing poorly would subscribe to such a service, and they are obviously doing poorly for a reason. I've pretty much given up on

                  1. re: terrystu

                    Oh my what a generalization, terrystu. Although I would agree, and my experience with this online service is not perfect, that some cities offer less options than others, I've had a number of surprise dining finds using while traveling to a city I am not familiar with. I've taken my share of chances. To suggest that only restaurants that are doing poorly would offer a discount just isn't fair or true. But, to each their own.

                    1. re: terrystu

                      looking at the list for around arlington, virginia, there are several well-regarded places on the list.

                      1. re: alkapal

                        I used to live in arlington, and i'm going back for a trip soon, what sorts of places are on there? TECC? lol

                        1. re: kubasd

                          i'm not getting it.... what's TECC?
                          and.... you just type in arlington, virginia (or a zip code?) to find out the listings.

                      2. re: terrystu

                        there are a few places here in austin that have a great chow-proval so i think it just depends on where you are...

                        1. re: dinaofdoom

                          I've also seen a restaurant do coupons until they catch on and then drop out of the program. If I had a new place I would think it was a great way to get attention and attract new customers.

                          1. re: BeeZee

                            yeah, that has definitely happened her in austin (and dammit, i didn't get the discounts in time! haha).
                            good marketing, though, you have to admit.

                  2. Just purchased $75 worth of gift certificates to one of my fav restaurants for $6 and had no problems. I'm going to enjoy a great meal tonight!

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: pollymerase

                      i just bought some certs for some places i want to try (and that a lot of people on the austin board have recommended) and if anything go wrong, i will definitely post about it :-)

                      1. re: pollymerase

                        i did the same this past weekend, what a great promotion! $25 certificate for $2! Alas, the promo expired this past Sunday. Should've bought more than 3. Well, at least I've got 3 new-to-me restaurants to try out in the next coupla weekends.

                        1. re: pushslice

                          yeah, that's why i decided to just do it-- at that price, you really can't go wrong.

                          1. re: pushslice

                            They run those 80 percent off promotions pretty frequently (once a month, maybe?). Once they've got your email address you'll be inundated with emails for them promotions, so you can jump on them next time.

                            The site will not sign you up for anything without your knowledge -- you just have to actually pay attention to what extra "free" offers you click on.