Now that forced and hidden continuity programs are getting such a bad reputation online, as an Internet lawyer, I’m seeing the the latest fad is microcontinuity. Specifically, selling website visitors on a limited time program, such as a 3-month webinar series with monthly payments automatically pulled from the client’s credit card each month.
The big selling point for micro-continuity is that it provides clients with definite pricing. In the preceding example, a 3-month webinar series billed in 3 equal installments of $29.97 would result in gross profits of $89.91 (29.97 * 3).
And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this if the terms are clearly disclosed. Indeed, this can be an attractive offer when one includes bonuses that exceed the value of the purchase price.
So what’s the catch?
The same scam artists who abused continuity to begin with apply the same techniques to con people using microcontinuity scams.
Although your Internet lawyer can map it out for you, here’s how it typically works…
The offer contains a micro-continuity program plus several valuable bonuses. However, hidden within the bonuses or in the fine print on the order page is a “free trial” of an ongoing continuity program. In addition to buying the micro-continuity, the client unwittingly buys into another continuity program where billing starts when the free trial ends (usually in 14 or 30 days).
The key legal issue is full disclosure. If the average client wouldn’t understand that there’s a second continuity program triggered with the purchase of the micro-continuity program, that’s a sign the sales copy and ordering process is deceptive.
Don’t ruin your reputation by pulling a stunt like this or promoting these types of scams as an affiliate. It is a question of when, not if, the Federal Trade Commission cracks down on this misconduct. You don’t want to be the target. And if the FTC doesn’t come knocking, maybe you’ll have an unhappy client retain an Internet lawyer to deal with it.