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A Cautionary Tale about Points.com

A reader contacted me about a problem they were having with Points.com that I thought was worth sharing as a cautionary tale because I didn’t realize the power that Points.com has over your frequent flyer accounts. Here’s the short version:

The reader purchased points for an airline frequent flyer program using Points.com. A few weeks later the reader goes to log in to his frequent flyer account and it has been closed. He contacts the airline and they tell him to contact Points.com. Points.com will only tell him that his Points.com account is closed.

At this point he reached out to me, and I happened to know someone at the airline. I contacted them and was told that Points.com requested that the airline shut down the frequent flyer account, and the airline complied.

After the reader repeatedly contacted Points.com he was finally told that the frequent flyer account was shut down because he had initiated a dispute through his credit card company. Except that he had never done this.

The moral of the story is this: Points.com has the power to shut down your frequent flyer accounts with, apparently, no recourse. This is a scary prospect (and similar to the reason why people are wary of using Paypal — they have access to your bank account and will take back money if they decide that you owe somebody). You can decide for yourself whether you should use Points.com, but just remember — they have more power than you’d expect.

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  1. points.com merchant

    Points.com:
    I am in receipt of your threatening emails and correspondence from your general counsel. I will remove the two graphic images from our web site. As you are aware, we are a former customer of Points.com.
    As a very small understaffed company, we have some difficulty at times in removing links, graphics, etc. – as undoubtedly do many of your Shopify merchants. Points.com is a large multinational corporation that is located outside the state boundaries of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and apparently has little experience or expertise in dealing with cottage industries such as ours.
    I intend to publicize this bullying behavior of Points.com, and publicize it widely. Certainly we have the ability to review your behavior and the performance of the Points.com application multiple times in an extremely negative fashion via means of the Shopify (and other eCommerce platforms) marketplace, and I intend to reach out to my corporate contacts at Shopify and their developer and merchant advocates and marketplace Ombudsman directly in order to lodge a formal complaint against you and your company’s (“Points.com”) pejorative communications and business practices with regard to small Shopify merchants. It is the fervent belief of this longtime Shopify merchant that your large multinational corporation, Points.com, have misrepresented yourselves as a viable vendor to such eCommerce operations.
    Please forward to me the contact information of your corporate counsel so that they can receive the formal demand letter from our corporate counsel, whom have advised us that under the general laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, our company has rights that will be vigorously defended in the litigation system of the Commonwealth. The judges and juries within the court system of Commonwealth of Massachusetts have a long history of defending small local businesses against the unfair business practices of large out-of-state multinational corporations such as Points.com.
    As entitled under the general laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, consider this correspondence as our official demand for written enumeration of the reasons behinds the termination of our Points.com account, which was effected without any prior notice.
    Be aware that all information and communications between myself, our company and Points.com, shall be made public, as will all of your threats, written, electronic, verbal or otherwise. I have been in contact with several members of the online press and eCommerce review sites, and I have been asked to sit for a local television station so that they can interview me in order to review your Points.com application and present our side of the story. This television program and the resulting video file will be distributed worldwide and search engine optimized in such a way as to become heavily viewed on YouTube and easily discoverable when eCommerce vendors search for information about Points.com.
    I am also contacting the office of the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in order to file a formal complaint against Points.com regarding your multinational corporation’s business practices within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

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