Is Active Advantage Scam or Legit? Reviews and Complaints

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  • Post published:January 14, 2024
  • Post category:Reviews

Active Advantage markets itself as a premium membership program promising big discounts on products, activities, travel, and more.

But behind the tempting offers lies a dark pattern of trickery ensnaring unsuspecting customers into expensive annual subscriptions without consent.

In this honest investigative report, we’ll uncover the devious tactics Active Advantage deploys and explore countless angry customer reviews and complaints.

How Does the Active Advantage “Scam” Work?

Most people get duped into the Active Advantage scheme when signing up for races, camps, classes or other activities on sites powered by parent company Active Network.

During checkout, a checkbox or button offering a free 30-day Active Advantage trial membership is sneakily presented.

Many customers report not realizing what they were signing up for. The checkout flows directly into Active Advantage enrollment so people assume they’re just completing event registration.

After 30 days, Active Network automatically starts billing $89.95 annually for a premium membership nobody asked for. This dark pattern reliably tricks multitudes through deception.

Active Network generates over $300 million annually from nearly 3 million unwitting Active Advantage victims according to a lawsuit from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Attempts to Cancel Unwanted Charges Meet Roadblocks

Upon discovering mysterious Active Advantage charges, angry customers desperately try canceling to no avail. They get stuck in endless phone trees and referred to dead end email addresses.

Many complain of never reaching a human despite hours wasted. Victims who persists eventually get offers to refund their money, but only after overcoming Kafkaesque bureaucracy.

Moreover, credit card companies frequently flag these charges as fraudulent due to enraged customers insisting they never signed up.

Banks realize something smells rotten about legions of people mysteriously being billed for pricey memberships they have no recollection of purchasing.

“Shady” and “Sleazy” Business Practices Pilloried in Scathing Reviews

Active Advantage currently averages an abysmal 1 out of 5 stars across online review sites. The mountain of negative press predominantly centers on the company’s unscrupulous auto-enrollment and forced retention tactics. A small sampling of searing criticisms levelled:

“Whoa! This happened to me too, but my bank called and let me know and they ended up filing it as fraud due to their repeated attempt to charge me while I was unaware.”

“This happened to me a few years ago — the “join” option was automatically selected for me. Very sleazy practice; I’ll avoid using Active when I can, and for smaller races have even done paper registration when available.”

“I love how the popup on active appears at the end of filling out a bunch of forms, and seems to flow seamlessly from the rest of the registration.”

“It might not be a scam, but it’s a bit sleazy. “Scam-adjacent.”

“easy there, we cant just expect people to be sensical and interrogative.”

“This company has charged my credit card and will continue to do so unless I can stop them. I have spent over an hour on the phone trying to reach someone to talk to only to be hung up on or given phone numbers with recordings to be hung up on.

When I was able to talk with an individual I was told they could not help me and I would have to email. I was also given two different email addresses. To sum it all up I was given the run around!!”

Review sites like Better Business Bureau detail complaint after complaint about Active Advantage from victims expressing sheer outrage over being unwillingly trapped into expensive subscriptions.

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Many feel violated that private financial information gets held for repeat billing without consent. Some closed credit card accounts altogether just to sever ties.

Lawsuits and Legal Actions Pile Up

Active Network’s illicit money grab has not gone unpunished. As mentioned earlier, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued Active Network for fleecing consumers to the tune of $300 million.

They cited violations of the Consumer Financial Protection Act and Electronic Fund Transfer Act. Proposed remedies aim to halt unscrupulous enrollments, refund wronged consumers, and impose financial penalties.

Additionally, the Better Business Bureau reports that Iowa and Vermont sanctioned Active Network at the state level for contravening local consumer protection statutes.

Active settled the Iowa case by paying $120,000 in civil penalties and agreeing to clearly disclose terms during transactions. In Vermont, they paid $100,000 in penalties and restitution and promised to reform questionable business practices.

So far Active Network narrowly avoided class action status for these offenses. But attorneys continue working towards certification to sue for damages suffered by the masses of individuals impacted.

With abuses still ongoing despite repeated slaps on the wrist, Active seems determined to profit from trickery until forced to pay more substantially.

What Steps Can Consumers Take to Avoid the “Scam”?

Registering for races, camps and activities often requires using Active’s vast network of sites facilitating signups. So realistically, many people cannot avoid encountering opportunities to get duped by Active Advantage promotions.

Here is some advice to limit chances of getting scammed:

✅ Carefully read all steps during checkouts to understand what you are paying for. Don’t breeze through just to complete a registration.

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✅ Never sign up for free trials as they frequently convert into unwanted paid subscriptions.

✅ Freeze credit reports when not actively applying for credit to block companies from automatically billing cards. Thaw reports temporarily when needed. Consult credit agencies for specifics.

✅ Use virtual credit card numbers from companies like Capital One and Citi that provide single use numbers acting as proxies for real card data. Cancel virtual numbers after a single charge to thwart recurring billings.

✅ Immediately notify credit card companies and banks when unrecognized charges appear so they halt payments and open fraud disputes. Freeze accounts if necessary while investigating.

Is Legal Recourse Worth Pursuing?

Active Advantage scam victims absolutely should pursue refunds by forcefully complaining through every available channel: Dispute the charges and demand chargebacks from credit card and banking providers.

Report unauthorized charges as identity theft to the FTC and file affidavits with police so banks reverse payments and issue new cards. Submit BBB complaints to prompt refunds and establish a damaging pattern of abuse when seeking class action status.

Email Active Network support and relentlessly insist on refunds regardless of initial resistance or red tape barriers thrown your way. Cite intent to initiate legal action if unsatisfied.

Consult attorneys to sue individually or join potential class actions that emerge as cases progress seeking untold millions in collective damages.

With enough victims participating, seven or even eight figure settlements against Active seem possible, dwarfing prior six figure sanctions.

Pursing compensation requires expending significant effort but may pay off handsomely down the road, especially if class action traction materializes.

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Think hard before walking away and letting Active keep ill-gotten gains that properly belong back in your wallet.

Final Warning: Steer Clear of Active Advantage!

Hopefully this intensive investigative report shed light on how Active Network’s Active Advantage scheme manages to siphon an astounding $300 million annually out of unwitting consumers’ pockets by duping them into unwanted paid subscriptions.

Their despicable dark pattern enrollments and draconian retention tactics have rightly drawn extreme criticism and repeated legal sanctions.

Yet monetary punishments to date clearly haven’t sufficed since these “shady”, “sleazy” and “misleading” practices continue mostly unabated. Until class action efforts progress to inflict debilitating financial damage surpassing any benefits, Active seemingly has no incentive halting their mass scamming operation.

Protect yourself at all costs by carefully avoiding any Active Advantage promotions no matter how alluringly they get packaged and presented to you. Remember – “free trial” means GET FLEECED in Active Network’s eyes.

This unscrupulous company absolutely does not deserve your trust or business. Keep your guard up and money secured tightly in your wallet! Steer well clear of anything related to Active Advantage!

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