Over on Milepoint a member named Cartera Commerce appeared to take responsibility for running the AAdvantage Shopping Mall and claims they’re not liable for providing any miles.

Attention AAdvantage eShopping(SM) customers:

Cartera Commerce, Inc., operator of the AAdvantage eShopping mall, displayed an incorrect offer for certain products available through Verizon Wireless on the AAdvantage eShopping mall website on Tuesday, August 10, 2011. The incorrect offer of 83,871 AAdvantage® miles for online purchases of certain Verizon wireless accessories was the result of a Cartera system error. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Due to Verizon’s Terms & Conditions, which reward American Airlines AAdvantage miles on service plans only, Cartera is relieved of awarding AAdvantage miles for shoppers who clicked on the offer and purchased Verizon Wireless accessories online. The specific Verizon Wireless AAdvantage eShopping mall offer Terms & Conditions – which were available on the offer details page – are as follows:

“Reward eligible for reward plans only (new service, family share, add a line, upgrade and prepay). Reward is not eligible on accessories.”

Those who purchased one of these incorrectly displayed products will receive an email from Cartera with further explanation, including instructions on how to return the product(s), if desired.

Again, we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and look forward to your continued use of the AAdvantage eShopping mall to maximize your mileage earning.

Now, I’m genuinely curious why Verizon’s terms and conditions would relieve Cartera Commerce of its obligation to fulfill the terms of an offer made not by Verizon, but by Cartera Commerce.

And as I just noted in a post earlier this evening, since the shopping portals are portrayed to members as being a part of the mileage program (rather than a separate merchant you’re doing business with, which is just buying miles from the program), that ultimately it’s the program we ought to be dealing with — and not Cartera Commerce.

The AAdvantage eShopping Mall offered over 83,000 miles for making a purchase. Folks made the purchases. There was little ambiguity.

That said, as I noted when posting the deal originally, this was going to be so costly to honor that I really didn’t think it would be honored. As I explained in the comments, I was in it for ‘the ride’ and that ultimately I figured that if the deal wasn’t honored, items could be returned for a refund, and perhaps there would be some goodwill miles offered as a part of this.

Apparently that’s exactly how it’s being handled. Commenter dealswelike has apparently already received the email referenced on Milepoint by Cartera Commerce. Her comment:

I just received an email stating (only copied select verbiage): “Verizon’s Terms & Conditions for the offer clearly state that miles can be earned on new wireless service plans only, not accessories. While these Terms & Conditions relieve Cartera from awarding AAdvantage miles for accessory purchases which were incorrectly advertised as including a miles feature, we realize our error may have prompted you to buy an accessory you didn’t need or intend on keeping. As a result, we will be offering you the following AAdvantage bonus miles as a gesture of goodwill as a valued AAdvantage eShopping member:

We will automatically post 2,500 AAdvantage bonus miles to your AAdvantage account within the next 10 business days.
We will earn an additional 2,500 AAdvantage bonus miles if you make a new purchase through the AAdvantage eShopping mall in the next 30 days*. AAdvantage bonus miles will be posted to your AAdvantage account within 45 days after the date the merchant notifies Cartera of a qualifying purchase.”

…The email also states directions to return your item if you only purchased it for the mile promotion. There will be no fee to return this item.

I expect we’ll all be getting such emails shortly.

Update: the same commenter returns to make clear that the email she received takes her to the Verizon page, whose return policy does state a $35 re-stocking fee. So it’s still a developing matter, in the end I have to beleive that this will need to be waived. But it could get a little sticky.

  1. Danny said,

    While I’d love to see someone try to take this to small claims court, I’m still happy enough with 5000 points for 5 minutes work.

  2. Misterstuf said,

    This sounds like a good deal still – 5,000 miles for as little as 5-10 dollars in spend. But do you think that they’ll really offer this to everyone?

  3. NYBanker said,

    I wonder if this will be per order…or per person?

  4. Mark said,

    I am guessing per AA number.

    Anyway, 5K miles and a lot of entertainment.
    Not Bad !

    I will be refusing my FEDEX packages tomorrow.
    Never done THAT before… :)

  5. Nun said,

    There’s a post on the flyertalk thread quoting the T&C. They basically don’t have to pay you miles for anything. This clause is obviously there to deal with mistakes.

    Besides, even if they WERE obligated to pay the miles, they could always pay you for the cost of the item instead as a legal remedy.

  6. Followup on the AAdvantage E Shopping Mistake « Points Addict said,

    [...] did not take long for the guys over at Cartera to address the issue of what would happen.  Over at View from the Wing, Gary is reporting that at first Cartera posted in Mile Point that they are not liable to award any miles at all due [...]

  7. deltaGOLDflyer said,

    I think I will just REFUSE the FEDEX box and let them send it back!

  8. Miler said,

    Accept the package – by returning it you are essentially refusing to complete the transaction and you are giving your miles back.

    2,500 is a horrible offer. It has to be better than that, and I believe that if people stick together and even seek legal remedies, that the payout will be much greater when it’s all said and done. 2,500 is pathetic.

  9. Seeksreal said,

    I received my item today already. Guess I will have to wait for the email…

  10. Tty said,

    So we get some miles even if we return it?

  11. worldtraveller2 said,

    got the email about an hour ago. Should we refuse the FEDEX box? will that negate our 2500 points if we refuse? and the possibility of getting the other 2500?

  12. Scott said,

    My problem is that EVERY SINGLE Verizon item you can earn some amount of points for, so their explanation doesn’t seem to hold a lot of water.

  13. Alex said,

    Scott makes a very important point: the fact that you can clearly earn miles on every verizon item, and that if you had clicked to product details on any of the special promotion items it showed a “estimated 13 miles earned” seems in conflict with the “new wireless plan only” T&C. If they are going to make that claim, than there is some serious false marketing going on on that mall.

    Has anyone in the past ever earned miles for buying something from Verizon other than a new service plan?? If someone can show a posting from the last couple of months where they earned miles on an accessory purchase that would be a big deal I think.

  14. Nic said,

    I don’t mean to lawyer up but as an attorney I think I am going to try and get the full 83,000 points. The thing about terms and conditions is that they do not dismiss state laws. Texas in particular has, believe it or not, some fairly strong deceptive trade practice laws. The fact that this blog in an earlier post, as a non-lawyer, laid out exactly what that deceptive trade practice is said a lot of just how obvious the situation is.

    The fact is that we should not have to wonder if these portals are reliable. That is stupid. And it won’t be fixed by itself.

  15. jacob said,

    my order was cancelled before it was shipped. Who do you think I should contact in order to get the 5000 miles?

  16. Euan said,

    At least you have all gotten something out of it.

  17. Gene said,

    It’s pretty sad that you can get 2,500 miles for a $4.99 “price mistake”, but zilch for a $3,030 price mistake (HKG-SFO r/t in CX F a few weeks ago).

    Thanks Gary. I’ll take 2,500 “free” miles any day!

  18. Jim said,

    I’m with Nic on this one. I’m going to push the issue also. Enough complain, we’ll get a better deal. With all the social media available Verizon doesn’t want tons of negative publicity.

  19. dealswelike said,

    Make sure to look at my 2nd comment. To return the item points you to the Verizon refund policy which mentions a $35 fee for refunded items within the 14 days.

  20. Mike said,

    I say push the issue if we all group up it could mean bad publicy. This is bait and switch. What’s next , they can say a five mile per dollar deal was incorrect also.

  21. Tty said,

    I say we get their twitter accounts and inundate them with tweets.

  22. Jim said,

    I checked Nebraska State Statues for Trade Practice laws and they appear to be in violation. “Causes likelihood of confusion or of misunderstanding as to the source, sponsorship, approval, or certification of goods or services”. So we’ll see the responses.

  23. Jim said,

    For those interested:

    Marc Mazzone, VP, Merchant Services & Development, Cartera Commerce
    781.541.6868 or merchants@cartera.com

  24. Eric said,

    I took the gamble on a $5 charger – not expecting it to pay off. It was a lottery ticket and 5000 miles would make me happy. Now I havent received that email yet, though I have received the charger… so hopefully Ill at least get the 5000.

  25. MIke R said,

    Why do both bullet points say “we will” instead of the second saying you will?

    Also, Cartera is simply the software it runs on… not the administrative contact or name of the site – they’d never say “once Cartera is notified,” rather they’d say “once AAdvantage EShopping is notified.”

  26. senorric said,

    I don’t remember seeing “Terms and Conditions” by Cartera in the original posting. I also wonder how much negative publicity Verizon can stand. 2500 points, with an additional 2500 with yet ANOTHER purchase, is a puny settlement for being relieved of this legitimate offer to sell.

  27. Alan said,

    Friday morning and I still haven’t seen any emails from anyone except that my order has shipped…this is looking bad all around.

  28. Michael said,

    I haven’t received an email from anyone either.

  29. Mike said,

    @Tty and @Jim ….Im on board with you.

  30. Alan said,

    I think most will be on board for something

  31. Jim said,

    It’s getting interesting on Flyer Talk.

  32. Gary said,

    @Michael nothing here yet myself!

  33. Alan said,

    FT is a joke right now, many of the folks there are WAY too litigious. If anyone thought, without doubt, that it was a sure thing then they’re lying.

    I’d be happy if they waive the restocking return fee, give me 5k miles, and we’re done. Mistakes happen and there’s no reason Verizon or the portal site should pay up for a simple mistake…and it was certainly a mistake since the mileage value was the same for ANY item listed on the portal sold by Verizon.

  34. Alan said,

    But I’ve still yet to see any sort of email, so I’m not sure what criteria the portal used to decide who was a legit purchase and who wasn’t. And it also makes me think that the portal didn’t record that I went through them to make the purchase…based on their track record of realizing qualifying purchases and then awarding miles many of us just might be out of luck…

  35. Alan said,

    Just to clarify, by pay up I mean that there’s no way they should be forced to pay the full amount, it’d put someone out of business. Certainly some responsibility should be taken and concession should be offered to resolve the problem. But the full amount would be ridiculous.

  36. Bryen said,

    FedEx just dropped off my charger (er, paperweight) – no email about error, comp, anything as of yet.

  37. Misterstuf said,

    I am wondering why dealswelike got the email when nobody else seems to have. My guess is that she wrote to Cartera Commerce directly asking if this would be honored. There is no reason for anyone to have received this email yet considering how long it normally takes for AAdvantage Eshopping purchases to be noted by the portal and credited to your account. This doesn’t seem like either Verizon or Cartera are being pro-active to me, but rather they’re waiting for people to write to them to make any offers.

  38. Gary said,

    @Alan very reasonable position you’ve staked out.

  39. T said,

    Who do we e-mail in order to get the compensation mileage e-mail? merchants@cartera.com?

  40. Alan said,

    @Gary, unfortunate that we no longer live in a very ‘reasonable’ society…

    @Misterstuf, it’d be pretty obvious that something wasn’t right when the portal had a ton of redirect traffic to Verizon’s store, someone would have looked at it then and noticed the error. And if Verizon was cancelling orders before they shipped then someone there also knew what was going on and would have communicated (probably in stern legal terms) to the portal. So I don’t think it’s unreasonable that they’d have sent out an error email as quickly as they did. And they’ll probably come out of this a lot more cheaply if they pro-actively make a blanket offer of miles than if they sit and wait for complaints from those who notice that the miles didn’t post. I’d assume that the number who would complain would be very high since people who buy from a portal like this are doing so for the miles; if I wanted/needed a Verizon item but didn’t care about miles then I’d either have gone to the Verizon store or their website directly to buy it.

  41. chitownflyer said,

    My view is that they made the offer for the miles posted, and they need to fufill their obligations. Otherwise, a legal suit sounds like a remedy to a deceptive trade practice.

  42. footypjs said,

    A couple of thoughts:
    – I haven’t received an email from Cartera, and when I click on the link in the email confirming my order, I get an error message. That said, my credit card WAS charged the full amount of the purchase (on 8/11, which appears to be AFTER the error was discovered).
    – if a class action were pursued (something I am definitely looking into in California), I would think that it would end in a nominal settlement of mileage awards to class members and attorney’s fees and costs. It appears they have some defenses/arguments, but, at the same time, how much is it going to cost them to fight it and are their arguments a sure thing?
    – big issue may be recent Supreme Court ruling in AT&T Mobility case, which deals with validity of arbitration clauses designed specifically to prevent consumer class actions.
    – as I read the email, they are not offering 5,000 miles, but 2,500. To get 5,000 miles, you have to buy something else form the AA mall (which I’m sure many would do for the 2500 mile bonus”)
    Just my 2 cents for the time being. I am continuing to monitor it and intend to consult a firm that specializes in consumer class action litigation to see if it is something worth pursuing. Am I overly litigious? Probably, but if it’s not a meritorious claim, it won’t be pursued.

  43. dealswelike said,

    @Misterstuf – I actually did not reach out to AAdvantage or Verizon, or anyone for the matter. My husband actually received the email as well. Sorry to disappoint you :)

    In case you are wondering the exact verbiage of the email, I have posted it below:

    We are writing to notify you that an incorrect offer was displayed for certain products available through Verizon Wireless on the AAdvantage eShoppingTM mall on Tuesday, August 10, 2011. The incorrect offer of 83,871 American Airlines AAdvantage® miles for online purchases of certain Verizon wireless accessories was the result of a Cartera Commerce, Inc. system error. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. This email explains the details of what happened, what it means for you as an
    AAdvantage eShopping member, and what Cartera would like to offer you in exchange for any inconvenience or unmet expectations we may have caused.

    Our records indicate you visited the AAdvantage eShopping mall yesterday, viewed the incorrect offer, clicked on one or more Verizon accessories, linked to Verizon’s online store and purchased a product. While the offer featured on the AAdvantage eShopping mall website gave a visual indication that online purchases of certain Verizon Wireless accessories would award 83,871 AAdvantage miles, Verizon’s Terms & Conditions for the offer clearly state that miles can be earned on new wireless service plans only, not accessories. The specific Terms & Conditions language – which was available on the offer details page – is as follows:

    “Reward eligible for reward plans only (new service, family share, add a line, upgrade and prepay). Reward is not eligible on accessories.”

    While these Terms & Conditions relieve Cartera from awarding AAdvantage miles for accessory purchases which were incorrectly advertised as including a miles feature, we realize our error may have prompted you to buy an accessory you didn’t need or intend on keeping. As a result, we will be offering you the following AAdvantage bonus miles as a gesture of goodwill as a valued AAdvantage eShopping member:

    We will automatically post 2,500 AAdvantage bonus miles to your AAdvantage account within the next 10 business days.
    We will earn an additional 2,500 AAdvantage bonus miles if you make a new purchase through the AAdvantage eShopping mall in the next 30 days*. AAdvantage bonus miles will be posted to your AAdvantage account within 45 days after the date the merchant notifies Cartera of a qualifying purchase.

    In addition to these rewards, we would like to make it as easy as possible for you to return the Verizon Wireless accessory, if it was not a product you intended on using or keeping. To return the accessory, please follow the instructions stated in Verizon Wireless’ return policy. Even if you decide to return the accessory, you are still eligible for the AAdvantage bonus miles reward as described above.

    If you have any additional questions about this matter, please contact us. Again, we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and look forward to your continued use of the
    AAdvantage eShopping mall to maximize your mileage earning.

    Sincerely,

    Maurice Blaustein
    Director of Customer Care
    Cartera Commerce

  44. Jim said,

    My Am Ex was charged on Aug 10th. I expect the miles. I sent an email to Marc Mazzone, VP, Merchant Services & Development, Cartera Commerce. No response as of a few minutes ago.

    I wish the Cartera Commerce Rep had guts enough to respond.

  45. Michael D said,

    Some of you are hilarious. You all knew it was an error yet you took a chance to see if it would go through. But in the end of course nobody is going to give you $1,600 worth of miles for $5 purchase. Like any judge would hold AA or Verizon or whoever responsible for a typographical error such as this. Just take your complimentary miles and be happy you didn’t get nothing.

  46. Nick said,

    I got the same email as Dealswelike.

  47. Michael W said,

    If it was a typographical error it should’ve been taken down from the site. They had the offer on for various products all day on & off. Why did some items show the 83,871 miles then 0 and then back to 83,871?
    Maybe Verizon really wanted to offer a nice incentive to sell some products! I don’t see any error, I just took them up on the offer & would like my miles!

  48. john said,

    It’s posts in blogs like this and sites like FT that create these lowest denominator feeding frenzies. This is no better than the white-collars looting in England just because they could. Very sad.

  49. karen said,

    no email for me yet, either. my paperweight is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow….to texas. we’ll see what happens!

  50. Mark said,

    Yhe longer this goes on without any real confirmation of the 2500/5000 offe4r, the more I consider that it might actually be a fake. That seems improbable, but so do some of the other issues, like a LOT of people not getting that e-mail, and they have not replied to email simply asking them to verify what they said….

  51. Andrew said,

    Has anyone considered small claims court? I’m not a lawyer but a few of my friends have successfully gotten compensation with just the threat.

  52. reid said,

    Correct me if I am wrong, but don’t the T’s and C’s on the programs claim the miles have no monetary value? Thus, wouldn’t AA be able to claim that an award of the miles is really of zero value, and thus cannot be sued for? This isn’t like suing for MONEY, its MILES, which is a currency in full control of the party you are suing. Whats needed here is not lawsuits for these miles, which one can claim was possibly a ‘mistake’, but regulation over a system that could turn into a ponzi scheme at any point. Airlines will continue to play fast and loose with blame games and pointing fingers until rules are made to watch over the value being transferred.

  53. MDAccount said,

    I’ve received my headphones but not an e-mail. I’m wondering if they’re targeting the e-mail, and miles, to larger accounts or elite customers.

  54. Gary said,

    @MDAccount unlikely, no email here yet and I’m an AA 2 million miler with larger account balance.

  55. divmember said,

    I only have 56K lifetime miles with AA (1,900 current balance) and I got the email so it’s not likely it was based on elite status or lifetime miles. This was the first time I had even shopped in the AA shopping mall. The only thing I can think of is that I’m a Verizon Wireless customer.

  56. 2,300 Delta Miles for $5 Verizon Charger | The Points Guy said,

    [...] The American shopping website had a glitch showing 83,000 miles for some small ticket items and Gary is covering the drama on his site.  (Some people have gotten 2,500 mile offers for the mix-up, which I think is a nice [...]

  57. Ben said,

    I love increasing my mileage accounts and I certainly appreciate the thought and time bloggers put into these sites. However, everyone knew this was a listing mistake before jumping in to make the purchase (sometimes multiple ones) and the abject greed that many commenters and posters on FlyerTalk are displaying, now that this mistake has been confirmed, is frankly appalling.

  58. HikerT said,

    x83000 to what Ben said.

  59. Greg said,

    Here is a letter I emailed to the AA CEO and some other AA executives. If I don’t received a favorable response I will tighten up the language. I’m not a practicing lawyer but I have a law degree and MBA so I should be able to craft a persuasive argument for receiving the points. The email below is something I threw together quickly when I was frustrated. I know it’s probably too long.

    Dear Sirs,

    First and foremost I want you to know I am a loyal AA customer and have been for quite some time. I look forward to a continued relationship with your airlines and it is my sincere hope this matter can be resolved amicably. I am traveling to Paris on AA in March 2012. My American AAdvantage number is ******.

    On August 10, 2011, purchased two items from the AAdvantage eShopping website last night. I purchased them from Verizon through the AAdvantage eShopping website. The items were two Display Protectors – Glitter Border SILVER w/screen wipe. The Verizon order number is *******. Each item was advertised as receiving 83,871 miles for each item purchased which totals 167,742 mileage points for my order. This was quite a lucrative offer and I was delighted to receive the screen wipes at such a good price and with a considerable bonus. My assumption for the large bonus miles offer was an attempt to sell a surplus of these items.

    I have attached a copy of the screen shot for the advertisement which appeared on the American AAdvantage eShopping website.

    I want to receive your assurances that this offer will be honored. My thoughts are that deceptive competition and innovation in markets around the world has given consumers access to a huge range of choice in goods and services. No matter how a business communicates with its customer, whether it is through websites, emails, packaging, advertising, logos, endorsements or sales pitch, the consumer has a right to receive accurate and truthful messages about the goods and services that they/we buy.

    I believe it makes no difference whether the business intended to mislead or deceive me, the consumer. It is how the conduct of the business affected my thoughts, beliefs, and motivation to purchase the advertised product. My primary motivation for ordering the items was to receive the generous offer from American Airlines.

    Puffery is a term used to describe wildly exaggerated, fanciful or vague claims for a product or service that nobody could possibly treat seriously, and that nobody could reasonably be misled by. Since I have always held American Airlines in a high regard and trusted them for many years, it never occurred to me that the attached advertisement was puffery or an exaggeration.

    If the overall impression left by an advertisement, promotion, quotation, statement or other representation made by a business creates a misleading impression in the consumers mind—such as to the price, value or the quality of any goods and services then the conduct is likely to breach Texas law.

    Could you please tell me when I can expect to receive the points? I have screen shots of the items and advertisement for verification if needed.

    I know you are very busy and I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read my letter and the attachment.

    Thank you,

    Greg
    Austin, TX

  60. Ben said,

    Gary,

    Any word on an e-mail from you? What are you planning to do now?

  61. That Credit Card Application Did What to My Credit Score?? - Mommy Points said,

    [...] had by credit card sign-up bonuses.  Unless of course you happen to get a purchase that amounts to 83,871 American Airlines Aadvantage miles for a $5.00 Verizon Wireless phone accessory honored.    In addition to the huge sign-up bonuses, rewards credit cards also help our family [...]

  62. Gabbai said,

    I missed the boat on this one but did anyone buy a new pre-pay plan? The T&Cs that Verizon and Cartera are relying on specifically say “Reward eligible for reward plans only (new service, family share, add a line, upgrade and prepay).” A new prepay phone and plan on Verizon can be got for as little as $15.88. That would have been a lot more difficult to wriggle out of!

  63. Jim said,

    I sent out letters today to AA execs. If they’re not aware they need to be. I am disappointed in how this has been handled so far. Hopefully the letters will bring more decision makers into the picture.

  64. Bob Smoot said,

    jhs@cartera.com

    ….anyone send an e-mail to Jessica Hoffman @ Cartera? She is in charge of media events…..maybe this qualifies??

  65. mike said,

    We need more transparency of sites like these… Your promised XYZ but in 8 weeks they say no cake for you

  66. theblakefish said,

    Howdy,

    I got my charger today but no email with the alternate offer — does this mean that I am going to get my 83k miles? Or is this just wishful thinking?

    :rolleyes:

    Thanks,

    tbf

  67. Alan said,

    8/17/11 – any idea what we do if we’ve gotten no email? I’m curious since if it’s only a month for a 2nd purchase for the 2500 additional miles, I’ll soon be out of that realm. Still haven’t opened my headphones.

  68. karen said,

    8/20, now and still no email for me (although i’ve received a lovely paperweight). suppose i’ll just hang on a bit longer before contacting them since it takes awhile for miles to post. ;)

  69. Secrets of Cartera Commerce Revealed: Inside the Company that Brings You Miles for Online Shopping - View from the Wing - View from the Wing said,

    […] [GL: With the Verizon offer, everyone was offered a full refund and 2500 miles for their trouble.] […]

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View from the Wing is a project of Miles and Points Consulting, LLC. This site is for entertainment purpose only. The owner of this site is not an investment advisor, financial planner, nor legal or tax professional and articles here are of an opinion and general nature and should not be relied upon for individual circumstances.

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