Capital One (October 2013)

Posted & filed under Faraway Bill.

Capital One does this when you first sign into their website to check your credit card balance. Suddenly, a physical bill will no longer come to your door, and you are expected to figure out when to pay your bill next on their website. When you figure out that you are no longer receiving a… Read more »

Pixmania (June 2013)

Posted & filed under Sneak into Basket.

On Pixmania, a site that mainly sells consumer electronics, after a user has added some computer RAM to their basket they pre-select a checkbox to add an extended warranty onto the lightbox as they ask if the user wants to proceed to checkout, see the image below. The second image shows that while in the… Read more »

MAXCDN.com (May 2013)

Posted & filed under Hidden Costs.

When ordering from MAXCDN, a service that hosts your data in multiple locations around the world to ensure faster server response times for your users, they sneak an additional $10 a month charge into the order in the ‘Order Review’ section without making this clear or offering any explanation of what it is for.  … Read more »

Honestly.com (May 2011)

Posted & filed under Bait and Switch.

As reported by Phil Freo (“Honestly.com not acting so honestly”). Honestly.com uses a tactic to bait unregistered users into thinking they received an anonymous review from someone in their social graph. Only after registering, “opting in” and disclosing their social graph, the user finds out there is no review.   Someone created a profile of… Read more »

123-reg.co.uk (March 2011)

Posted & filed under Sneak into Basket.

If you search for a specific domain name on 123-reg.co.uk (last recorded July 2010), 123-reg does you the non-courtesy of preselecting a load of other top-level domains for you (.co, .co.uk, .eu, etc), many of them preselected with 2-year rather than a cheaper 1-year duration. To their credit, they don’t try to hide it –… Read more »

123-reg.co.uk hidden costs (March 2011)

Posted & filed under Hidden Costs.

Here’s an example of hidden costs on the 123-reg.co.uk site when you try to upgrade your hosting package from “Starter” to “Plus”. On the first screen, you’re presented with a list of options – the “Plus” plan looks quite reasonable at £3.75 per month. A page displaying the upgrade options – the Plus plan is… Read more »

Wired.co.uk (December 2010)

Posted & filed under Roach Motel.

Trying to unsubscribe from paying for delivery of the print edition of Wired magazine (in the UK) is far more difficult than it should be. This is likely to cause users to drop-out from the unsubscription process, causing Wired to generate more revenue than they would otherwise have done. Here’s a walk-through of one user’s… Read more »

Experts-exchange.com (October 2010)

Posted & filed under Misdirection.

Experts exchange is ‘a technology help website’. Paid members can ask questions which other members can answer. In most situations users will encounter experts exchange while searching Google. When a user tries to view a solution this is what they’ll see: Experts Exchange question page User are tricked into thinking they need to sign up for… Read more »

Rac.co.uk insurance (October 2010)

Posted & filed under Sneak into Basket.

This example combines a number of different Dark Patterns. When buying insurance on Rac.co.uk, the user eventually reaches a “Quote” page, equivalent to a basket view page. Two prominent monthly payment options are shown. There is in fact a third, substantially cheaper option. If you look at the grey box below the “Confirm & buy”… Read more »

TheLadders.co.uk (September 2010)

Posted & filed under Bait and Switch.

When a user visits TheLadders.co.uk homepage, they see the claim “The best way to find only £50k+ jobs”. Underneath this heading is a prominent search form.   TheLadders.co.uk Homepage The search UI is essentially a decoy: users cannot search until they have registered (see below). However, registration has a free option that allows users to… Read more »