Yup, that's right, the William Shatner approved company that is designed to help me name my own price. Here's my unfortunate story.
Over two months ago, I wanted to fly from San Diego to San Francisco at the last minute. So, I put in some bids on Priceline. I had a bid accepted for $100, which wasn't bad considering that the nearest commercial rate I could find was about $150. However, when I finally got the bill from Priceline, they charged me $179 for my $100 ticket - thanks to taxes, docking fees, and (my favorite) gasoline charges from United Airlines. Now, I called them up and explained to them that my definition of "ticket price" was the rate that was charged by the airline to get me from point A to point B. To make a long story segment short, I eventually won the argument and Priceline grudgingly reversed the charges to my credit card.
Enter Netmarket. When you place a bid on Priceline.com you have the opportunity to reduce your fare by signing up for various programs. So while I was researching fares, I clicked the Netmarket box. Turns out that you get signed up for this service whether or not your bid is accepted! So, on both bids that were rejected, and on bids that are eventually overturned because of Priceline's own mistakes.
Netmarket maintains that I agreed to pay $69.95 for their service at the moment that I checked the box on Priceline's website. Where can we draw the line? What constitutes giving someone my permission to charge my credit card?
The unhappy ending: Netmarket has agreed to reverse all but $10 worth of charges to my cards. To get the last $10 reversed, I have to send a physical letter vial snailmail to their "review board." What a complete hassle. Lesson learned, in this new cyberconomy the old rule still applies: Caveat Emptor!