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Toys 'R Us Earn 'King of Spam' Title

By Patrick Mondout

November 11, 2006

Thinking about buying toys online for the upcoming holidays? A word of advice: Unless you want to end up on a zillion spam lists, avoid Toys 'R Us. They are the official Spam Kings of the online toy retailing world, so far as I can see. And I have proof.

I have never actually had a transaction with them. A few years ago I bought a Christmas gift from Amazon.com and it was "fulfilled" through Toys 'R Us. Recently the agreement between the respectable Amazon.com (who in just over a decade has never, ever, given out the email address that I used with them) and the Spam Kings Toys 'R Us ended. Toys 'R Us decided to spam all the customers from Amazon who made the mistake of buying "through" them. But it didn't stop there. They kept sending such spam even after being told to stop by both me (via email and multiple times over the phone) and by the legal counsel at Amazon.com!

They had an "unsubscribe" link in their spam, and since I was naive enough at the time to believe Toys 'R Us was a legitimate business rather than the hit and run Spam Kings that they have become, I clicked on it. Yes, as someone who was using Gopher before Netscape existed, I should've known better. But again, I thought I was dealing with a legitimate company that was running a business with integrity. Boy was I was wrong!

Congratulations to the mindless executive at Toys 'R Us who decided to spam the wrong person. Long after Wal-Mart has put you out of business, this page will still be here. Well done!

This started a month's long battle. It was not with Toys 'R Us directly (they would not reply to emails nor return voicemails left for top executives and media representatives), but through the legal counsel of Amazon.com, which felt compelled to help since it was their former partner that was breaking the law. Once I proved to Amazon.com what their former partner had done, they were livid. Amazon.com's legal team contacted Toys 'R Us's legal team and demanded that they stop spamming me. Rather surprisingly, the emails kept coming. When I forwarded the new emails to Amazon's legal department, David Zapolsky, the VP & Associate General Counsel of Litigation & Regulatory at Amazon.com, wrote that their former partner's actions were "indeed disturbing" and "are entirely inconsistent with ToysRUs.comís legal obligations."

Toys 'R Us executives are fortunate that I am not one of the lawsuit happy types that fill our courts with such matters. Unfortunately for them, I have quite a large following and they doubtless will pay for their illegitimate business practices that clearly violate their own privacy policy.

Incidentally, I immediately began receiving spam from the usual suspects ("hot" stock tips, male enhancement, free ipods, etc.) as soon as I replied to Toys 'R Us asking them to stop. And it is these spams that I still receive to this day. All thanks to the Spam Kings, Toys 'R Us.

The account in question never received a single spam in all the time I used it until the Spam Kings at Toys 'R Us came along. I am now going to have to change that email address, but not before letting the 250,000 of you that visit each month know that you cannot trust Toys 'R Us with your personal information. Should the lowlifes at Toys 'R Us wish to respond, they already have my email address, but they should keep in mind that I have all the relevant emails as well as the unsolicited but de facto legal opinions of the Amazon.com legal department as well as established law on my side; the truth is a defense to libel allegations.

If I blogged ever time I was wronged by a company this site would be filled with such rantings. With all the work I have yet to do on this site (and others), I really hate to use time in this manner. It is only when a company really crosses the line (like Yahoo!) that I respond here. Indeed, this is only the second time in the long history of my websites (that are as old as Google) that I have taken the time to publicly shame them. If they had just spammed me the one time (like ViewSonic or The Discovery Channel), you wouldn't be reading this. If they had stopped after being told to by Amazon's legal department, you wouldn't be reading this. If they hadn't shared my email address with countless other spammers, you wouldn't be reading this. But they did all of this and now you know all you need to about the Spam Kings at ToysRUs.com.

Don't be fooled by the cute logo and all the wonderful toys this company keeps in stock. They are spammers first and foremost and are clearly unwilling to follow the basic rules of online sales that legitimate companies have no trouble at all following. To this day, I have not received so much as a simple "sorry" for their fraudulent use of my personal information. Have you concluded that the Spam Kings at Toys 'R Us cannot be trusted with your data either?

While I cannot say for certain that BabiesRUs.com, imaginarium.com, and personalizedbyrus.com are as sleazy as their parent company, consider yourself informed.

Amazon.com itself is to be commended for going out of their way to try to help. They did absolutely everything they could and far more than I thought they would. They too were misled by this renegade outfit but have also managed to put them in their rear-view mirror. And they remain the Internet retailer, a partner of Super70s.com, and an excellent place to buy toys.

As always, thanks for visiting!
Patrick Mondout

 

 

Toys 'R Us logo used without their permission just as my email account was used by them without mine.
Spam can image is property of Hormel Foods and its appearance here is via the fair-use clause of the copyright law protecting parody and satire.

 
   
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