Different industries employ various manipulative techniques, known as "dark patterns," in their online practices. For example, airlines often employ heavy upselling and misdirection on their websites, while news websites may use sneak-into-basket tactics.
One specific example is Shutterstock, a stock image website that promotes annual plans with monthly payment options but fails to mention the cancellation policy on the plans page and instead hides this information behind a "Terms and Conditions" link.
On some pages, Shutterstock fails even to include the "Terms and Conditions" link. However, the terms and conditions, including cancellation fees, still apply to these plans. This means that if a customer wishes to cancel their plan after two or three months, they will still be subject to these fees.
The issue with Shutterstock is not the existence of these terms but the way in which they conceal essential information that could impact a customer's decision. This practice, known as a "dark pattern," makes it difficult for customers to fully comprehend the rules and terms that may affect their financial situation.
Transparency is crucial in such matters, and customers should be able to easily access and understand all relevant information before making a decision.