Dark Patterns : Square or Squareup privacy not privacy

To Squareup(.)com privacy is not privacy. I’m studying Dark Patterns, and then suddenly I’m trapped in a Dark Pattern at Squareup! If you plan to dine using your charge card, ask FIRST if they use Square. If they do, then leave the restaurant or store. I’ve learned that big-tech web sites may be worse than charge card scalpers! The best policy is to use cash.

The Day After — Truth is not truth.

My wife an I were tired and weary after a day of travel, and decided to visit an Indian restaurant just around the corner from our hotel. We had a lovely dinner, and when it was over, the tab was just a little more than the amount of cash I had on hand. (I’ve started paying cash for as many situations as I possibly can just to avoid identity theft and fraud!)

The lady swiped my card, and turned the iPad screen toward me to sign. She asked if I needed a receipt and I said no, never mind. We left and all was forgotten . . . until the next day.

My phone rings and it’s a contact I have in Florida relating to boats. NO, it’s not about boats, he says, it’s about your dinner at the Indian restaurant last night. What?

This is what SquareUp and other dark pattern sites call “privacy” — except I never gave them an email address. And, I said no receipt is necessary. I do not have a Square account, and to my knowledge I’ve never used a Square seller.

I tried my best to contact them to find out how they got my contact’s email address, and why they sent the receipt to him — but no luck. Cannot find a phone number or contact.

If you click “Contact” you end up here. These are your contact choices

Dark Patterns

@Squareup employs a “Dark Pattern” to their contacts and each click where you think you’re contacting them takes you to a generic list of links.

Here’s the contact page. Notice how they make you “agree” to the terms BEFORE you can contact them. As I click deeper and deeper into Square’s roach hotel because all of the options go to a dead address that requires me to have an account. Yet they can send my receipt to a stranger without an account? Really?

This is Squareup’s idea of how to contact them. But what if you don’t want to share personal data?

I finally got a “support” form and filled it out. They responded with a canned response about never giving away email or personal information — which they just did.

Squareup.com responded with THIS canned statement. I could not take the complaint further, short of a subpoena

Here’s the killer: Privacy is not privacy.

In digging through thousands of words which make up Square’s terms of service (TOS) I finally find an address for contacting legal. But in reading all the legal yarns it became perfectly clear that the word privacy has no meaning to Square. By agreeing to their policies, which you have to click at every page, you are waiving all forms of privacy.

I’ve written to privacy@squareup.com, the address they list, but have, so far, no response.

Questions for Squareup :

  1. How did they get the address of a contact in Florida??
  2. Why did they send my receipt to him after I said no receipt?

And you’re wondering why things suck so badly online. Somebody needs to challenge the “auto opt in” structure in court. I don’t appreciate that restaurant sending my receipt to a person a thousand miles away, with no reason to get my receipt what so ever. I feel like it’s a blatant invasion of my privacy and rights. If it’s not a violation of some law, then it should be. What are we thinking to let this kind of crookedness go unchecked?

Good day, and good luck surviving the online world

squareup.com/legal/privacy

Here’s what they say to the question : How can I learn more about why I received an incorrect receipt?

Learn more about Dark Patterns

Here’s an excellent article on dark patterns

@Squareup, #squareup

Photo by Pawel Janiak on Unsplash

Dark pattern: Even the “chat” guy sends you to the SAME contact form.

60-Second Window

Fred Showker on design, graphics, tech and media, since 1987

Fred Showker

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Design, Typography & Graphics Magazine and 60-Seconds exploring technology since 1987

60-Second Window

Fred Showker on design, graphics, tech and media, since 1987