I’m pretty free-wheeling when it comes to my data being used by marketers and corporations, but I do expect them to behave in a conscientious and transparent way.  CVS provided an example of the exact opposite of what I mean today.

I went to the CVS in Target near our house to get my flu shot.  While going through the purchase process, I was asked to confirm my phone number.

Then, after confirming my phone number, I was given the option to receive text messages and phone calls regarding prescriptions, medical information, and marketing messages.  I wish I had taken a picture of the screen.  If I wanted to receive those messages, I could simply click “yes.”

There was no “no” option.

Instead, I was give the option to “print information,” which I did and was given a sheet with a phone number I could call to “manage [my] automated outreach preferences.”

I called the number and spoke to customer service representatives who didn’t immediately know why I was calling.  I had to explain what happened and read from the slip of paper before they understood what I wanted.  They informed me that it could take several days to be opted out of the messages I never opted in to receive in the first place.

Minutes after hanging up from that phone call and under an hour after the time of the initial transaction, I received one such marketing message:

I did click on the survey link to try to see if they would give me an opportunity to complain, but the survey asked if I had a prescription filled. I did not have a prescription filled; I got a flu shot.  Therefore, I was not given access to the rest of the survey.

You may note once again that I did not click “yes” and consent to receive marketing messages and yet I still received a marketing text.  Perhaps I opted in to receive these communications in the past. I’m not 100% sure because this opt-in process lacks clarity and opting out is in a more difficult, slower, and less transparent channel. I don’t believe I did, though, and this opt-in process doesn’t meet a standard of basic courtesy.

Some may argue that this isn’t really a marketing message since it is directly connected to a transaction.  Fair enough in terms of how the lawyers might regard this, but as a customer this is unacceptable.

CVS, you should know better. You can and should do better.


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