Jul 18

ExxonMobil Bungles Rewards Card Debut

Energy giant ExxonMobil recently sent snail mail letters to its Plenti rewards card members stating that the points program was being replaced with a new one called Exxon Mobil Rewards+. Unfortunately, the letter includes a confusing toll free number and directs customers to a parked page that tries to foist Web browser extensions on visitors.

The mailer (the first page of which is screenshotted below) urges customers to visit exxonmobilrewardsplus[dot]com, to download its mobile app, and to call “1-888-REWARD+” with any questions. It may not be immediately obvious, but that “+” sign is actually the same thing as a zero on the telephone keypad (although I’m ashamed to say I had to look that up online to be sure).

Anyone curious enough to guess at other ending numbers other than zero will wind up at a call center advertising “free” Caribbean (1) cruises or at a pricey adult chat service dubbed “America’s hottest talk line” (6).

Worse, visiting the company’s new rewards Web site in Google Chrome prompted my browser to run a “security check,” followed by a series of popups offering to install a Chrome extension called “Browsing Safely.”

That extension changes your default search engine to Yahoo and appears to redirect all searches through a domain called lastlog[dot]in, which seems to be affiliated with an Israeli online advertising network. After adding the Browsing Safely extension to Chrome using a virtual machine, my browser was redirected to Exxon.com.

The Google Chrome extension offered when I first visited exxonmobilrewardsplus-dot-com.

Many people on Twitter who expressed confusion about the mailer said they accidentally added an “e” to the end of “exxonmobil” and ended up getting bounced around to spammy-looking sites with ad redirects and dodgy download offers.

ExxonMobil corporate has not yet responded to requests for comment. But after about 10 minutes on hold listening to the same Muzak-like song, I was able to reach a customer service person at the confusing ExxonMobil Rewards+ phone number. That person said the Web site for the rewards program wasn’t going to be active until July 11.

“Currently the Web site is not available,” the representative said. “Please don’t try to download anything from it right now. It should be active and available next week.”

It always amazes me when major companies with oodles of cash (ExxonMobil made $20 billion last year) roll out new marketing initiatives without consulting professionals who help mitigate security and privacy issues for a living. It seems likely that happened in this case because anyone who knows a thing or two about security would strongly advise against instructing customers to visit a parked domain or one that isn’t yet fully under the company’s control.

Update, July 11, 11:36 a.m. ET: As several readers have observed in the comments below, it appears that ExxonMobil has registered a different domain for its new rewards program:¬†https://exxonandmobilrewardsplus.com/welcome/home (note the inclusion of the word “and” between Exxon and Mobil). This domain is advertised as the official new rewards program domain via ExxonMobil’s corporate homepage, exxon.com (albeit via a redirect).

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  1. I received my card yesterday (7/17), went to both websites (the one on the card and one mentioned in the comments) and get the error message of “An unexpected error has occurred. Please contact with the customer support team.” But when you click on Contact us or any of the tabs, you get the same response. I guess Exxon/Mobil doesn’t want anyone to use their stupid card and I will continue to purchase fuel from Cumberland Farms or Speedway – at least their rewards program WORKS!

  2. Just tried to register the card and it won’t accept the card number. THe card is going in the trash. Don’t have time for this crap.

  3. You have made it extremely difficult to register the rewards card. Have made several attempts. I will just not use it.

  4. larry rosencrans

    I have spent an hour trying to register my new rewards card. I am giving it up. I was on hold for 15 minutes listening to the sickening music loop. I will be getting my gas somewhere else.

  5. Same as other comments. Tried three different days after 7/11. Can’t get to “register my card”option. Mine going to trash also.

  6. Thought it was me…hate this waste of my time on a weekend when I ned to get things done.

  7. Went to link:
    Registered per instructions and my info from Plenti popped up. Went through the drill and points were transferred from Plenti to Exxon Rewards, no problem.

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