This guy found out the hard way.
ING Direct filed a civil suit against Breck Yunits in U.S. District Court last week, claiming the 2007 Duke University graduate used the ING trademark and potential customers’ e-mails to improperly gain close to $10,000 from the bank’s “Refer a Friend” program. …
In the suit, ING alleges Breck Yunits created a Web site with an address and domain name “ingdirect25.com” in May, a move that infringed on the corporate name and trademark, the lawsuit said.
Further, through the Web site, ING alleges Breck Yunits referred 918 new customers – far more than the limit of 25, resulting in a profit of $9,180, far in excess of the $250 limit, per the rules of the promotion, the lawsuit said.
While the suit is technically over the use of ING Direct's name in his site's promotion, Yuntis's brother alleges the bank paid out all of the referral bonuses — and then took them away from his account with no warning.
“They never, ever notified him, never sent a written notice, never told him to stop, never issued a cease and desist,” Conor Yunits said. “In fact, he had been getting phone calls from them all summer long, thanking him for the referrals.”
For a bank with such good customer service and technological foresight, it's surprising to hear that they would be sloppy enough to let any user use more than 25 referrals.
Massive hat tip: The Sun's Financial Diary