Chapters/Indigo not above outright spam

I just received this spam email from Chapters/Indigo:

Chapters/Indigo spam

At first I thought it might be a phishing exercise, since I’ve never received such an email before, I haven’t shopped at Chapters/Indigo in ages and I certainly never gave them an email address I haven’t used in about as long. But there was no “your account will be deleted within 24 hours” warning nor any request to log in. A few quick clicks confirmed that the email did in fact come from the organization.

I might be able to forgive a small-time local outfit who sent out a quick ad for itself to people in the CEO’s address book unfamiliar with netiquette… 10 years ago. This is just inexcusable. I did absolutely nothing to request this email. My best guess is that they dredged up their archives from years ago and just harvested the email addresses assuming no one would complain.

The unsubscribe process adds insult to insult. You’re asked to “sign in” using a password that you don’t know because you never signed up with them. You then go to the “forgot your password page” and input your email address. Then you click “submit” and … nothing happens. No confirmation page. No email with your password. You’re stuck on this list forever.

I have sent Chapters/Indigo an email demanding an explanation. I have also contacted Toronto-based ThinData, as the email was sent through their servers. I will update this post if one is given from either company.

UPDATE (9:30pm, 4 hours later): I’ve received an email from a VP at ThinData asking me for a copy of the email I received (do they not keep copies of the mass commercial emails they send out?). The email, naturally, came not after I emailed them as an irate web user but after they discovered this blog post. He promises to look into the matter “ASAP”.

6 thoughts on “Chapters/Indigo not above outright spam

  1. Zeke


    Laboratoire Biron did the same thing to me. I called them up, asked for the name of the head of the IT department (the person who was going to understand the severity of the situation best) gave him an polite but firm earful. He said he would speak to the head of marketing, and I haven’t heard from them since.

    I find that switching to phone helps in getting the point across more efficiently.

  2. Stan Gabriszeski

    Mr. Faguy,

    I’m in charge of customer service here at Indigo, and recently became aware of your concern with receiving a promotional email from us that you felt was spam.

    First, let me apologize for any issues you experienced while using our password recovery process. You stated that you received a blank page when you submitted the request. You should have landed on a Thank You page advising you that you would be emailed a link to change your password. I just tested it myself and it worked fine. Hundreds of our customers successfully use that process each day, but there might be something going on with your cache, etc… Please give me a call (or I can call you) and perhaps we can figure out what’s going on there.

    Regarding the email, Indigo does not send promotional emails to individuals unless they have provided us their email address and have agreed to receive promotional emails from us. For privacy reasons I won’t divulge details in this forum, but your email address was provided by someone using a name different than yours back in 2005 while making a purchase at a kiosk at one of our stores in Quebec. That person created an account, and “opted in” for promotional emails. The email may have come as a surprise to you because we’ve only recently been reaching out to our past customers.

    I can provide you a little more detail regarding the account in private, if you’d like me to email or call you.

    In the meantime, I have gone ahead and “opted out” your email address, so you should not receive any future mailings.


    Stan Gabriszeski
    Senior Director, Customer Service
    Indigo Books & Music Inc.
    (416)364-4499 x4805

  3. Fagstein Post author

    So in other words, you subscribe people to promotional email lists without verifying their email addresses, and you’re “reaching out to past customers” without telling them why they’re suddenly receiving promotional email from a company they have not done business with for years.

    And despite this, the email provides no way to unsubscribe without visiting a website and going through registration hoops.

    I’m afraid I remain unimpressed.

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  6. Andrew Jensen

    Perhaps a quick verification email sent the moment the “other person” opted you in for promotional emails, but definitely not the “full sales blast,” especially after this long. When will marketing departments correspond with their pr depts before spamming?! Always leaves a bitter taste in my mouth …


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