Monday, July 27, 2009

Scam Alert - check your credit cards

First, I was taken by this credit card scam in early 2008. Now Mr. B's card has succumbed. PLEASE check your credit cards if you've ordered anything from ProFlowers, Blair or, well, just check your statements for a recurring charge you don't recognize or for which you're receiving no service.

The scam works like this: a customer purchases something either online or via an 800 number. (In my case it was a pair of pants through Blair.com in spring 2008. In my husband's case, on a different credit card account, I can't figure out which of his few orders might have set it off.) When the customer places his/her order, of course he/she provides a credit card number. Somehow, that credit card number is then shared with Easy Saver/American Leisure which charges $1.95 immediately. Each month thereafter, Easy Saver/American Leisure/EMI Encore Marketing International charges the unsuspecting customer $14.95 via credit card. If the customer doesn't comb through her/his bills, the charge isn't caught - often for months at a time.

Getting out of the service is very difficult. The company representatives are not cooperative and claim they cannot refund the charges. They also claim that the customer KNOWINGLY signed up for the service. In both my husband's case and mine, I assure you we had no idea we were signing up for some sort of membership service. Check out the various complaints on the Internet and you'll see others had no idea either. Countless others have been scammed by this company.

So go ahead. Pull out your latest credit card statement.

Yep.

On ALL your cards (even the one frozen in the ice-cube tray and that one you've had locked in the safe for a year).

If you find the charge on your card:
- contact the bank that issued the card and contest the charges;
- contact the "membership service" that has been placing the charges on your card;
- file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (it's super easy - 5 minutes max.);
- file a complaint with this office of the Better Business Bureau;
- tell your friends and family so they can protect their wallets, too;
- then never again order from the company that got you in this predicament in the first place.

Good luck!


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2 comments:

  1. Thanks I'll pass this on. I do look at my statements but maybe not that close.

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  2. Yes, folks, I DO reconcile my accounts. But somehow this still sneaked through.

    An update on our latest trip through this program - yesterday I called "EasySaver." The customer service rep initially tried to keep me on board, but I assured her I'd been through this before and that I simply needed the program stopped and my money refunded. She agreed to cancel the "membership" and refund me for two months' fees. I told her the company needed to refund the full amount. Of course she said she wasn't "authorized" to do so.

    She tried to forward me on to their "complaints department." After about 10 minutes on hold (there's a timer on our phone), she returned with an apology. Seems even SHE couldn't get through to the "complaints department." She gave me the option to call back another time, but at this point I was coloring with V, so mindlessly waiting on hold was no big deal.

    A few minutes later she returned, saying she still couldn't get through, so she'd forward me to her supervisor. I was put on hold and MOMENTS later the same customer service agent returned, and said I'd seen the full refund to my account "over the next month or two."

    Well, I hope they stick with their word. I also hope we don't get caught up in this again. And I hope someone brings this practice to a stop.

    I wonder how much they make off unsuspecting consumers each month...

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