I signed up for online banking with my bank this week and was reviewing my 2008 checking account statements, and for the months so far in 2009. Admittedly, I've not been good about consistent, monthly account reconcilation, but I am now. I saw an entry for mid-April 2009 that I did not recognize - Business Max - for $17.95.
In going backwards month by month as far as back as I could review online, I discovered that my unauthorized electronic funds withdrawals started in December 2007 (or before, but I could not go back any farther). Coincidentally, that was the same month I ordered business cards for a new home business from Vista Print. The withdrawals started as $14.95 in the middle of the month.
My total amount owed back in the unauthorized withdrawals is a little over $275. I have not taken the time to calculate where or when an unauthorized withdrawal may have caused an insufficient funds situation to happen in my account, but in looking back, I have a good idea that even these "small" amounts did cause that to happen over the last year or so.
A representative at my bank informed me that banks are seeing a lot of this kind of activity. My debit card has been shut off. The bank rep said these companies prey on people who may not be good recordkeepers, and that the middle of the month is a good time to "hide" these unauthorized withdrawals.
Starting in October 2008, the mid-month withdrawal went up to $17.95. I called one phone number I saw on my statement for that withdrawal entry (the same phone number also on a website I found), but it apparently does not work. A phone number on a different bank statement entry answered with a recording to enter my Membership ID # or the phone number or credit card number associated with my membership. I have no memberships to anything, and could not reach any human being by pressing "0."
When I got onto a Business Max website and tried to print off pages of information I saw, my printer was blocked from printing anything. I tried to copy and paste to a blank Word document screen, but was still unable to print. My iPhone camera function came in handy at that point.
After taking pictures as good as I could of my computer screens with information I thought would be relevant to use in a report to someone somewhere, I downloaded them and put them into a Word document to print off and share with my local Fox tv network's "Problem Solvers" reporting segment, and also forwarded the photos to the Missouri Attorney General's Office, Consumer Protection Unit.
I had to uninstall my printer and re-install the software in order to get my printer back to normal. I sent a letter to Adaptive Marketing and to Vista Print, inquiring as to what they might know about the unauthorized electronic funds withdrawal, not really expecting a response. I did receive a response from the local Fox tv reporter today, who informed me about ripoffreports.com, and told me I'm not alone in this unfortunate situation. It will be interesting to see if I hear anything back from Adaptive Marketing or Vista Print.
Kansas City, Missouri