• Report: #173133

Complaint Review: Advantage America

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  • Submitted: Tue, January 24, 2006
  • Updated: Thu, February 23, 2006

  • Reported By:Salem Oregon
Advantage America
1900 Howell Branch Rd Winter Park, Florida U.S.A.

Advantage America ripoff lied saying I would get a grant and the fees would be taken from grant/no charges to checking acct Winter Park Florida *EDitor's Suggestions on how to get your money back into your bank account that was wrongfully taken from you!

*Consumer Suggestion: Grant Information and suggestion - NO grants are issued by the goverment with out a ton of paper work being completed before the grants are awarded

*Author of original report: Advantage America lied saying I would get a grant and the fees would be taken from grant/no charges to checking acct Part 3, Winter Park Florida

*Consumer Comment: im sorry i rattled on but yes your bank is obligated...

*Consumer Comment: advantage america wont come after you...

*Author of original report: Advantage America lied saying I would get a grant and the fees would be taken from grant/no charges to checking acct UPDATE, Winter Park Florida

*Consumer Comment: you didnt authorize money from your account!!!!!

*Consumer Comment: Same thing happened with me twice.

*Consumer Comment: Same thing happened with me twice.

*Consumer Comment: Same thing happened with me twice.

*Consumer Comment: Same thing happened with me twice.

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About 3-4 weeks ago, I received a call from one Alister Lopez of Advantage America assuring me that I qualify for a grant from the government for paying my taxes. He assured me that I would receive $12,500 in grant money and that all fees would be taken from the grant such that no fees would be taken from my checking account.

Being suspicious, I gave him what a customer service representative told me was a "deposit only" account number for my account with the bank since I had been expecting a payment from a company I didn't know well enough to trust. I gave this account number to Mr. Lopez.

Later on he told me that in order to complete the transaction and to get the grant money to me, he needed to ask a few questions that would be recorded. The questions asked were to get my name, address, bank account information, and my confirmation that it was ok to take the money from my account.

I answered each of the questions until I was asked for a yes to withdraw funds from my account. At this point I said no. Mr. Lopez quickly asked me what the problem was and I explained that I didn't want any money taken from my bank account that he had just said it would come from the grant money before depositing it. He assured me that that was the case, and I just needed to answer yes and it would be taken care of.

At this point, since I believed that I had "protected" myself with a "deposit only" account number, I went ahead and said yes.

About a week later, I noticed on my bank statement a fee of $49.95 for Advantage America, and NO $12,500! I was shocked and quickly contacted the bank to find out what happened. I was informed that there is no such thing as a "deposit only" account number and that I was misinformed by the other customer service rep. I then contacted Advantage America, complaining that I had been lied to and that I wanted a refund, and they refused.

I also received a little package in the mail from Advantage America with a bunch of coupons, and a letter that told me that if I didn't call within 7 days that I would be charged $399.95 for the "Grant" information services. Unfortunately I didn't see that IMPORTANT little piece of information until 8 or 9 days had passed, but I called them anyway asking them to cancel everything and issue a refund for the $49.95. I was informed that they couldn't do that and that they had already charged me the $399.95.

I quickly called my bank, and talked to a customer service representative and told them my story. They did some research and determined that the first transaction had been hand cleared since the account number was incorrectly formated for an electronic transaction. They then told me that the only way to get the money back, since it was paid with a check, was to fill out a "affidavit of forgery" which basically charges Advantage America as though they criminally forged my signature.

At this point I may have to withdraw the "affidavit of forgery" since I actually answered "yes" to their question even though I originally answered "no" and was coerced into saying "yes". I am now working with my bank and plan to conference call Advantage America tomorrow to once again demand a refund of the $49.95 since it was taken from me by their deceptive lying practices.

If you received a call from "Advantage America", JUST HANG UP! don't even give them a chance to rip you off! and whatever you do, don't answer "Yes" to any of their questions! They may record it and use it as the yes for removing funds from your account.

anonymous
Salem, Oregon
U.S.A.

EDitor's Suggestions on how to get your money back!

HERE IS WHAT RIP-OFF REPORT SUGGESTS YOU DO:

Go to your bank within 60 days of the charge, or as soon as you know about the charge, don't delay, and tell them that there has been fraudulent activity within your account. Explain that you wish to file a dispute, and demand that they assist you in accordance with Federal Regulation E.

According to the majority of victims interviewed by Rip-off Report, those who immediately called their banks to dispute the charges did not get very far. Many victims got the following responses from their banks: we could not do anything for you or you waited too long; it has been more than 60 days.

If the bank is says that you have waited too long, explain to them how you called their 800 number as soon as the charges were found, and were told by the bank that nothing could be done. Remind the bank that they failed to assist you properly at the 800 #, and instead, provided you with an inadequate explanation of your right to dispute. Tell the bank that it's their fault time has expired, and since they gave you the wrong info to begin with, they will just have to deal with it, take the loss and reverse the charges.

Tell them the truth; this was unauthorized and your account was NOT to be charged! Keep emphasizing how you never authorized anything! Direct them to the hundreds of victims reports that were filed on Rip-off Report.com. And if you're at the bank, walk them over to their computer and make them go to this site! If you are on the phone with them, tell them you will wait while they access this site! Either way, be persistent!

DO NOT TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER!

Let them know nicely, that you were advised to Report them (the Bank) and this situation to the Banking Commission in your state. Since each state has a different name for the agency/controller over banks, find that name before you call or get to the bank so you can throw it in their face. The more knowledgeable you appear to be, the further you will get.

And just continue to demand the Federal Regulation E form! The bank CAN, MUST and WILL reverse the charge! But, you must be persistent; ask to speak to the supervisor or the area manager for all the branches in the state.

Let the bank personnel know you are meeting with the media later in the day, that you would much rather they do the right thing (as most other banks have) by looking at the complaints and immediately reversing the charge(s) to your account; no matter how long ago it was. Be sure to call the Media if necessary so you are telling the truth.

If you have to, be loud (but nice) in front of other customers. If you are just calling by phone, the above tactics should still work. The bank can easily fax or mail to you the Federal Regulation E dispute form.

CHARGES TO YOUR CREDIT CARD

If the charge was to your credit card (not debit card, check card, or checking account), contact the credit card company as soon as possible to request a dispute form. Consumers usually have a little longer to dispute fraudulent credit card charges (up to 6 months), but it is better to act right away. In this type of situation, credit card disputes are usually successful since fraudulent companies often won't contest the disputed charge. In rare cases, credit card companies will review disputes, but refuse to reverse the charges. If this occurs, complain to a manager and let them know you will be filing a report here.

Remember Don't let them get away with it! Make sure they make the Rip-off Report .. The more Reports filed on a Company or individual, the more likely it is that the authorities, media and attorneys will want to take action.

And good luck Let us know how you do!

ED Magedson Founder, Rip-off Report.com & Author of www.ripoffrevenge.com
EDitor@ripoffreport.com
badbusinessbureau.com
www.ripoffreport.com

Don't let them get away with it.
Make sure they make the Rip-off Report!

We are not lawyers.
We are not a collection agency.

We are Consumer Advocates.
...the victims' advocate
WE are Civil and Human Rights Activists

We are a Worldwide Consumer Reporting News Agency
...by consumers, for consumers

CLICK HERE to read about Credit Card Scams... find out how to get your money back. *Rip-off Report Investigation provides valuable information.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/24/2006 06:58 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Advantage-America/Winter-Park-Florida-32792/Advantage-America-ripoff-lied-saying-I-would-get-a-grant-and-the-fees-would-be-taken-from-173133. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Suggestion

Grant Information and suggestion - NO grants are issued by the goverment with out a ton of paper work being completed before the grants are awarded

AUTHOR: Michael - (U.S.A.)

My wife is paid by receiving grants. First of all NO grants are issued by the goverment with out a ton of paper work being completed before the grants are awarded. If ANYONE tells you that you have received a grant and you have not been sent numerous forms to fill out prior to receiving the grant it is a RIP OFF.
We have a policy in our home (we also live in Salem, Oregon) that anytime someone calls and wants to sell, offer, or even want us to participate in any conversation on the phone we tell them we do not discuss these issues over the phone, however if they would like to send us the information we will gladly look at it and then contact them. It's funny they never ask for our address or say can we confirm your address. As a result of this STRICT POLICY we have never recieved anything in the mail from these callers.
Please Please Please realize that if they only want to talk with you on the phone they are out to RIP YOU OFF
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#2 Author of original report

Advantage America lied saying I would get a grant and the fees would be taken from grant/no charges to checking acct Part 3, Winter Park Florida

AUTHOR: Kevin - (U.S.A.)

I contacted my bank several times, and they informed me that because of the recording, the Federal Regulation E would be overturned, and that the only way to fight it would be with an attorney. Because of this, I decided to just drop it other than having filed complaints here and with the Better Business Bureau.

Today, I received an email from Advantage America in regards to the complaint I filed with the BBB.
following is the text of the email:

Dear Mr. Smith,

We are in receipt of the request written to the Orlando Better Business Bureau.

It is our goal to satisfy our customers to the fullest. Your account has been cancelled by Advantage America and absolutely no further attempts to debit your account will be made by this company. It is also important to us to have satisfied customers that we can continue working with for many years. We did submit a 100% refund for $49.95 to you with our processors. A refund check will be mailed to you at the address above. Instructions will be on the back of the check from our processors.

In regards to the authorization of what was promised to be sent please feel free to call our customer service department and listen to the recording at your leisure. Misunderstandings and/or lack of communication is unacceptable at Advantage America. We strive to work hard on creating a high quality atmosphere in our sales and our customer service departments.

We appreciate your patience in this matter. If you have any further questions regarding this matter please feel free to contact us at 1-866-503-7345.

Very Truly


Crystal Brown
Advantage America
CC: Orlando BBB


I was fairly surprised to have received this response in this relatively short amount of time, but very happy to see that they are finally going to issue a full refund.

Good Luck to the everyone else, and I hope this report can give you some information that can help you!
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#3 Consumer Comment

im sorry i rattled on but yes your bank is obligated...

AUTHOR: Elizabeth - (U.S.A.)

you were duped...just file a complaint with the bank,screw the damm recording,it was falsified.
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#4 Consumer Comment

advantage america wont come after you...

AUTHOR: Elizabeth - (U.S.A.)

just change your bank account and dont worry your bank cant get a hold of these people on the phone.This scam is like any other they get what they can and move on.You can use this web site as proof that this is a rip-off.But you dont need to worry just change the account and youll never hear from these people again.Your bank seems like they are trying to help you take the right course af action.First if they reversed the charge of 399 already..baby take the money and run!!advantage america will only play that stupid recording to scare you.I changed my account had the 299.95 reversed and have never heard that advantage complained to my bank,or did they call me.if you file an afidavit(did i spell that right??) you can always say hey,i said yes to few things but not yes to this company to withdrawl funds.advantage also told you some lies and baited you,what they did is illeagle.GO FOR IT!!!!!!JUST TAKE AWAY THE POWER BY CHANGING YOUR ACCOUNT AND DARE THESE B@#%$*&S TO COME AFTER YOU.YOU HAVE ALL OF US TO VOUCH FOR YOU.IF YOU NEED A FELLOW SCAMMEE SAY SO AND ILL TALK TO ANYBODY AND CO-SIGN YOUR COMPLAINT!!DONT FORGET YOUR THE VICTIM HERE!!How is the bank gonna verify anything anyway,remeber advantage america is hard to get a hold of because they are wrong!!!so sorry to go on and on but im mad that you have to feel like you owe something and a lousey recording is between you and your money.just change your account and dont look back,by the way did your bank reverse the 399??please update...
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#5 Author of original report

Advantage America lied saying I would get a grant and the fees would be taken from grant/no charges to checking acct UPDATE, Winter Park Florida

AUTHOR: Kevin - (U.S.A.)

I have now contacted Advantage America 4-5 times, and they flat refuse to issue a refund!

I have asked to speak to a supervisor every time and they stall and say no supervisor is available. Even if I wait for extended periods of time, they cannot find a supervisor that is not already "busy" helping another customer.

I even conference called them with my bank and still got no results. My bank told me that if I didn't change my account number, then they would be able to take the $299.95 from my account along with the monthly fees of $19.95?(not sure how much, just that there is a monthly fee of about $20). I have changed my account and followed the advice of a previous complaint against Advantage America and filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

If you have been scammed by Advantage America, please be sure to file a complaint with the BBB the website is:

http://complaint.bbb.org/



Another thing, I have seen several comments with advice for getting your money back. My question is this... If I said yes to the authorization for pulling the money from my account, even though I was lied to and originally said 'no', and they have my voice recorded as saying yes, is my bank still obligated to help me with the Federal Regulation E as suggested?



Good luck...
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#6 Consumer Comment

you didnt authorize money from your account!!!!!

AUTHOR: Elizabeth - (U.S.A.)

my husband agreed at first and was recorded saying so,then he said wait a minute i do not want this I changed my mind,cancel...cancel...cancel it!!!The advantage caller then hung up on my husband because he didnt give him a routing # to our bank,but called back 30 minutes later telling my daughter to tell my husband he got the routing # and hung up on her.My husband did call back immediately and tried to cancel this,but lo and behold 49.95 came out.I called the bank and could only get as far as getting advantage america's (puey)# and a blow off from my bank.I felt like we couldnt do anything about the 49.95,bank wouldnt help and the people at advant.america (puey) played the recording for me,although i did ask for the recordings of my husband saying cancel.My husband did not authorize the money from our account,the second time these people stole money from our account 299.95..I made the bank listen,follow the EDitors suggestions.Tell the bank that someone has your info and its fraud..you did not authorize this.tell them you dodnt want to pay a charge to stop checks..you want the account closed,your money reversed back into your new account.This is fraud please dont let it go because you said "yes" on a recording.please update us on what happens..it helps other people..this report helped me..im about 10-15 pages back..good luck
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#7 Consumer Comment

Same thing happened with me twice.

AUTHOR: Shambhu - (U.S.A.)

First time, I did not believe them.



Second time, I gave them a low balance account number to see if they are right but they were liars. There was no grant. By the way they record phone conversations but only what they want to record. All the promises are not recorded. Then, if you mentin promises during recording, they will delete it and re record it. I think the caller both times were from India and I feel bad as this gives bad name to Indian call center. Some one should do something about it. Companies should not be allowed to lie to this extent that we have so many rip off reports on this webpage. If only 1 % people report, it will a huge number. I think the company has problem waiting inthe wings. I will gladly talk with Media about it. My bank was able to give me refund but it was big hassle and I had to pay bank to stop this company from future debits.
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#8 Consumer Comment

Same thing happened with me twice.

AUTHOR: Shambhu - (U.S.A.)

First time, I did not believe them.



Second time, I gave them a low balance account number to see if they are right but they were liars. There was no grant. By the way they record phone conversations but only what they want to record. All the promises are not recorded. Then, if you mentin promises during recording, they will delete it and re record it. I think the caller both times were from India and I feel bad as this gives bad name to Indian call center. Some one should do something about it. Companies should not be allowed to lie to this extent that we have so many rip off reports on this webpage. If only 1 % people report, it will a huge number. I think the company has problem waiting inthe wings. I will gladly talk with Media about it. My bank was able to give me refund but it was big hassle and I had to pay bank to stop this company from future debits.
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#9 Consumer Comment

Same thing happened with me twice.

AUTHOR: Shambhu - (U.S.A.)

First time, I did not believe them.



Second time, I gave them a low balance account number to see if they are right but they were liars. There was no grant. By the way they record phone conversations but only what they want to record. All the promises are not recorded. Then, if you mentin promises during recording, they will delete it and re record it. I think the caller both times were from India and I feel bad as this gives bad name to Indian call center. Some one should do something about it. Companies should not be allowed to lie to this extent that we have so many rip off reports on this webpage. If only 1 % people report, it will a huge number. I think the company has problem waiting inthe wings. I will gladly talk with Media about it. My bank was able to give me refund but it was big hassle and I had to pay bank to stop this company from future debits.
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#10 Consumer Comment

Same thing happened with me twice.

AUTHOR: Shambhu - (U.S.A.)

First time, I did not believe them.



Second time, I gave them a low balance account number to see if they are right but they were liars. There was no grant. By the way they record phone conversations but only what they want to record. All the promises are not recorded. Then, if you mentin promises during recording, they will delete it and re record it. I think the caller both times were from India and I feel bad as this gives bad name to Indian call center. Some one should do something about it. Companies should not be allowed to lie to this extent that we have so many rip off reports on this webpage. If only 1 % people report, it will a huge number. I think the company has problem waiting inthe wings. I will gladly talk with Media about it. My bank was able to give me refund but it was big hassle and I had to pay bank to stop this company from future debits.
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