My roommate is new to this country and has been trying to estalish his credit. When he received a package in the mail from CCA/First National Card, it was emblazoned with bold sentences like, "Here's a chance to build up your credit!"
Although my roommate is a very well-educated and cultured individual, he comes from a country and culture where business scams are virtually non-existent. As you can imagine, this makes him a prime target for scams that are designed to appear as legitimate operations.
At first, my roommate (I'll call him "I.P." to respect his privacy) thought he was being offered a credit card like a VISA or AMEX Card. (Who wouldn't with a name like "First National Card")? Because I.P. is still learning English, he asked me to read over the materials and translate it for him. The whole thing seemed "iffy" to me, and I told him so. Still, I.P. was so anxious for an opportunity to establish new credit (especially with an offered $6,500 credit line), he asked me to call on his behalf.
I called the activation number provided in the package and spoke to an individual who gave me his first and last name, told me that our conversation was being recorded for MY protection, and proceeded to give a very smooth sales presentation. I translated everything for I.P. as he listened in on the other line. The whole thing was so slick, so polished, they had ME convinced that they weren't some fly-by-night operation as I originally thought.
Well, to make a long story short, they had a smooth answer for every objection I could think of and convinced I.P. to give them his checking account information to withdraw the $200 "activation fee," which would then be applied as a credit toward his first purchase (something like a stored-value account.) The rep was adamant in his assurances that CCA would first call the bank to verify that the funds were there before debiting I.P.'s account. He insisted that if the money wasn't there, they wouldn't debit his account.
Guess what? CCA debited I.P.'s account BEFORE the agreed-upon date and when he only had a balance of $52 dollars in it. This caused a serious overdraft and over $50 dollars in additional bank fees. They then sent a package of catalogs filled with cheap, worthless, second-rate merchandise that not even a flea-market would carry.
I.P. returned the catalogs and wrote two letters demanding a refund of the $200 deposit and instructing CCA to cancel his account. Neither letter was acknowledged and then *bam* a $99 debit recently appeared on his bank statement - causing him to AGAIN overdraw his account.
This time, I got involved and called CCA directly. After spending 45 minutes on hold, I spoke to a "Nadine" in their customer service department, who said that they received the cancellation notices.
When I asked why they charged an annual fee on a canceled account, Nadine responded that it was a "glitch" with their computer, but they would refund the money as soon as the account showed as paid in their system. I informed Nadine that the debit had already been disputed and that it would not be paid. I then asked for a street address to send a formal complaint letter, since I did not want to send a letter to a PO Box. I was told that they don't have a street address.
Outraged that even I - who was born and raised in this country - was taken in by CCA's scheme, I immediately starting searching the Web for a physical address which led me to this web site. I feel bad for my roommate, who is a naturally trusting person, but I'm furious at myself for allowing CCA to convince me that they weren't a scam.
I sure hope that all of these complaints result in a class-action lawsuit. CCA needs to be shut down and its owner thrown in jail along with the CEOs of Tyco, Enron, Worldcom, HealthSouth, Arthur Anderson, etc. That the authorities allow these schemes to continue is an even bigger outrage, and one that MUST be addressed immediately.
Coral Springs, Florida
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on CCA aka First National Credit CLICK HERE to read about Credit Card Scams... find out how to get your money back. Consumer makes harsh but accurate statements. *Rip-off Report Investigation follow-up provides valuable information.