My experience is similar to all others appearing on this website.
I realize the "if it seems to good to be true it probably is" axiom is true, and did not agree to the CCA "membership" without considering this fact, but as others have iterated, the "script" used by the telemarketers who make the initial contact, and the customer service people you reach afterwards could confuse many usually logical people. The assurance that there will be a 30 day review period is such a key point in the sales pitch, that I felt I could use the 30 days to determine whether or not this was a scam. I do all my bill paying and banking online, and have shopped online for years, so it didn't bother me to provide the banking information - though in retrospect, it should have been more of a red flag.
I don't recall the exact date of the call, but I do know that the $199 initial fee was debited from my account on 10/28/2005. This was 4 days after the area where I live was hit directly by Hurricane Wilma. CCA says they sent my "Welcome Package" with the catalogs on November 4th. I did receive the bogus credits cards in the mail, but several weeks later had still not received the package. When I contacted customer service, I was bounced around to 2 different departments and run through the identifying script each time.
I finally got the person to stop spewing my information back to me long enough to hear that I was reporting that I had never received ANYTHING from them since the cards - no package, no catalogs, nothing. After roughly 30 minutes on the phone, they agreed to re-send catalogs, and after further insistence from me and request to speak with a supervisor, re-set the expiration date of my trial period, though they set the date to 30 days from the date I requested the package be re-sent. If I'm supposed to have 30 days to review, how can my review period BEGIN on the same day the package supposedly goes in the mail?
After dealing with hurricane damage, being ill & displaced by same, temporarily living in a motel, and moving, I FINALLY received the catalogs on December 15th, and honestly was not able to thoroughly review that day, because that week and the following, I was tied up with a critical project at work and put in 80+ hrs each week. I was not overly concerned, because I rationalized that I had 30 days, and could call to confirm this when I knew I had 30+ minutes to spare to deal with their customer service nightmare. Then came Christmas, a death in the family and I figured I still had 2 weeks at least.
Today is December 30th. I have had the catalogs for 14 days, and when I called today to let them know I don't want the catalogs, anything in them, or anything further to do with their company, I was told that my trial period expired 3 days ago. I attempted in vain to explain first to the customer service person, then to the "supervisor" that I had only received the catalogs 14 days prior, yet she kept insisting that if I had called them sooner (though not specific as to exactly when), I might have been able to cancel. I suppose no matter what day I had called it would not have been "sooner" enough to justify a refund of my $199 in their opinion.
As further insult, she actually offered me an additional $200 coupon (I already have 2 from the package) to offset the $199 I had been charged! I reminded her that the coupon wasn't worth the paper on which it was printed and that I was insulted by the suggestion. If I'm not satisfied with the company or any of the hidden issues associated with this scam, why in the world would I accept another worthless piece of paper as compensation for being defrauded?
My concern is for the additional charges they now plan to debit from my account literally within the next couple of days. The Supervisor (Elizabeth- Employee ID#2170)stated with complete confidence that the charges had already been processed, yet at the time I write this Report, no pending debit has been received by my bank.
I asked to speak with the Supervisor's Supervisor, but I was told that she doesn't take incoming calls. I did get her name (Vernetta - Employee ID#7299), and assured Elizabeth that I would be following up in writing to the company, the Federal Trade Commission, the Better Business Bureau, my bank, and any other governing agency which might be able to stop them from stealing more of my hard-earned money or that of anyone else. According to another Rip-Off Report, I should also contact the FBI here in Florida, as they are already investigating CCA through the FBI in Jacksonville.
While I may seem completely naiive to have fallen for this nonsense, I am normally a fairly intelligent person, and wouldn't just accept a statement at face value without question. I rationalized all of this due to the assurances about the review period, which I was denied thanks to their maneuvering and manipulation of this false promise.
I took steps as soon as I got off the phone to open a new checking account in order to prevent any additional fraudulent debits from my account by these people. Closing my checking account which I've had for the past 5 years, and opening new accounts is an aggravation I did not need right now, and I should not be inconvenienced further and incur additional expenses related to transferring all of my banking to a new account, because these people are liars and thieves.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
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
Don't let them get away with it.
Make sure they make the Rip-off Report!
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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. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Capitol Credit Alliance