Right about the time the government declared me disabled due to continuous migraines, this company supposedly called me and set up an account. This was during a time period when all medications stopped working and I was awaiting an experimental surgical procedure to try to help my head. I rarely got out of bed, I was barely cognitive, and I had trouble eating due to non-stop nausea. All calls went (and pretty much still do) go through our answering machine first.
I do remember this company calling us when we lived pretty much in the middle of nowhere (in rural South Dakota on an Indian Reservation) when my migraines first went to the twenty-four hour schedule. I told them no then, but somehow they got all of my checking account and other pertinent information for our new address. They starting charging me beginning in May of 2005! The first charge was $59.95 and each charge since has been $19.95. The charges are all some type of electronic checks that they write from my checking account with all my information to themselves.
Because of my dibilitating condition, I do not do much in the way of banking, focusing what is left of my energies on my family. I do not write more than a handful of checks in a year, so I rely on the bank to keep my account straight. I just happened to go on-line today to make a bank transfer and I saw this funky check. I could even view it like a paper check. That is where I got the information about the company and how I persued this situation. Needless to say, I closed my checking account and the bank is investigating the withdrawals.
It seems this company has several schemes going on, and I highly recommend everyone BEWARE of them. Like some of the other people who have written about this company--and I have yet to read all of them because of my head--I got the run around when I called them, too. They could not prove anything to me that I actually signed up for this program legitimately.
I even had to ask what kind of company it was and what services they offered. I told her I have not received any services for the 25 months I have been paying for this service against my wishes, and sked for my money back. The lady I spoke to said you could only get your money back in the first 30 days, and that she could refund me $19.95. [When I went back and investigated old bank statements back to the April-May 2005 period she said I signed up in. That is when I found out that the first month is not $19.95 like all the other charges I had found, but $40 higher! So, why was she only sending back $19.95?!] The lady at Direct Advantage also offered me $100 worth of gas coupons. I asked her to explain how that works. Evidently, you have to send in all your gas receipts and who knows what else to supposedly get your money back. Yeah, I really don't trust them, and I'm afraid if I dare send them my gasoline receipts they will use the information I provide for some other scheme.
I hope this site and my bank can help me recover my money. I had to work on this letter for hours and take lots of medication to be able to even write about this, but I hope it helps other people. I am wondering if the timing of my disability news and the origins of the charges were a simple coincidence or if someone out there is selling information out there to companies like Direct Advantage so that they can target people with disabilities and/or the elderly in schemes like this. Obviously, depending on the disability, some of us don't check out statements regularly or closely, so they can sneak little payments in like this. Little payments add up over time and over the amount of people, too. BEWARE!
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!
We are not lawyers.
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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.