First National Benefits, ostensibly based in Charlotte, NC, also ostensibly based in Miami, FL contacted me in May of this year, informing me that I was going to receive a Federal Grant of $12,500 plus $500 in cash for reviewing their offers for a National Health Care Plan, and a long-distance phone service, all for a "one-time fee" of $29.95 which would be automatically deducted from my checking account, after the grant had been placed in my account. I could review both the healthcare package and the phone service for seven days, after which time I would be automatically billed $299 and $49.95 respectively unless I chose to cancel one or both.
Foolish me, I fell for it, and the $29.95 was deducted from my checking account, without the promised payment being put in. A couple weeks later I received a letter from "Erika Roberts", Director of Customer Service for First National Benefits in Charlotte, NC telling me I would be receiving a package in three to four weeks telling me how to sign up for information on the First National Health Care Plan, and how to sign up for information on how to apply for Federal Grants. This was in direct contravention to what I had been promised on the phone, but that's neither here nor there; the package never arrived.
Just a few days ago, they called me and made the same offer again. When I challenged them on it, (fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me) the person apologized and said the grant would be in my checking account "within the hour." That was last Friday. Today, (Monday) it still isn't there. I've taken the appropriate steps to prevent further charges to my account and filed a dispute.
Numerous calls made to their customer service number have been completely fruitless. Regardless of the time of day that I call, I received either a busy signal or a recorded message saying all representatives were busy.
A phone call made to Netcliex, the company that processed the $29.95 electronic deduction allowed me to discover the electronic check, which was made out to First National Benefits, was actually submitted for processing by "First National Health Care", and claimed as payment for information on applying for government grants, information which I never received.
This is very slick operating, and I've prevented it from happening again by closing my checking account and filing a dispute. I intend to do whatever I can to see that this is investigated further.
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 bad
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.