Back in December 2003, I was contacted by phone by a foreign-sounding woman, who offered me a MasterCard credit card with a $5000.00 limit, for a fee of $279.00. Because my husband and I had recently filed Chapter 13, I thought it would be a good way to rebuild our credit, so after I confirmed SEVERAL times, that "yes, this is a MasterCard, and yes I will be able to use it to make purchases immediately after I receive it" I agreed to have the money taken out of my checking account.
The promise that was made guaranteed that I would receive my card within four weeks. My first phone call to the company was in January of 2004, because 4 weeks had passes and we had not received the card. After being on "hold" for over 30 minutes, I was told that the card would be mailed the following Friday, and I should receive it the following week. The card never came, so I phoned again. The same voice answered the phone as previously, and I again asked for a delivery date for my card. Again, I was put off to the following week, and again I accepted their excuse.
When I finally received my "card" (February 12, 2004), I was surprised to find a full-blown package in the mail, and when I opened it, was even further surprised to find not a MasterCard, but a packet of information with instructions on how to GET a MasterCard with a $5000.00 credit limit!! I immediately came home, called the toll-free number, and expressed my dissatisfaction with the package, I was advised (again by the same voice) to simply return the package for a full refund.
I felt a little relieved at this and immediately went back to the post office, packaged the information, and returned it to the address on the box, but I also sent it with a tracking number from the post office, so I would be able to know when it was received.
After three days, I checked on the USPS website to find that the package had reached its destination safely, and I phoned Imperial benefits again, asking when I would be able to receive my refund. I was told that they had received my package, and would process my refund in two weeks.
I made a note to phone them after two weeks, which I did. The same voice expressed that there was difficulty with the refund, and that it would be deposited back into my account by midnight, March 5, 2004. When my account did not reflect a deposit on the following Monday morning, I phoned back, and was told some other excuse, and that I should receive my deposit by midnight March 12, 2004.
Again, no deposit the following Monday, so when I phoned back, I asked for the name of the person I was speaking with, (Jim Butah) as well as any other pertinent information I could think of, trying to give him the impression that I was serious about collecting my money. He responded with the post office box, and toll-free number that I already knew, and supplemented that info with "we are only a third-party customer service, so, that is all I know, He indicated that I would receive my refund by midnight, Friday March 19.
You guessed it, no refund when I checked my account, so another call to Mr. Butah. I expressed my doubts, which he tried to allay with the following excuse: "I see the problem Mrs. X, we have so many people with your last name, it was simply deposited to the wrong account, and it has taken some time to get it back before we can put into your account. You should receive your refund by" (guess) "Friday Midnight which would have been March 26.
No deposit was posted to my account, and by this time, I am feeling awfully stupid, and just praying that I did not throw away $279.00, while knowing deep within my soul that I have. Another phone call to Mr. Butah, and another excuse and reassurance that it would be deposited by midnight on Friday, I knew that I would not see it posted the following Monday (today).
I called, and asked about the money. Mr. Butah said that the reason I had not received my refund was because I had allowed the 30-day money-back guaranty period to expire. I was flabbergasted! I explained about all of my phone calls, and he said that he is not in control of this, because he is just a "third party customer service person" for Imperial Benefits.
I asked what I should do. He said that he had no control over this situation. He said he would submit a request that imperial benefits phone me, and that I should hear from them within 48 hours. I asked him for the Federal Tax ID Number (didn't know what else to ask for) and he said, "It doesn't matter because I am only a third party customer service".
It seemed that throughout the conversation his voice was becoming more and more muddled, so I had to ask him to repeat himself several times. At some point, he said that it was illegal to record him without asking his permission. (I wish I had thought about it).
I asked how many of these calls he had received, and he replied that all the calls were because the 30 days had passed.
Bottom line: I am diligent about documentation, and I am still a trusting fool. I am on my way to my bank now, but because it has been core than 60 days since the withdrawal was made, I am not sure I will get a refund.
I wanted to thank you for the information on your website, and I truly wish I had done research prior to going into an agreement with Imperial benefits. I doubt if I will get my money back, but I do have lots of time to put into this, and Imperial Benefits has not heard the end of Karole X!!
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 you 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/comptroller 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.
We are not a collection agency.
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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.