I got a phone call from IMS and thought, like many others, that I was getting a good deal for magazines, and that I could switch magazines at any time. As soon as my magazines started coming, I got a call to renew my subscriptions. How could this be, as I had signed up for 3 years already? I declined, and found charges anyway the next month on my credit card.
I called and was informed that I agreed to this "renewal" and my voice was on tape, which is a legal contract. I called them on that, and they finally backed down and refunded my money, and cancelled that account. Mind you, this did not happen in a single phone call.
Feeling that there was a simple mistake that was now cleared up, I received yet another call that I had earned a "free" subscription because of my good standing. Not yet wise in the ways of IMS, I accepted. As it turns out, in order to get this free magazine, I had to agree to yet another account of 5 other magazines. 4 days later, I was informed of this, and since I had agreed to the free magazine, and did not cancel within the 3 days, I was obligated to pay for the new order. I don't think that I need to say that I was not told about the new order in the initial call.
And so began my fight... This was over 3 years ago. I paid off the first account, and had to actually cancel my credit card to get IMS to stop charging me for the second, invalid account. I ended up settling in Feb of 2003 because some lawyer's office called me and threatened to sue.
I wish I had fought more, because now I realize that it was all a scam. I have magazines that I did not order, and I cannot cancel or change.
This is not the end of my story. This February, I got a call, at work, from a lawyer's office, saying that my account was sent to them by IMS for settlement. For the last 8 months, I have called IMS 5 times, each time they tell me that I do not owe any money and all accounts are clear. However, my repeated requests for a written document stating such have been ignored. I have been contacted 11 times by this attorney's office since February. Each time I talk to them, I "owe" a different amount. In July, they stated that they had just received my account for settlement. Now, in October, they say that they've had it since last November. Also, my account number will mysteriously change, along with the amount owed.
Sounds like a scam to me. I finally contacted the Better Business Bureau, who informed me that IMS has had so many complaints, and has failed to respond appropriately, that they are now forwarding all correspondence to the Sonoma County District Attorney. I hope that they can finally take care of these criminals.
By the way, the name of the firm that keeps calling is Luebke, Baker, and Associates. I don't know if anyone else has been contacted by them, or if they are in on this scam.
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.
We are not a collection agency.
We are Consumer Advocates. ...the victims' advocate
WE are Civil and Human Rights Activists
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. STOP! ..before you think about using the Better Business Bureau (BBB)... CLICK HERE to see how other consumers were victimized by the BBB's false or misleading information. Don't be fooled! It has been reported, when there are thousands of complaints and other investigations underway by authorities, the BBB has no choice but to finally give an UNsatisfactory rating to a BBB member business that is paying the BBB big membership fees every year. When a business is reported that is NOT a BBB member, BBB files WILL more likely show an UNsatisfactory rating, then reportedly shake down that company to become a member of the BBB. One positive thing about the BBB is, either way, if a business has an unsatisfactory rating with the BBB, you can be sure, the business is bad. But what about all those BBB member businesses that had complaints filed against them? Consumers never get to hear about them. What about the BBB advertising to the public? Is this a false and misleading perception they are giving about consumer confidence when dealing with a business? Click here to understand more of what consumers and business alike are saying about the BBB. You decide. ..Remember. The BBB membership is not earned, it's paid for!