My husband noticed the $9.95 monthly, recurring AP9 Businessmax charge on my credit card statement, and asked what it might be. I thought it sounded fishy, and knew it was not the $22 monthly I pay for internet or anything related to it.
Their phone number 8885842217 appears on the credit card, so he tried calling it. But we don't have long distance at home, so he was forced to try the internet as a source instead.
A Google search for Businessmax turned up the website for the AP9 Businessmax program which desribes a club with special discounts for auto rentals, gift cards, etc. He thought maybe I started a legitimate'membership' gift card/credit card to get a better deal at a store (e.g. we got special cards from Best Buy and Kohls recently).
But he read further and found the valuable material at Ripoffreport.com, which made us think it's more likely a scam instead. We determined that between July and October, we'd been billed $9.95 monthly by MWI Businessmax, each time early in the month. On 10/31 MWI changed to AP9 Businessmax, and we were billed 5 more times each at the end of the month for a grand total of just under $90.00. The reason for the switch remains a mystery.
Several Ripoffreport.com emails mention Vistaprint, and a look at the credit report month of June determined that I indeed had ordered 'Free' business cards from Vistaprint for the shipping charge of $5.95.
We followed the advice of the editor at your site--calling Businessmax, demanding that they terminate the charges, and stating that we suspected they were indeed a scam and we would endeavor to recover any charges via the credit card company. Note that we received a confirmation code from Businessmax, but no argument or denial that what we claimed was false.
(A 'rebuttal' on this site notes that there is a small 'I decline' button during the popups in the confirmation process, and makes the point that everyone should pay attention to the fine print of what they are clicking through. This is great advice, but unless it is going to be the grounds for a legal argument by Businessmax, they certainly did not try to make that defense over the phone...)
We immediately also called our credit card company--a good idea, actually, because they cancelled the card, noting that if cc info has been used, it might be used at anytime in the future by the offending party--whether they've supposedly cancelled an account or not. They are sending us a fraud dispute form, a process that is a bit cumbersome, but necessary I suppose to get everything in writing.
A couple things to note about why this works and how it can be prevented
(1) The charges were only $9.95, so they were easy to overlook. One should look at all charges monthly, esp those that appear to be recurring. We may lose a couple months recompense because we were too lazy to address the problem immediately upon finding it.
(2) On a credit card statement here is no address, just a phone#, which makes sense for an Internet company, but it makes it harder to verify against memory of monthly charges made. Because it is an 888 number it may be difficult to contact for those who use a phone card for long distance.
(3) Normally I don't recommend husbands/wives snooping if they have different credit cards, but if one person is too busy to do due diligence, it may make sense for the other person to ask about mystery charges
(4) Buying from a small company on the web may be risky. In the future I will always try to look up what I can online at the Better Business Bureau (& Ripoffreport) before I give my credit card number to someone I don't know as an established business.
(5) Not sure what is going on in the shift from MWI Businessmax to AP9 Businessmax (appears we were automatically enrolled into a new program at the same price). Not sure either about the shift from early-in-month billing to end-of-month billing, but am interested in any theories about what the company may be doing.
(6) Legitimate internet companies almost always will send a confirmation notice of any charges, or any services they will be providing. Businessmax provided no email or snail mail information confirming my order or providing a list of what I was to receive. This is atypical of good internet business practices, if not just shady.
Just getting this issue cleared up and dealt with is a big hassle--new credit card requires contacting all those who legitimately bill the card monthly, plus a wait of up to 7 days, plus the time to research this and write the complaining email--cathartic as it may be. The cost in time lost may be far greater than the $90 that I'm uncertain I may receive any of.
Lesson learned: check your credit card statement with a fine tooth comb monthly. It is embarassing to publicly admit you overlooked 9 months of a questionable charge. If you can get electronic access that gives immediate access to charges, get that too, and keep on top of every item, so you have up-to-the-minute confidence in the state of your finances. Beware of offers that seem too good to be true--look very closely for the catch. And finally, use credit rather than debit in all circumstances where there is any uncertainty about the amount or length of your commitment to some offer, however 'trial' it may appear.
PS: The Vistaprint business cards themselves, as most people seem to be saying, were great. Maybe Vistaprint/Businessmax (the precise relation between the two is an interesting question) blew an opportunity for a legitimate customer base!
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.