Submitted to the Idaho Attorney General Consumer Protection Division on May 12, 2005
"Dear Consumer Protection Division,
I am writing to file a complaint about what appears to be a dishonest business operating in Idaho. I will be happy to fill out a formal complaint, but I hope this letter will provide sufficient background to begin your investigation.
On or about April 24, a telemarketer representing the National Small Business Alliance (www.natlsba.com) called my work number at 208-658-9100. Under the terms offered, the NSBA would provide a Platinum MasterCard credit card for zero percent interest, in exchange for a one-time sign up fee of $99.95 and a renewing annual NSBA membership of $239. The $99.95 would be charged immediately to my bank account, while a $239 membership fee would only be charged after the 30-day credit card trial period expired.
Under the terms the telemarketer outlined, I would receive the card and be free to try it for 30 days. If I didn't want the card, I could send it back, pay off any charges on it, and be refunded my $99.95, and I would not be charged the $239 annual membership fee.
I went to the organization's Web site with the telemarketer and was persuaded of the organization's honesty and integrity. I agreed to these terms and gave my bank account number as requested. On April 27, NSBA debited my checking account $99.95.
In a week or so, I received an NSBA packet of information and membership portfolio with a Platinum Member card, certifying my membership in the NSBA, but there was no credit card. On May 11, I called and emailed (see accompanying email) the NSBA to learn more I went online to investigate further.
Meanwhile, on May 12, my bank account was debited $239 for an NSBA membership fee. I was not prepared for this charge and it resulted in non-sufficient funds fees from my bank totaling $40. I have since stopped payment on this $239 charge, for a $10 fee from my bank.
I immediately called the NSBA's toll-free number and left a message and I also called the Washington office number listed on their Web site, which apparently automatically directed my call to the toll-free assistance number. There, NSBA's answering machine said the company's systems would be down for upgrades on May 12 which is curious, because the NSBA's systems were certainly functional enough to seek to withdraw the money from my bank account on May 12.
I have since done more research and learned others have accused the NSBA of 34 incidents of very similar dishonesty at badbusinessbureau.com.
I will consider myself lucky if my trust of this dishonest organization only cost me $150 in bogus fees and bank charges. I thought I was too smart to be a sucker for a telemarketer scam boy was I wrong.
You may take note that, as a courtesy, I have ccd this email to the NSBA, so they may be better prepared should you contact them. I have also submitted this information to ripoffreport.com in the hopes of educating other consumers.
Thank you for your assistance and commitment to protecting the consumers of Idaho."