• Report: #175939

Complaint Review: Provell

  • Submitted: Sun, February 12, 2006
  • Updated: Wed, July 05, 2006

  • Reported By:New York New York
Provell
11100 Wayzata Boulevard, Suite 680 Minneapolis, Minnesota U.S.A.

Provell - Value Plus - Michael J. Murphy Is The Director Of Consumer Affairs ripoff, direct marketing, fradulent billing Minneapolis Minnesota

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Just a suggestion

*Author of original report: Can't let it stand like that...

*Author of original report: Can't let it stand like that...

*Author of original report: Can't let it stand like that...

*Author of original report: Can't let it stand like that...

*UPDATE Employee: This is my last response (i think everything is pretty much settled now)

*Author of original report: My point still stands...

*UPDATE Employee: I hope this is the final response needed.

*Author of original report: And the coincidence expands...

*Consumer Comment: You obviously misunderstand many things

*UPDATE Employee: A Response...

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This company called me shortly after I ordered a product online or from an infomercial (that's how they got my info.) I decided to try the service on a trial basis but I cancelled this membership during the trial period and of course made sure to write down my confirmation #. A few weeks later, I discovered a charge against my account. Naturally, I called and spoke to a rep. that wasn't sure why the cancellation didn't take but offered to re-cancel it. Now, how stupid is that? I told her that wasn't good enough but I had to argue with her in order to speak to a supervisor and finally she gave me a name. I called back and the first-line agent who answered this time tried to pretend like she didn't see the cancellation until I start rattling off the names of reps.

I'd spoken to and the times of these conversations and the cancellation number. Finally, I was transferred to a supervisor who was rude and powerless to reverse the charge so she claimed.

I eventually got my money back but I had to have my bank dispute the charge. I believe this company makes it money by not canceling as requested and siphoning $20/month from people hoping they won't notice. I informed the Michigan Attorney General and the Better Business Bureau of the shady dealings of this company. The company's respondent lied in his reply letter which goes to show you exactly what time of scumbag company this is. My advice in dealing with this shady company and service is to turn down the offer. But, if you don't and you have trouble canceling your membership, report them to the Attorney General and BBB. Eventually, with enough proof this scheme can be revealed for what it is and this company appropriately dealt with.

A. A.
New York, New York
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/12/2006 02:01 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Provell/Minneapolis-Minnesota-55305/Provell-Value-Plus-Michael-J-Murphy-Is-The-Director-Of-Consumer-Affairs-ripoff-direc-175939. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Just a suggestion

AUTHOR: Jessica - (U.S.A.)

I have one small suggestion about dealing with Provell, when you call up to deal with any aspect of a Provell membership, keep in mind your not calling Provell directly, you are speaking with a rep in a call center that handles many different programs on a daily basis. Things that these reps may or may not say to you are scripted, this is done to attempt to ensure uniformed customer service, of course you can't gaurentee every person will be 100% verbatim, but you can hope.

The best thing you can do, which I realize you did, is get the names of anyone you may speak to. Also realize, when you feel like you had to argue to speak with a supervisor, we have procedures we must follow before we can give you to a supervisor, those are basically, YOU must ask to speak with a supervisor, WE should ask why, to make sure there is nothing we can do to assist you any further. Also keep in mind the "supervisor" you are speaking with only has the same information as the rep you were previously speaking with, and in some rare cases may not know the program very well: case and point: I was never trained in Provell but was the only supervisor on the floor one evening, a supervisor take over came through, and I HAD to take it. Luckily it was an easy enough call to take, but as I said in some RARE cases it happens. That had nothing to do with Provell, as a company, just as rude or poorly trained reps have nothing to do with Provell, it has to do with the call center and their hiring/ training procedures.

I hope this information helps someone in the future.

As far as unauthorized trial memberships, I myself have authorized a membership with out even realizing it. I called to make hotel reservations and I was in a hurry just kind of yesing the rep to death, and one of my yes answers was to sign up for travlers advantage (a buying club similar to the Provell programs) and sure enough... I get my credit card statement, and there it is. I learned my lesson in being impatient on the phone...
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#2 Author of original report

Can't let it stand like that...

AUTHOR: A - (U.S.A.)

Daniel listen, I'm not going to let it stand such that you say "it was a mistake" when I know how it was presented to me and what transpired during my experience. You know your company but you've admitted to not knowing each rep. and I know my situation inside and out. Hands down, giving someone a "cancellation" number that isn't a cancellation number is misleading and that constitutes fraud. I know what I experienced and it was lie after lie until I got the Attorney General and BBB involved. These people went as far as to say I didn't call on the day that I did to cancel it initially until I sent phone records. You can't deny a phone call of many minutes! Then suddenly "oh, oh I see the cancellation, it was way down at the bottom of the screen". Still no apology. When it's a matter of money and you have verbally agreed not to charge someone and you do - guess what that is - FRAUD. Guess what lying about it once questioned is - FRAUD. Guess what self-professing a great customer service policy and having a dishonest and rude Director of Consumer Affairs is - FRAUD.

Also, there's no need to twist my words. I say what I mean. If I wanted to say stupid, which I don't, I would. I don't think this is a matter of intelligence at all. It is a lack of information. Obviously I'm someone who is quite an advocate of customers being treated fairly and legally. I don't just post this type of stuff, I spread it whereever I can or whenever the opportunity presents itself. I get the most shocked looks when someone is telling me about a situation they have and I tell them how they can resolve it. People, educated and not, just don't know of the avenues available to them and are skeptical of whether those things will work for them. Thanks to things like rip-off report, people like me and all the other people in the links I posted, can help spread the word.

I appreciate the insider explanation you provided but I stil think having a shabby system is Provell's job to fix or upgrade so that it can live up to it's own customer service policy. I can't speak to whether customers lie or not but I don't need to lie about $20, I just refuse to let someone steal it from me. Plus, if someone's dog dies (and I'm sensitive to personal problems) that doesn't excuse bad behavior. You realize that there have been a few cases of people who are HIV-positive purposely attempting to affect other people because they are angry about it. Do you think that makes it okay? I think not...wrong is wrong. Everyone needs to be mature enough to take a day off or be professional while at work. I do it everyday and no matter what's going on in my personal life, I don't snap at people or neglect my responsibilities and I expect other working adults to be mature enough to do the same.
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#3 Author of original report

Can't let it stand like that...

AUTHOR: A - (U.S.A.)

Daniel listen, I'm not going to let it stand such that you say "it was a mistake" when I know how it was presented to me and what transpired during my experience. You know your company but you've admitted to not knowing each rep. and I know my situation inside and out. Hands down, giving someone a "cancellation" number that isn't a cancellation number is misleading and that constitutes fraud. I know what I experienced and it was lie after lie until I got the Attorney General and BBB involved. These people went as far as to say I didn't call on the day that I did to cancel it initially until I sent phone records. You can't deny a phone call of many minutes! Then suddenly "oh, oh I see the cancellation, it was way down at the bottom of the screen". Still no apology. When it's a matter of money and you have verbally agreed not to charge someone and you do - guess what that is - FRAUD. Guess what lying about it once questioned is - FRAUD. Guess what self-professing a great customer service policy and having a dishonest and rude Director of Consumer Affairs is - FRAUD.

Also, there's no need to twist my words. I say what I mean. If I wanted to say stupid, which I don't, I would. I don't think this is a matter of intelligence at all. It is a lack of information. Obviously I'm someone who is quite an advocate of customers being treated fairly and legally. I don't just post this type of stuff, I spread it whereever I can or whenever the opportunity presents itself. I get the most shocked looks when someone is telling me about a situation they have and I tell them how they can resolve it. People, educated and not, just don't know of the avenues available to them and are skeptical of whether those things will work for them. Thanks to things like rip-off report, people like me and all the other people in the links I posted, can help spread the word.

I appreciate the insider explanation you provided but I stil think having a shabby system is Provell's job to fix or upgrade so that it can live up to it's own customer service policy. I can't speak to whether customers lie or not but I don't need to lie about $20, I just refuse to let someone steal it from me. Plus, if someone's dog dies (and I'm sensitive to personal problems) that doesn't excuse bad behavior. You realize that there have been a few cases of people who are HIV-positive purposely attempting to affect other people because they are angry about it. Do you think that makes it okay? I think not...wrong is wrong. Everyone needs to be mature enough to take a day off or be professional while at work. I do it everyday and no matter what's going on in my personal life, I don't snap at people or neglect my responsibilities and I expect other working adults to be mature enough to do the same.
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#4 Author of original report

Can't let it stand like that...

AUTHOR: A - (U.S.A.)

Daniel listen, I'm not going to let it stand such that you say "it was a mistake" when I know how it was presented to me and what transpired during my experience. You know your company but you've admitted to not knowing each rep. and I know my situation inside and out. Hands down, giving someone a "cancellation" number that isn't a cancellation number is misleading and that constitutes fraud. I know what I experienced and it was lie after lie until I got the Attorney General and BBB involved. These people went as far as to say I didn't call on the day that I did to cancel it initially until I sent phone records. You can't deny a phone call of many minutes! Then suddenly "oh, oh I see the cancellation, it was way down at the bottom of the screen". Still no apology. When it's a matter of money and you have verbally agreed not to charge someone and you do - guess what that is - FRAUD. Guess what lying about it once questioned is - FRAUD. Guess what self-professing a great customer service policy and having a dishonest and rude Director of Consumer Affairs is - FRAUD.

Also, there's no need to twist my words. I say what I mean. If I wanted to say stupid, which I don't, I would. I don't think this is a matter of intelligence at all. It is a lack of information. Obviously I'm someone who is quite an advocate of customers being treated fairly and legally. I don't just post this type of stuff, I spread it whereever I can or whenever the opportunity presents itself. I get the most shocked looks when someone is telling me about a situation they have and I tell them how they can resolve it. People, educated and not, just don't know of the avenues available to them and are skeptical of whether those things will work for them. Thanks to things like rip-off report, people like me and all the other people in the links I posted, can help spread the word.

I appreciate the insider explanation you provided but I stil think having a shabby system is Provell's job to fix or upgrade so that it can live up to it's own customer service policy. I can't speak to whether customers lie or not but I don't need to lie about $20, I just refuse to let someone steal it from me. Plus, if someone's dog dies (and I'm sensitive to personal problems) that doesn't excuse bad behavior. You realize that there have been a few cases of people who are HIV-positive purposely attempting to affect other people because they are angry about it. Do you think that makes it okay? I think not...wrong is wrong. Everyone needs to be mature enough to take a day off or be professional while at work. I do it everyday and no matter what's going on in my personal life, I don't snap at people or neglect my responsibilities and I expect other working adults to be mature enough to do the same.
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#5 Author of original report

Can't let it stand like that...

AUTHOR: A - (U.S.A.)

Daniel listen, I'm not going to let it stand such that you say "it was a mistake" when I know how it was presented to me and what transpired during my experience. You know your company but you've admitted to not knowing each rep. and I know my situation inside and out. Hands down, giving someone a "cancellation" number that isn't a cancellation number is misleading and that constitutes fraud. I know what I experienced and it was lie after lie until I got the Attorney General and BBB involved. These people went as far as to say I didn't call on the day that I did to cancel it initially until I sent phone records. You can't deny a phone call of many minutes! Then suddenly "oh, oh I see the cancellation, it was way down at the bottom of the screen". Still no apology. When it's a matter of money and you have verbally agreed not to charge someone and you do - guess what that is - FRAUD. Guess what lying about it once questioned is - FRAUD. Guess what self-professing a great customer service policy and having a dishonest and rude Director of Consumer Affairs is - FRAUD.

Also, there's no need to twist my words. I say what I mean. If I wanted to say stupid, which I don't, I would. I don't think this is a matter of intelligence at all. It is a lack of information. Obviously I'm someone who is quite an advocate of customers being treated fairly and legally. I don't just post this type of stuff, I spread it whereever I can or whenever the opportunity presents itself. I get the most shocked looks when someone is telling me about a situation they have and I tell them how they can resolve it. People, educated and not, just don't know of the avenues available to them and are skeptical of whether those things will work for them. Thanks to things like rip-off report, people like me and all the other people in the links I posted, can help spread the word.

I appreciate the insider explanation you provided but I stil think having a shabby system is Provell's job to fix or upgrade so that it can live up to it's own customer service policy. I can't speak to whether customers lie or not but I don't need to lie about $20, I just refuse to let someone steal it from me. Plus, if someone's dog dies (and I'm sensitive to personal problems) that doesn't excuse bad behavior. You realize that there have been a few cases of people who are HIV-positive purposely attempting to affect other people because they are angry about it. Do you think that makes it okay? I think not...wrong is wrong. Everyone needs to be mature enough to take a day off or be professional while at work. I do it everyday and no matter what's going on in my personal life, I don't snap at people or neglect my responsibilities and I expect other working adults to be mature enough to do the same.
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#6 UPDATE Employee

This is my last response (i think everything is pretty much settled now)

AUTHOR: Daniel - (U.S.A.)

Ok.. Your basic complaint is that you cancelled a membership and it wasn't cancelled. Well, I can sum this up pretty quick I hope. There are probably three main reasons why this would have happened to you.

1.)Unprofessional rep. who pretended to cancel and didn't. This isn't cool, but it happens.

2.)Computer system problems. Yes it is possible for a system to have glitches in fact they all have bugs and glitches from the governments, to the one you are using now and even the shabby ones we use.

3.)Customer failure to be honest. They lie maybe on purpose, maybe not. (I don't think this one pertains to you so much as other customers)

Now to explain confirmation numbers. I have worked for several companies including charities, retail stores, call centers, and the cable company. (i don't want to seem like a job w***e so i'll explain that... I am in school and need to change jobs occasionally if my school schedule requires it .. all in the name of education) All of these companies except 1 which didn't offer confirmation numbers at all have worked this way...
Customers receive different confirmation numbers depending on the way they cancel it could be via email, usmail, automated system, or with a rep over the phone.
You cancelled with a rep, so i'll explain that one the confirmation number they gave you is a number that is not produced by the computer system, but rather has been attached to your account from the day it was ordered. This number is used for multiple purposes and is given to customers sometimes for other reasons besides cancellation. The simple fact that you posses this number does not mean to us that you cancelled but rather that you have had previous business with us. If you claim that you cancelled but your acct is active, and provide this number the consumer affairs dept. is notified. They begin an investigation to verify your claim and discover the problem with the orginal cancellation request. Regardless if we find that you didn't cancel or if we find that you did the procedure in these cases remains the same.
>>>Apology>>>Cancel>>>Refund>>>
The procedure still remains the same but the consumer affairs dept. can not however account for those reps who shoulv've cancelled and didn't either on purpose or not. That is just an unfortunate circumstance that happens occasionally in all businesses of this type. The person could've had a bad day, perhaps their dog died and they think your problems insignificant or maybe the customer was rude and threatening and the rep had enough. Whatever the reason it doesn't make it right and eventually that person will be caught and terminated.
Whatever the case the previously mentioned procedure remains the same. IF procedure wasn't followed properly as with your ..no one apologized.. circumstance than that is unfortunate but your problem doesn't seem to be all that fraudulent but rather a nuessance. Accidents happen and it appears one happened to you it isn't the end of the world, and the company took care of it. (even if they made you mad)..

About the customers reporting things to the BBB and other agencies. I really still believe that you are not giving them enough credit. Calling a customer uniformed is synonymous with calling them ignorant. I don't believe they are as ignorant as you are making them out to be. It is their responsibility as citizens of this country to know thier rights and the laws they are governed by. If they are incapible of this they should receive special help but if they are entirely too lazy to do reasarch or ask questions they should start looking for another place to live.

And I know you don't think the low number of reports with the BBB means anything but I disagree because I give these people more credit than you do. But i'm not just refering to the reports at the BBB, but the AG, and even us, we don't receive that many complaint letters, emails, or phone calls to be considered unusual for any company. So in fact these numbers DO mean something. I know you said earlier about no internet access, but you find me the person who has no internet access, no phone or TTY , no ability to write a letter and I'll show you a person who has never had one of our memberships.

What I have noticed in all my experience is that it is not usually the reps at companies who are dishonest but rather the customers. People try to behave at their place of employment usually. IF customers aren't trying to lie to you about something to get money back they are trying to get something else for free. It is a sad, and nasty fact of this day and age and unfortunately I deal with it daily. I would have to deal with it anywhere I work, and I do have to work. I could think of worse companies to be working for but few that are better. You don't really know my company and I do. I am telling you now that it is a good company and more honest than most although you may have the occasional liar or cheat or even malicious malcontent the same goes for just about every company in the whole world.

I think they key point here is that it isn't companies who need to be listed on ripoffreport but rather individuals who seek to cheat companies because they think they deserve something, maybe its just because they are preying on the good nature of companies to give refunds to people to avoid having to tell the customer we know they are lying or perhaps its because they simply weren't thinking at all. Regardless I think something needs to be done about customers and the general morals of all people who do business.

I feel fed up with this topic, because just thinking about the number of liars in the world (I AM IN NOW WAY CALLING YOU A LIAR BY THE WAY)makes me furious. I just don't see how they can live with themselves after they willfully deceived someone but enough of this. I won't respond again unless you want me to by asking a question or something. Thanks you for updating your file in a timely manner after I submitted a rebuttal.
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#7 Author of original report

My point still stands...

AUTHOR: A - (U.S.A.)

Let's be clear, what's stupid is that someone can cancel something and give you a cancellation number and then one month later tell you that it needs to be recancelled. What type of shabby system must you have such that a cancellation that supposedly took and produced a confirmation number actually didn't cancel.

Also, consumers aren't stupid but many are uninformed. You'd be surprised at how many people don't know they have the option to pursue a matter beyond the actual company. So, again, lack of BBB complaints means very little to me. A lot of people don't know about tripadvisor and so they don't post reviews there, that doesn' mean that every hotel that hasn't been posted on is great. Plus, many people don't have internet access.

If you had been my rep. perhaps I would have gotten an apology but I definitely didn't get one when I called either time and these people were as rude as they could be. The reason I said your "1-2" comment was nonsense is because it doesn't apply to my situation...I specifically said I was charged a month after cancelling so obviously more than "1-2" days had passed. BTW, it's not just a claim that I was illegally charged...I do have the proof and I made sure the Attorney General was aware. I hope they put my complaints with the others they've received and will receive and mount a case against this company like AG Mike Hatch did.

I can't hold you accountable for the sins of your company but given the details in the links that I've posted about so many other people being taken for the same ride, I personally wouldn't continue to work for this type of company...there are honest companies and honest money.

My issue is resolved, I made sure of that. I also notified the fraud division of my bank so they could flag charges from this company and protect my fellow bankers.

In your experience this is not a shady company, in mine and other people's experience it most certainly is. We will have to agree to disagree but where there is a forum I'll post and warn other people to help protect them.
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#8 UPDATE Employee

I hope this is the final response needed.

AUTHOR: Daniel - (U.S.A.)

Let me clarify for you, I know you didn't call your desires stupid. I said you were practically calling them (your desires) stupid. There is no need to be defensive I am not attacking/slamming you.

Ok if you call somewhere that is supposed to have canceled something and it didn't get done that person will almost always.. 1st apologize, and 2nd ask if they could do that for you again (they aren't going to say may i please cancel the account that wasn't canceled before, but will most likely say 'ok i'll recancel' as if/or because the 1st one didn't take).. In fact most people lie when they say that they canceled previously and they will usually throw someone's name at you who doesn't actually work there (and no I do not know everyone who works for my company, but sometimes it is obvious they are lying and I'll inquire about a particular name later)not that it matters either way, mind you.
You are also saying you were charged ILLEGALLY, I understand that is what you are claiming, but it is simply that a claim. You saying something does not make it fact (I am aware that you could probably produce proof of charge,and even a confirmation #, (although people surprisingly think they can make those up)your claim still needs to be verified by us and sometimes that takes time. Also, the whole 1-2 days to post cancellation thing is not nonsense as you said, but the way the computer system works. If you cancel a membership it won't show for a couple of days, unless someone tries to cancel it again, in which case it will say "Unsuccessful membership cancellation" -meaning it's already canceled. If you were really charged a month after you canceled its refundable so all you have to do is ask.

I completely agree with you the lack of BBB complaints does not make a company great but it says something anyway. I personally think the BBB is a bunch of crock because they don't really verify the complaints they receive in the first place I could start blaming stationary companies for botched rhinoplasty and want money back and they would treat it like a real problem on the company's part. But the # of complaints at the BBB represents a portion of angry customers and that number is very low 99 for last 36 months I believe .. I mean I help more people than that in a single day, and I am only one employee.. so that does say something to me, regardless of the quality of the complaints.
I neglected to mention the ability of the customers to report to said agency because I think it would be referring to our customers as unintelligent. I mean I will not assume they couldn't manage to file a complaint at the BBB which is pretty self explanatory all they need to do is call, write, or use the internet none of these options could be considered difficult for a person of reasonable capacity so I won't take that particular argument seriously.

As far as someone lying to you I can't comment on that, I hope it isn't true, but because I don't know what exactly was in your letter and what was in their letter, and there is no way for me to really know 100% I'll leave that alone and give you the benefit of the doubt.

The company really isn't shady and I apologize that you have experienced so much drama. I hope that you have had everything resolved satisfactorily.
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#9 Author of original report

And the coincidence expands...

AUTHOR: A - (U.S.A.)

http://www.resellerratings.com/seller_info.pl?seller_id=1126

http://www.badbusinessbureau.com/reports/ripoff173658.htm

http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/ripoff168742.htm

http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/ripoff23867.htm

Search for provell on the page:
http://www.warning-thievesatfastbucks.com/other_THIEVES/

http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/ripoff37341.htm

The bottom line is, if it walks like a fraud and quacks like a fraud, it is a fraud. If you are reading this, beware of this company...apparently you don't ever have to authorize a trial membership for them to get a hold of your card and charge it nor am I the only person who has been lied to and given the run-around by them. Futher...if an Attorney General had cause to pursue legal action against them that speaks volumes.
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#10 Consumer Comment

You obviously misunderstand many things

AUTHOR: A - (U.S.A.)

First, I didn't say my desires were stupid...I said it was stupid of someone to say they would "recancel" something that had already been cancelled. You probably should have read that a second time to make sure you understood it before trying to "slam" me with it. Second, I cancelled this membership a month before I was ILLEGALLY charged so that whole "1-2" days to post nonsense is just that - nonsense.

Lastly, the lack of BBB complaints doesn't make a company great...many times people are frustrated and don't follow through or don't know how. I'm not one of those people, I've followed through and I'm encouraging others to do the same. In replying to my BBB and AG complaint, the responder LIED until I sent another letter proving that he was lying.

So, this is not a good company based on my experience. You may be a great rep. but somehow I managed to run into 3 incompetent and rude ones and a dishonest Director of Consumer Affairs...now either this company is shady or that's one heck of a coincidence.
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#11 UPDATE Employee

A Response...

AUTHOR: Daniel - (U.S.A.)

I am an employee of Provell, and would like to comment on a few of the things you have mentioned.

I apoligize if you experienced trouble canceling your account, You said that the rep claimed, "the cancellation didn't take", and then you said the rep "offered to re-cancel it". It seems to me that this is exactly what you wanted but you say, "Now, how stupid is that?". I know that you are probably refering to the person needing to cancel it again and it not being done in the first place but you managed to call your own desires stupid.

You proceed to claim that you re-called the representative again where they failed to realize the account was canceled, I highly doubt they tried to "pretend like she didn't see the cancellation until [you] start rattling off the names of reps". It would not be instantly apparent to the rep that you canceled previously as there is some processing time required before your account will show up as cancelled. It usually requires 1-2 business days for your request to post.

You say, "I believe this company makes it money by not canceling as requested and siphoning $20/month from people hoping they won't notice." -It is unfortunate you believe this as it is very untrue. Many people enjoy their memberships and the benifits being a member affords them. Nevertheless there will always be some unfortunate unsatisfied customers, which brings me to my final point.

you say, "...report them to the Attorney General and BBB." I agree that these agencies should be used when people need help with businesses but I would also like to point out that if you read the BBB's report on Provell you will not find anything unusual for a company its size and in my opinion the number of complaints is increadibly small for the sheer number of customers I know we have. It seems to me that nearly all of our customers are satisfied.
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