Specialty Merchandise Corporation is a well camoflouged fraud. I signed up in February 2007 for what they called a Silver Membership. Silver meaning that my Membership fee was to be paid in 12 equal installments spread over a year, each payment being $39.99. I signed up over the phone and made my first monthly payment right then so I could get started. a month later, my bank account was over $200 in the hole.
I went to the bank, and found out it was SMC that took my money. I called them to find out why they had debited me for $335.00. They said it was my years membership fee. I explained to them that it was supposed to be taken out monthly, and they actually argued with me! The operator was extremely rude, and said she would have to have the tapes of my sign-up conversation pulled to see what I agreed to.
I made it clear to her that I was on the other end of that conversation and I know exactly what I agreed to. She said it would take 2 weeks to have the results of the tapes.
Fast forward 3 weeks, I called them back and after a 35 minute hold time, I was informed that the notes on my account from the person that pulled the tape said I agreed to pay the full amount, which is a total lie! Of course when I asked to speak to that person, I was informed that he was out of the Arizona office and there was no way to speak to him. Imagine that!
Then I told the operator I was talking to that I wanted to speak with a member of management and was told that any questions I had for management would go thru her. I was to ask her the question and she would ask management and get back to me at a later date. What legitimate Company works this way?
I got tired of this and went to my bank. My bank issued a denial of monies to SMC and credited my account with the $335 plus the almost $300 in overdrafts that were caused because of their bull. Then they suggested I close that account and open one with a different account number. I did this.
I finally got my money back and called SMC and got set up on a Silver Membership. I was hoping this mess was all a fluke and still wanted to try to do business. Guess what? They did it again! The operators that I spoke with that set up my membership the second time, plainly stated, on their own recorded lines, that I have a Silver membership, to be paid for in monthly installments. When I called today to find out why they were taking out money again, I was told it would be at least 2 weeks for the tapes to be pulled, so here we go again! I have had enough!
To set up a successful home-based business, so far I have been out the money to SMC plus the money for the Website that totally sucks, plus the money to advertise, to distribute catalogs, and to set up my office at home. My count up to now is about $2000, and I'm totally pissed. I have read that several people are interested in filing a class action suit. I have contacted a lawyer today to find out what that entails. Anyone who is interested in a suit, respond to this bulletin. I'm sick of a Company of cut-throat money-hungry people stealing my money.
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. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Specialty Merchandise Corp. SMC