On May 14, 2002, a telemarketer representing Vitafree.com contacted me asking if I wished to reorder a product I had purchased from them. When I said, "No", she asked if I would like a free sample of a similar product.
I said "Free?" and she said, "Yes, free". After I agreed to receive my free sample, she explained that there would be a small shipping and handling fee.
Several days later, I happended to be near my mailbox when the mailperson arrived. As she handed me my mail, she exclaimed that it was unusual that one Priority Mail envelope had arrived empty (marked "Received without content..."). The paper covering the gluestrip had not even been removed. It was not entirely empty, though, as it contained an invoice which indicated that my checkcard had been charged $44.75 for S&H! While I was not charged for the product which I presume was meant to have been in the envelope, it was the very product that I had refused in the first place!!
Thus began my odyssey. While such a blunder was hard to imagine, I felt certain that any reasonably reputable business would quickly correct it. Now, over eight months later, with 100+ phone calls to the business, several undeliverable e-mails, correspondence from my attorney (without response), complaints filed with both the Ca. and Oh. Attn General's Offices, as well as the FTC and finally a Mail Fraud Complaint to the Postal Services, I'm no closer to getting my money back!
Recently, after a complaint filed with my bank, they (the bank)"temporarily" refunded my money pending an investigation through VISA. After sending them a letter explaining the circumstances, the bank representative stated that the money would probably be taken out of my account again since I was beyond the 120 day timeline and could not show evidence that I had returned anthing (duh!).
While I am awaiting future outcome from the VISA investigation and efforts by the Post Office, I have been assured by my attorney that they are willing to file a formal lawsuit as a last resort. Yes, it is not a huge amount, but I received nothing for my $44.75, but an empty envelope!! It couldn't have been a clearer case of theft if they had physically taken the money out of my hand and run!
Fraud? Theft? Gross incompetence? All three?? Who knows, I just want my money back!! At this juncture, though, I wonder how many others have had similar experiences. Such business practices should not be permitted without consequences.