ED Magedson – Founder
Intelius.com or Intelius, Inc500 108th Ave. NE, 25th Floor Bellevue, Washington United States of America
Intelius people search is a scam. I used the Intelius Inc. people search internet service to look up two phone numbers. They gave my credit card information to a third party company called Privacy Matters Identity (aka Adaptive Marketing LLC, aka Vertrue Inc. (Vertrue is the parent company of Adaptive Marketing and Vertrue was formerly called MemberWorks) Intelius and Vertrue did this without my permission and then lied about it. They took over $400 out of my credit card account without my authorization. I did get my money back but not without a fight and I learned a few things along the way I want to share with you.
This Vertrue/MemberWorks (parent company of Privacy Matters Identity) were sued in 2003 and 2004 related to consumer complaints of unauthorized withdrawals from credit cards for membership in Vertrues clubs and programs and ordered to pay 5 million dollars penalty. Yet in 2010 they are still in business doing the same thing. Vertrue boasted of having 18 million people as members of its various programs in 2004. According to Intelius they have more than 1 million people who visit Intelius.com each day. These million hits (or visits) each day are just sheep waiting to be slaughtered by deceptive advertising and fraud. The banking industry rules, the banks themselves and the politicians (who have done nothing to change the laws) are not of any great value to the consumer in correcting the problem.
Vertrue, formerly known as Memberworks, markets at least 22 membership programs having names such as 24 Assistance, 24 Protect Plus, At Home Rewards, BusinessMax, Card Protect Plus, Connections, Essentials, Galleria USA, Homeworks Plus, Lifestyle Rewards, Main Street Savings, Passport To Fun, Premier Health Plus, Privacy Matters, Privacy Plus, Shopping Essentials, Simple Escapes, Simply You, Today's Escapes, Travel Source, ValueMax, and Your Savings Club.
Why are these same people allowed to still be in business doing this same scam/fraud in 2010?
If you do buy online, use your credit card and not your debit card. You have more consumer rights with a credit card than with a debit card. I filed complaints with several state attorney generals, Federal Trade Commission and sent registered letters to my Wells Fargo bank (who was not my friend) and to Naveen K. Jain, CEO and the Intelius Board of Director Chairman William A. Owens.
I did get my money back but I had to chase them all over the United States and in doing that I found out they had been sued multiple times and had to pay millions in fines but were still allowed to transfer these funds without the consumers permission and were still doing business as usual. So watch your back.
Do NOT expect your bank to be your friend, as they will turn a blind eye. Because if the bank admits that it is fraud, they (the bank) hold the liability after the first $50. So check your credit card bill and file a dispute with your bank IMMEDIATELY (within 30-60 days).
Wells Fargo was not my friend. I had to insist that I speak to the Wells Fargo Fraud Department and even then they gave me the run-around. I got a fellow in the Wells Fargo Fraud Department that didnt even know the zip code where he worked. And he is the person in the Wells Fargo Fraud Department who is hired by Wells Fargo to protect my money.
I also had a go-around with the Wells Fargo indorsed accident insurance company called Affinion who refused to cancel my policy and give me my money back. This company also has a dubious record and is named in the November 17, 2009 senate hearing regarding: Aggressive Sales Tactics on the Internet and Their Impact on American Consumers.
It is interesting to me that Wells Fargo is now advertising a service to protect your identity called Identify Theft Protection. Only thing is that the company they are doing business with called Trilegiant Corporation has been sued by AK, CA, CT, IL, IA, ME, MI, MO, NJ, NC, OH, OR, PA, TN, VT, and WA. for deceptive solicitation practices to get consumers to pay for membership programs that purportedly provided discounts on car and home repair, shopping and other goods and services. Many consumers have been charged by Trilegiant for reports and services they say they did not order. Trilegiant has a history of complaints concerning deceptive marketing and selling strategies, unauthorized charges on consumers' credit cards, and non-cancellation of memberships following cancellation requests. There are current investigations and lawsuits pending against Trilegiant Corporation. Trilegiant has been sued in the past and they are all still doing business as usual. It looks to me like Trilegiant, Affinion, Vertrue and Intelius all came out of the same rotten barrel.
When you look at the corporate photo of John Stumpf, Chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo bank you cant help but notice his Caribbean suntan. Wish I could afford a Caribbean suntan
These companies will often sign you up for services that you didnt ask for and then it is YOUR responsibility to tell them NO; even if you didnt ask for the service in the first place. They call these deceptive practices negative-option advertising, in-cart marketing & post-transaction marketing.
The scam I got caught up in was with Intelius Inc. and Privacy Matters/Vertrue. I pressed the point by sending registered letters and I filed complaints with several state attorney generals and the Federal Trade Commission. The parent company of Privacy Matters Identity (the service they say I signed up for; which is a bold face lie) is funneled through Adaptive Marketing, aka Vertrue Inc. (formerly WonderWorks). They were sued in Delaware in 2003/2004. Then they moved to Connecticut and shared an office building with Adaptive Marketing LLC. Now they have moved to Nebraska. I had to chase them all over the United States to file my complaints.
As of March 24, 2010 in the United States District Court, Western District of Washington at Seattle there is a Class Action Law Suit that has been filed: MATTHEW BEBBINGTON, Individually and on Behalf of all Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiff,
INTELIUS, INC., A Delaware Corporation; and INTELIUS SALES, LLC, A Nevada Limited Liability Company. Defendant
This law suit is being handled by the law office of Keller Rohrback L.L.P., 1201 Third Avenue, Suite 3200, Seattle, Washington 98101-3052, Telephone: (206)623-1900, Facsimile: (206)623-3384.
The United States Senate, Committee of Commerce and Transportation, Chairman Jay Rockefeller (Office of Oversight and Investigations Majority Staff) held a hearing November 17, 2009 on Aggressive Sales Tactics on the Internet and Their Impact on American Consumers. Intelius, Affinion, and Vertrue were all mentioned in the Senate Hearing report regarding these companys aggressive sales tactics. Using aggressive sales tactics to enroll consumers in unwanted membership clubs is a billion-dollar business. Affinion, Vertrue, Webloyalty and their e-commerce partners have earned over $1.4 billion in revenue by using aggressive tactics to charge Internet shoppers for club membership programs. Naveen K. Jain, the founder of Intelius, (from New Delhi, India) was ranked 121 in Forbes as the 400 Richest Americans in 2000.
Below is the United States Senate Committees (non-action) conclusion that came out of the November 17, 2009 senate hearing and I quote:
Affinion, Vertrue and Webloyalty use aggressive sales tactics intentionally designed to mislead online shoppers. These three companies exploit shoppers expectations about the online
purchasing process to charge millions of consumers each year for services the consumers do not want and do not understand they have purchased. Hundreds of e-commerce merchants
Including many of the best-known, respected websites and retailers on the Internet allow these three companies to use aggressive sales tactics against their customers, and share in the revenues generated by these misleading tactics. While Congress and the Federal Trade Commission have taken steps to curb similar abusive practices in telemarketing, there has not yet been any action to protect consumers while they are shopping online.
It is up to you to remember the United States Senates non-action next time you vote. Also you might want to take the time to write David Vladeck, Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20580 and ask Mr. Vladeck why his agency has been asleep at the switch and ask him why the FTC can allow these companies (the same group of people) who were sued in 2003 & 2004 be allowed to commit the same scam and fraud in 2010. I wrote Mr. Vladeck and I thanked him (the Federal Trade Commission) for all that they havent done and then I asked him where they (FTC) were at when I needed them.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/04/2010 08:08 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/inteliuscom-or-intelius-inc/bellevue-washington-98004/inteliuscom-or-intelius-inc-intelius-is-a-scam-bellevue-washington-589410. 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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