My wife and I put all internet purchases on one credit card. On 1/3/04, I noticed a $14.95 charge on my credit card statement from AP9*SimpleEscapes, a company I have never heard of, nor had any dealings with. I called the phone number listed on the statement, and reached a recording. The recording asked for a phone number to access my membership number. After getting that number, I was directed to www.dealpass.com. I had never heard of this website, or visited it until that day. The website gave only an email address and a PO box number in Illinois, but no phone number.
PO Box 5152
Des Plaines, IL 60017-5152
877-836-6903 (number for SimpleEscapes recording)
Checking my past statements, I had been billed monthly by this company since 10/19/04. I had mistaken the charges for my wife's orders from another company.
On 1/3/04 I called my credit card company, Wells Fargo Credit Card Services Inc., to dispute the charges. I was told I must contact the company to stop the charges. The representative I talked to knew that SimpleEscapes was the name for dealpass.com. I was also told that dealpass.com is affliated with Wells Fargo, and is given customer information for direct marketing.
Researching this on www.ripoffreport.com and www.consumeraffairs.com, I discovered that other people have had similar charges made to their accounts by this same company, without any authorization. This company has gone by several names:
MWI Home and Garden
MWI Premier Health
MWI Vital Home Club
Several people have reported the charges after becoming members of Classmates.com. My wife joined this website on 9/19/04.
Several people also reported receiving a letter from SimpleEscapes, saying that unless the letter was signed and returned within 30 days, their credit card would be charged. I believe I received one of these letters, but discarded it as junk mail.
On 1/4/04, I was able to reach a representative by entering 00 during the recorded telephone message (an option that is not given in the recording). I was only aware of this code from reading other consumer's complaints about this company. Raykeeta (#18234) asked for my name and address, and I was told I had joined SimpleEscapes through Classmates.com. My wife does not remember any reference to or advertisement from SimpleEscapes when she joined Classmates.com.
I was told that I would be refunded all charges to my credit card within 3 business days. I also asked for written confirmation of this, and was told I would receive a letter to that effect.
I also asked for the CEO's name and the address of the main office:
Gabriel Gary Johnson, CEO
9500 W Dodge Road
Omaha, NE 68114-3314
I did not authorize these charges, have never used the dealpass.com website, and have not had any other suspicious charges on this credit card. I am also filing complaints with:
Federal Trade Commission
Illinois Attorney General's Consumer Fraud Bureau
California Department of Consumer Affairs
Nebraska Attorney General's Office
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 MWI Connections / MWI Homeswork / MWI Essentials CLICK HERE ...*EDitor's NOTICE ..MWI Lawsuit filed