I was contacted on 5/18/04 by a telemarketer offering $200 in free gas coupons. All I had to do was pay $3.95 shipping fee to sample a risk free phone package for seven days. They suggested that I give them the information needed to electronically debt this fee from my checking account. Like most of the victims of this scam I agreed because I was trusting consumer.
After several weeks went by after seeing the debit occur on my statement I check almost daily with my bank, I had noticed that I received no information. No gas cards either which was the reason I agreed of course in the first place. I then placed another call around the first week in June and spoke to a gentleman who said he would re-send the information at no charge.
On 6/8/04 I noticed that I did not have the amount of money I thought I should have in my bank account. As I viewed my current statement online I notice that $139.90 had been taken out of my account electronically. I then phoned the number appearing on the transfer from the company affiliated with this transaction and found it was taken out on behalf of U-Talk America.
Never in the conversation with the telemarketer did I agree that this could be debited from my account. I only agreed to the $3.95 to view the package offer, along with receiving the to good to be true offer. Yeah, I know the saying and have learned from it too!
After disputing this charge with the company they said they would cancel my membership which I never received information anyway and they said they would refund my money after a form was sent to me to fill out requesting a refund and then 7-14 days I would receive my refund in the mail.
Of course this was unacceptable that I have to wait for monies that I never authorized in the first place as well as never receiving any incentives which got me into this situation in the first place.
However, dispite the aggrevation that I had to go through in dealing with this company and its representives that help led to this scam, my story has a rather happy ending.
Number one, after viewing this site and reading another persons story almost verbatim to mine, I phoned my bank (Bank of America) to report what I felt was fraud. I gave them all the information detailing the incident and they said they would investigate and get back to me within 48 hours. I then continued with my own investigation and found out that a local news station had already ran a story again verbatim to mine and the Attorney General had issue a warning to all consumers about this scam. I also went to the better business bureau website and again read reports not only like mine but worse. The stories were of people who had hundreds of dollars taken before they knew the money had been taken from their account.
Because I had contacted my Bank immediately, filed the report, and closed my current checking account out I was only out for a total of $3.95 and $139.95. Then today I was contacted by a representive of Bank of America to inform me that they investigated that infact it was fraud and have credited me back the $139.90. I feel so grateful to this Bank. I have my money back, plus a better checking account with ammenities better than the one previously and the staff at this Bank couldn't have been more understanding and empathetic to my situation. I think they should be called the BEST BANK OF AMERICA! With out them I would have been totally out.
It is my understanding from reading one consumers account of what occured to them that they infact got a refund from U-Talk America but when they deposited the check into their account the check came back to their bank with insufficent funds and they then got charged $30.00 for submitting a check that was no good. How awful!
Again, my story turns out well all in all except for spending way to much time to do something that a trusting consumer should not have to do. But if your reading this and have just fallen prey, please contact your bank ASAP and file fraud case, close your checking account out immediately (don't wait), and never give your bank information out to anyone! No if ands or buts. Nothing is that important for people to put you through all this stress.
Also, if you have online banking, check your
statement a few times a week to see the activity that hopefully only you have authorized. This is really the key to me getting my money back with the support of my Bank. Because the transaction had been submitted on 6/7/04 and I reported 6/8/04 to my bank, they were able to stop the transaction before it was completed. Neither my bank or I had to eat this money and the company received nothing except for $3.95. I am more than happy to pay $3.95 for a life lesson that I will never forget.
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