Call your grandma: the BBB reports a big mailing of Publisher’s Clearing house scam letters went out on March 6th and March 20th, promising people big bucks in exchange for a hefty up-front fee. The fraudulent letters use the name Publisher’s Clearing House and Reader’s Digest but are sent by flim-flammers, not these organizations.The prize never materializes and the scammers dematerialize after you stop forking over bogus processing fees. One grandma, thinking she won $1 million, got taken for over $4,000. The fraudsters sent her a “downpayment” check of $6,000 and told to deposit it and send $3,700 of it elsewhere to claim her million-dollar-prize. Inside, what the scam letter and check look like so you know what to call your grandma and tell her to watch out for.
Rob bought a monitor from Dell. Not just any monitor, a defective one. Ok, he didn’t specifically request it to come defective, but that’s how it did. So did its replacement. “The backlight was flickering constantly and it made me feel nauseous just looking at it,” writes Rob. He’s returned the monitors but Dell has yet to give him back his money. Every time he calls, they tell him it will be just 7-10 days more and that he paid with two credit cards is complicating things. So far it’s been 45 days.
The BBB has given us a heads up about a new scam that targets holiday shoppers — pop-up internet electronics stores that only accept payments via wire transfer.
Robo-scammers are ringing up consumers and pretending to the Better Business Bureau, saying, “We’re from BBB – Because of bailout, we can offer you a low-rate credit card.” In this iteration, we see several three common scam characteristics combined: *Unexpected communication * Automated communication * Mention of topical event * Use of recognizable institution’s name * Money-saving opportunity. Investigators were unable to tell the exact nature of the scam. It could be been to steal your account numbers, or it might have just been a marketing affiliate’s sleazy way of generating leads for a credit card company trying to get people to transfer their balances. Complaints have been received about the scam at a BBBs serving Washington, West Oregon and Northern Idaho, as well as Midland,Texas.
Congratulations! Your dog is rich! Oh wait, no. It’s a scam. Meet Bruce Gadansky of the Louisville BBB. He got an email from some internet scammers and decided to reply — as his dog. The email was from a “company” looking for help cashing a check.
Reader F.’s air conditioner was broken, so he called the company that installed it when the house was built. They came out, charged him $100, and told him that he could repair the unit for $3,000 or replace it for $5,000. It’s a good thing he got a second opinion, because the second repair guy fixed the problem for $250.
Scammers love to tap into national trends to put a new face on an old scam, and the “Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Equity Prize Draw” scam spotted by the Louisville, KY BBB is no exception.
How do you define a scam? Does your definition include anything where you have to put down money upfront in order to get discounts later? Maybe it should. Meet Stephen and Jean Liang of Kansas City, Missouri. They went to a presentation for a travel club, and ended up joining for $7,500– with the condition that they could cancel after 3 days. Before they left, they were offered a discount for Red Lobster. They thought it was a bonus for joining the club. It wasn’t.
Consumerist commenter doireallyneedausername forwarded us an email he got from MyGallons.com, claiming that his membership fee will be refunded because MyGallons.com cannot find a credit card processor. The email, signed by CEO Steve Verona, says that current members will get a free year of MyGallons.com when (if?) they are ever able to process transactions. Read the email inside.
The BBB says the consumers should be wary of advertisements claiming to offer cheap gas for visiting a website. Paying $2.49 a gallon just for “clicking” sounds too good to be true– and it probably is.
After acknowledging that it did not have a contract in place to process transactions, gasoline-hedging service MyGallons.com has suspended accepting membership fees and placed the current fees in a non-interest bearing escrow account, says the BBB. Read the BBB’s findings inside.
The BBB says its concerned about gasoline-hedging company MyGallons.com and its ability to live up to the advertising claims on its website. A spokesperson for the BBB tells us that the biggest “red flag” they’ve discovered is that MyGallons claimed (in their press release) to have partnered with US Bank. However, when the BBB called US Bank to confirm this, they found out that it wasn’t true. US Bank had discussed the opportunity with MyGallons, but had declined. According to the BBB, despite the fact that they have no contractual agreements in place to process transactions, MyGallons is still signing up new customers.
I was ripped off to the tune of $5620. They refused for 3 years to refund my money. Then they told me I have I have no recourse. It was electronic funds transfer for personal training that I never authorized. The people who did it were fired shortly after. It had happened to several other members, and most of the cases were settled. Except mine.
Some people think the BBB doesn’t work. They do, but only if the company cares about keeping a clean record. See when you look up a company in the BBB database it shows you how many complaints have been filed against the company, how many were answered, how many did the consumer report as being satisfactorily resolved, etc. So if you have a valid complaint, file it with the BBB, and the company cares about its BBB record, you have a decent chance of getting a solution. You might not believe it, but it turns out Sprint is one of those companies. Here’s Kevin’s story of how the BBB got his erroneous text message charges refunded and let him leave contract early without early termination fee…