A Time Out New York reporter paid nearly double MSRP for a new G1 phone she bought off Times Square from Cellular Stop. After she realized she’d been had (internet access and texting were sold to her as “add-ons”), she went back to the store asking for an explanation. Instead, she says, six clerks began circling her and her friends, screaming and cursing and threatening to “break” their “fucking faces.” Her friend was tossed against a wall and another clerk tried to smash her camera.
I ordered some sunglasses from ALDO. They arrived in a bubble-mailer, with a broken bridge. They were also the wrong color. I filled out their online return request and selected “defective” from the dropdown box. A couple days later they replied with their compensation “offer” – free shipping off my next order. Um, no. Making their offer even less satisfactory, ALDO just sent me a separate email general promotional email with a coupon code for free shipping. So I replied back describing the situation in more detail and asking point-blank for a full-refund. If they don’t give me a refund, I’ll do a chargeback.
About 10 women who paid up to $4,000 for dresses they never received picketed the bankrupt Calvary Bridal House in Millburn, NJ this past weekend, screaming and holding hand-made signs that said things like “Fraud” “Scam” and “”Bride in stress, where’s my dress?”
…I flew from Sacramento to the connection hub in San Diego, where I had a 25 minute layover. While I would not have chosen a 25-minute layover,
Southwest doesn’t give you your flight times until you’ve booked….the two gates were in separate parts of the building, separated by security…
Newegg seemed to think Jenn was responsible for her brother’s chargeback with them. When she tried to place an order using her own name and credit card number, but with the same shipping address as her brother, her account was suspended. Jenn figured she could resolve the problem with a conversation or two with Newegg’s customer service department, but as you’ll see from the transcript below, Newegg’s CSR blatantly says Jenn’s account won’t be approved until her brother reverses his chargeback.
Longtime Consumerist reader TBT read the fine print for a credit card she recently opened with Bank of America, and discovered that buried in pages 13 and 14 is a section that limits your right to request a chargeback to your home state or within 100 miles of your home address, and only for purchases over $50. He found this shocking, but, actually, this is a limitation provided by the Fair Credit Billing Act. If you dislike it, here’s a great post of ours on writing effective letters to Congress.
The ChargeBackBureau sells merchants a blacklist with names of customers who have done chargebacks. Merchants are supposed to be able to access its lists and deny transactions to customers if they see they’re chargeback-prone. When a consumer is put on the list, they get sent an email warning them they’re “going to have trouble purchasing goods or services on the Internet in the future.” ChargeBackBureua’s headquarters are conveniently located in Panama, which is convenient for its American clients, as such databases are illegal in the US. Chargebacks are an important tool for consumers to fight back against merchants who won’t give you what you paid for. Here’s how to do one. If a merchant won’t do business with you because you stood up for your rights before, then you shouldn’t do business with them either.
A reader wrote in to ask us if we’ve ever seen anything like the “Chargeback Abuse Policy” that Luxury Car Tuning in Las Vegas includes in their terms—”You agree not to file a credit card or debit card chargeback with regard to any purchase,” and if you do anyway, you have to pay any fees that normally the merchant must pay when dealing with a chargeback. The reader wants to know, “Is this allowed by any merchant agreement that you know of? Sounds pretty ridiculous to me. How likely would it be that they could get away with this?”
We got passed a communique from the Fiserv debit-card processing company to its clients that offers some insights for consumers concerned about getting their money back if they have bought tickets on an airline that has gone bankrupt (as several have recently). Here’s the takeaways:
- Chargebacks can be filed on all tickets, whether they were purchased directly from the airline or from a third-party
- You don’t have to take a replacement flight offered by another carrier if you don’t want to
- You have 120 days from the date of expected travel to file a chargeback
- Depending on merchant policy, travel insurance may be transferable or redeemable
(Thanks to mac-phisto!)
Last week’s news that the Westin Casuarina hotel in Las Vegas was surreptitiously charging conference attendees for the organizer’s unpaid bill generated enough bad press that the Westin did an about-face this week, and sent out letters on Tuesday telling affected customers it is reversing the extra charges. A Westin spokesman said, “We’ve decided as a matter of customer relations to issue the refunds while continuing to pursue payment from The Coaching Center” in Austin, Texas. The Westin also says the refunds are an “effort to show our good faith,” which we assume means “please don’t sue us.”
The Westin Casuarina Hotel & Spa in Las Vegas has begun charging an unpaid $50,000 convention fee to the attendees who already paid before they attended back in October. The company that set up the event, Austin-based The Coaching Center, hasn’t paid its bill yet, and “president Suzanne Black said she was trying to arrange a payment plan when she was told by Westin management that the hotel would recoup the bill from attendees.” Now people are finding charges anywhere from $600 to $1200 on their credit card bills. Even the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has said this isn’t standard practice, but Westin says it’s got fine print that proves it can hold you liable for any charges left unpaid on your visit.
Yahoo Personals surprised technology guru Russell Shaw with a charge for $74.95 when he signed up for Yahoo Voice. Russell had let his subscription to Yahoo Personals lapse last February and ignored Yahoo’s repeated entreaties to renew his membership. He assumed his account was cancelled, told his credit card company not to authorize any new charges, and did not inform Yahoo when he lost his credit card last May.
Royal Farms refuses to fix a broken gas pump that charges customers even after the gas stops flowing. The pump in Abingdon, Maryland has overcharged Tom on five separate occasions, and Royal Farms refuses to issue a promised refund.
New York, NY 10118
Verizon Installs FiOS, Won't Tell You Your Account Number, Keep Charging An Unauthorized Credit Card
Dan ordered Verizon FiOS and used a credit card to pay for the installation. He told the CSR specifically he didn’t want his monthly bill to be debited from this credit card. Guess what Verizon is doing?
As of last night, Sunrocket VoIP is unplugged, and they didn’t warn any of their 200,000+ customers, who had been attracted to the service by deals which offered $99 buy-one-year, get-one-year-free unlimited calling to the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Now they’re experiencing spotty service, full outages, and a feeling of panic.
So you go through the process of selecting a gym, asking yourself whether you want one close to your house or to work, choosing between opulent technoplaygrounds and piles of torture devices in an old VFW lodge, and most importantly, determining whether your goal is to actually get fit, or get laid.