What to do About Unauthorized Charges on Your Credit Card
For the past few months a charge for $14.95 appeared on my credit card. At first I figured it was for something I bought but couldn’t remember exactly what is was. After four months of the same charge by Easy Saver I became suspicious. I called the company at their toll-free number listed on the charge statement (800-355-1837) and was told I had signed up for some consumer program after purchasing flowers from proflowers.com. I had made such a purchase from the online flower company but never signed up for such a program. Subsequently, I called my credit card company that agreed to remove the charges and block any further activity with this company.
Easy Saver also goes by the names of Encore Marketing. I checked its Better Business Bureau rating and its was ‘F’. The rating is based on 16 factors. According to the BBB website, its rating went from ‘D’ to ‘F’ because of the following information:
- 641 complaints filed against business
- 4 complaints filed against business that were not resolved
- 1 serious complaint filed against business
- Length of time business has taken to resolve complaint(s)
Customer Complaints Summary
641 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 89 closed in last 12 months
Total Closed Complaints
Problems with Product/Service
Total Closed Complaints
BBB Additional Complaint Information
The pattern of complaints generally concern confusion over the assessment of membership fees through the company's marketing methods, and other billing disputes. In its responses, the company explained its membership policy and usually provided a refund, while cancelling membership.
I wonder how many other companies are pulling these scams. I have encountered another 'scheme' whereby your credit card company may ask you whether you are interested in enrolling in an identify theft protection program run by Experian. It sounds good given the extent of credit card fraud these days. However, be aware that if you do enroll your credit card company will charge you $14.95 every month on behalf of Experian.
My advice is to carefully review your credit card statements each month and be wary of repetitive charges from companies listed on your statements. In most cases there will be a telephone number to call. That may or may not help to remove the unauthorized charges. If not, call your credit card company. Most (at least mine) will temporarily remove the disputed charges pending an investigation. My company even removed the accumulated interest related to these charges.
The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) limits the amount of your personal liability to up $50 when unauthorized credit card charges appear on your statement. The Consumer Action organization provides a helpful book on how to deal with credit card fraud.
I see myself as a guardian of ethics and I am appalled at the fraud that exists in our society. In my blog this past Friday I talked about the latest disclosure of business fraud by Russell Wasendorf, Sr. that has shaken trader confidence in the trillion-dollar U.S. futures markets. The authorities released parts of a detailed statement in which one of the industry's best-known veterans explained how he used little more than a rented P.O. Box, Photoshop and inkjet printers to dupe regulators in a more than $100 million scheme.
There seems to be a never-ending number of different schemes to use to commit fraud. Some have estimated Medicare fraud at $600 billion. Last September, physicians, nurses, and other medical personnel were among 91 people charged with Medicare fraud involving approximately $263.6 million, which is the largest amount of false Medicare billings unveiled at one time.
Our society has been on an ethical decline for many years. Fraudsters continue to find new ways to rip people off. The laws can’t keep up with the technology. I fear things will get worse before they even come remotely close to improving.
The bottom line is we live in a pursuit of self-interests society without regard for the consequences of our actions on others; without the feeling of remorse after getting caught; and without any conscience to guide our actions.
Blog posted by Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage, on July 24, 2012