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FreeNEzy.com Scam Site for Sale on eBay

4/22/08 Update:  The FreeNEzy.com website written about in this post appears to have been sold and under new management, as documented on this recent post. While this change in ownership does not change any of the events that have occurred previously with this site (and my friend never got his reward), there is currently no evidence we are aware of that the new owner has continued any of the fraudulent practices previously associated with the site. As always, use caution when dealing with this or any other site.

This is the never ending saga of a boy and his scam site, and the victims left in his wake. I have posted previously about the infamous FreeNEzy.com, run by Vikram Jhaveri. I initially posted about this because of numerous users on SlickDeals, including one really good friend, who spent money completing offers through the site to earn points for various rewards but were consistently denied those rewards by Mr. Jhaveri. This posting caught the attention of Mr. Jhaveri and prompted him to give excuses for defrauding of some users, which I documented here. Apparently not happy that I refused to take down my post and only offered to post an update if my friend received his reward (offer still open, by the way), he resorted to sending a harassing message to me through eBay’s messaging system, documented here. He has since sent another message indicating that he received my user info from someone and sent them $50. Just for the record, here is the text of that message:

Thankyou so very much. I have sent $50 to your paypal. I have tried so hard to get this scammers info. Thanks again. Next week i am going to post his info everywhere…

Then today while following up to see if eBay had suspended this bastard for his continued harassing messages, I found this listing under his user name. You can own his scam website, FreeNEzy.com, plus some assorted crap with his logo on it for the mere sum of $50,000. He proceeds to say that you can make $75-$250 profit for each member, although he neglects to say if that amount is assuming the illegal withholding of earned rewards.

I guess if you are going to get out of the business of scamming internet users, the icing on the cake would be to sell the site you used to scam the users. Hopefully anyone that would seriously be thinking about buying a site like this does some homework and finds this blog and the other spots on the web where people have chronicled their trouble with this site.

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November 12, 2007 Posted by | GPT, Scams | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Scammer Saga Continues! FreeNEzy.com Requests My Info Through eBay!

4/22/08 Update:  The FreeNEzy.com website written about in this post appears to have been sold and under new management, as documented on this recent post. While this change in ownership does not change any of the events that have occurred previously with this site (and my friend never got his reward), there is currently no evidence we are aware of that the new owner has continued any of the fraudulent practices previously associated with the site. As always, use caution when dealing with this or any other site.

How about this for the story that will never die? I posted previously about unsatisfactory user experiences of customers of FreeNEzy.com, run by Vikram Jhaveri. If you recall, many users over on SlickDeals reported that they never received their awards they earned for completing various offers through the site. One of those users is a good friend of mine, so I have taken quite an interest in this story.

My posts even solicited a response from Mr. Jhaveri himself where he gave his sad story and tried to explain why some users are still waiting for their awards. I hadn’t heard from him in a while, so I was shocked when I got the following note through eBay’s messaging system from ejawab, which has been determined by the amateur sleuths at SlickDeals to be his eBay user ID:

I would like to offer you $10 via Paypal if you can tell me the identity of this member. He scammed me and i want to sue him. All you need to do is click on help on ebay.com and search for seller contact. Any help appreciated.

Apparently he hadn’t figured out that I would not give out my own info for $10, but probably this was intended for users I have completed a transaction with. This is kind of scary that this guy is willing to violate eBay terms of service to somehow find me, but it is an obvious attempt to try and intimidate me. Take note of this if you are still considering using this guy’s site.

Everyone will be happy to know I have already contacted eBay about this inappropriate behavior and his account will likely be suspended in short order. I’ll also be giving my attorney on retainer a call in the morning to see what legal recourse I have against this guy, as well as any user that would be stupid enough to release my personal information. Thankfully I will get a notice when anyone requests my information through eBay, so they won’t be hard to find.

October 3, 2007 Posted by | Scams | , , , , | 1 Comment

Milestone – 10,000 hits! A look back

4/22/08 Update:  The FreeNEzy.com website written about in this post appears to have been sold and under new management, as documented on this recent post. While this change in ownership does not change any of the events that have occurred previously with this site (and my friend never got his reward), there is currently no evidence we are aware of that the new owner has continued any of the fraudulent practices previously associated with the site. As always, use caution when dealing with this or any other site.

Well, as of the end of the day on September 20, this blog should be up to 10,000 hits! It is quite a momentous occasion, and I appreciate all of you that have spent some time at my little rest stop on the information superhighway.

Since I started this blog, I have made over 100 posts, some more popular than others. Here’s a quick look back at some of my favorite posts, some which you may have missed.

Scams

I’ve posted about three big scams on this blog, and two have solicited comments from the scammers themselves.

The first scam posting was about Reservation Rewards. Reservation Rewards is a supposed subscription service that thousands of consumers are unknowingly enrolled in by making purchases at sites such as Chadwicks.com. The victims don’t figure out they have been enrolled until they take a closer look at their credit card statement and see the monthly recurring charges. I posted about this scam here and here, and then posted a response received from them and my rebuttal here.

The second scam I have posted about was the FreeNEzy.com scam. This is a GPT site that the owner promoted on Slickdeals.net forums under false pretenses, and then failed to deliver awards that were earned to several users. One of the users was a good friend of mine, which is why I am so interested in this particular scam. I initially posted about the scam in April on this post, and then just recently received a response from the scammer, which I posted and rebutted here.

I have also posted about the Buy.com and Connect3D rebate fiasco. Buy.com earlier this year heavily advertised several computer memory products marketed under the brand name Connect3D, all with inflated prices but large rebates which in many cases made the items free after rebate. Buy.com also promoted the items in question as being “free” after rebate. However, the rebates were to be fulfilled by the manufacturer, which has since fallen off the face of the earth. Buy.com, who apparently thinks paying for cheesy ads on cable TV is a better use of funds than taking care of existing customers by honoring the rebates IT advertised, has completely stonewalled customers seeking payment from them. This leaves thousands of consumers, including myself, out for the amount of these rebates as no one will “put their balls on the table” (sorry, inside family joke) to make the customers whole. I posted about this initially here and posted the follow-up received after complaining to the California AG’s office here.

Other favorite posts

Managing Stacks of Gift Cards – In this post I tackle the problem of managing the huge stack of gift cards that I have accumulated from gifts, work functions, and various promotional offers. Also making a cameo appearance is Hammy the Squirrel from “Over the Hedge”, which still remains one of this blogs most used search terms.

Tips to Make Sure You Get Your Rebates – I share my system for keeping up with all the mail in rebates I take advantage of. With these things, organization is key to success.

Economic Refugees from the State of Louisiana – Although probably one of the least read posts on my blog, it is still one of my favorites. I talk about how most of us originally from Louisiana living elsewhere are not refugees from Katrina but are economic refugees who fled Louisiana years ago in search of real opportunity and a decent standard of living. I also discuss how because of corrupt politics and ineffective state and local governments business is avoiding Louisiana like the plague.

Thanks again to everyone how reads this blog!

September 20, 2007 Posted by | About, Scams, Tips | Leave a comment

Been scammed online? Consider this advice from the California Department of Consumer Affairs

4/22/08 Update:  The FreeNEzy.com website written about in this post appears to have been sold and under new management, as documented on this recent post. While this change in ownership does not change any of the events that have occurred previously with this site (and my friend never got his reward), there is currently no evidence we are aware of that the new owner has continued any of the fraudulent practices previously associated with the site. As always, use caution when dealing with this or any other site.

Unfortunately, it will probably happen to you at some point. As I have highlighted in my blog here and here, there are scams out there online that even the most careful of internet users can be victimized by. A friend of mine was a victim of the FreeNEzy.com scam, and he received the following response with some great tips when submitting a complaint to the California Department of Consumer Affairs.

Thank you for contacting the State of California, Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). The information you provided indicates this is a business that does not require registration with any regulatory division within the DCA; therefore, we would like to offer you the following alternative resolution options and information.

Unfortunately, internet businesses are not currently regulated by any government agency in California. However, we recommend you contact the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General (AG). Business and Professions Code Section 17509, states that civil and criminal penalties may apply to any person engaged in unfair trade practices and for certain false or misleading advertising. Therefore, a suspected false advertisement or misleading statements and business practices should be registered with the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General (AG). You may contact the AG directly at the following:

California Department of Justice
Office of the Attorney General
PO Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
Toll free: (800) 952-5225 (in California)
Telephone: (916) 322-3360
Web site: http://www.caag.state.ca.us

You may use the following link to the California AG’s office to file a complaint:
http://ag.ca.gov/contact/complaint_form.php?cmplt=CL

We also suggest you follow-up with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) regarding the status of your complaint. BBB’s are nonprofit organizations that promote an ethical marketplace by encouraging honest business advertising and selling practices. They offer a variety of consumer services including information about a business, particularly whether or not there are unanswered or unsettled complaints. For more information, please visit the BBB Web site at: http://www.bbb.org.

Lastly, we recommend you contact the District Attorney’s office to file a complaint. Many local district attorneys, through consumer fraud units, prosecute fraudulent practices in their communities or will investigate complaints. Investigators are assigned to each District Attorney branch location in the County and to a variety of special units. Special units personnel work directly with deputy district attorneys in the office’s specialized programs to combat gangs, public corruption, organized crime, family violence, stalking, hate crimes, consumer fraud, and other high impact crimes. You may find a list of DA’s offices on our Web site at: http://www.dca.ca.gov/r_r/distat1.htm.

Finally, you may wish to review the DCA’s publication entitled “Consumer Self-Help, Tips & Resources to Resolve Consumer Complaints.” This brochure offers tips to consumers on how to resolve their own complaints, resources they may contact for assistance, and also includes a sample complaint letter to a business. You may access this publication on our Web site at: http://www.dca.ca.gov/r_r/consumer-selfhelp.pdf.

Again, thank you for contacting the DCA.

If you have been a victim of the FreeNEzy.com scam or the Reservation Rewards scam, or any other scam, I would encourage you to use this information and file complaints. We cannot allow scammers to operate unchecked!

September 18, 2007 Posted by | Scams | Leave a comment

Another Scammer Speaks – FreeNEzy.com

4/22/08 Update:  The FreeNEzy.com website written about in this post appears to have been sold and under new management, as documented on this recent post. While this change in ownership does not change any of the events that have occurred previously with this site (and my friend never got his reward), there is currently no evidence we are aware of that the new owner has continued any of the fraudulent practices previously associated with the site. As always, use caution when dealing with this or any other site.

I’m not quite the king of all media just yet, but I do take pride in the great influence my humble blog has. I posted months ago about the Reservation Rewards scam, and sometime later had a representative of the site come here to defend themselves.

Well, it has happened again, this time with the FreeNEzy.com scam run by Vikram Jhaveri. I posted some time ago about this piece of work who went onto the forums at SlickDeals posing as a regular user to promote his site. In response hundreds of SlickDeals users signed up for his site and completed offers to accumulate points to redeem for awards that in many cases never came. Smart users on SlickDeals eventually figured out that the SlickDeals post was self-promotion and had the post removed. Users who hadn’t received their awards then received excuses and lies, some had their accounts mysteriously deleted, and some were even accused of fraud themselves (how ironic!). To help protect others from being victims of this scam, I posted about it on this blog.

Well, last week the scammer himself found my blog and posted the following in the comments:

Hello,

I do not know who you are, but i am assuming you are a disgrunted member. This website was pointed out to me. If you let me correct the problem, I am sure we can work something out. Do let me know.
We are not a scam site. All our members were paid. Members that had to wait too long were even given bonus $25 Amazon Gift Certificates.

Let me explain what happened. Slickdeals.net admin found that i was the owner for the site i was promoting as a member. So they deleted the post.

This caused panic and members started redeeming products like crazy. Imagine 500 Members x $200 Products = $100000 in Products Redeemed. Our credit cards were maxed and we had to wait till the month end to get paid to pay the bills to send more orders in.

So orders that we usually send in 3 days took 3 weeks. But every one did get paid whatever they were supposed too.

In addition we did have database errors. Some account were deleted automatically. But when the error was found, within a month we moved to a dedicated server and eliminated that error forever.

I am not sure under which category you are. But if you let me, i am sure we can fix your problem if we havent already.

Thanks.
Vikram Jhaveri

To which I responded:

Vikram –

Actually I am not a disgruntled member. Thankfully I never signed up for your site, so you didn’t get the opportunity to screw me. However, I have followed the thread detailing your scams on Slickdeals and I know well one of your users that never received anything but a series of lies to constant inquiries and requests for the item he EARNED. Logic dictates that if in my small circle of friends there is a user that you still haven’t made whole, there are most certainly others out there in the same situation as my friend.

I would ask why you didn’t just give your users the same story you have given here if it was the truth? That would have been preferable to lying to your customers and even accusing some of fraud themselves as has been reported in the Slickdeals thread. I would also ask what became of the accounts that were “automatically” deleted? Did you ever restore all of these accounts, or were they a victim of your mysterious “database errors”?

I tell you what – if you make my friend whole, I will report such on this blog. My readers will be able to see that a disgruntled user has finally been made whole after all hope was lost. I will not tell you who my friend is, except that you should know who exactly you screwed over before as most of them likely emailed you in futile attempts to get their awards. Make all of those people whole, and you will get my friend in that process and I will post that he has been made whole. If disgruntled members are as rare as you indicate, that should be a pretty simple process. I will be sure to check in with my friend over the next several weeks to determine if he ever got his award, as well as the $25 Amazon gift certificate since supposedly everyone else got as an apology for the delays.

Finally, he responded to my post without addressing the issue of my friend who is STILL waiting on his item with the following sob story:

Well we did have actual problems.

1. One of our affiliate sites did accuse us of fraud. It was MaxBounty.com our account was suspended immediately. Thus we suspended accounts of members that had multiple freeNezy accounts to look into. Even today MaxBounty did not pay us and we do not do business with them.

2. We did have database erros. Some accounts instead of being suspended were being deleted. We posted that message on our site and moved to a dedicated server within a month.

3. All deleted and suspended accouts have been restored. All rewards have been Delivered. Most members contacted our live chat and received their product with a few days once we were up and running with 100% efficiency.

As for mistakes. WE all make mistakes. Atleast we admit that we did do something wrong. And are now correcting it. We are also taking measures to prevent that from ever happening again. Also slickdeals would not let us create an account to explain what went wrong. They somehow blocked our computer, not just the ip address.

Hope this helps. We are trying to correct the wrong we have done. Everyone deserves a second chance.

With that, let me make my last comments on this for now. As far as I am concerned, this is just the latest in the string of excuses and lies from this guy. Again, I know for a certainty that my friend rightfully earned the award he requested, that his account was deleted (likely in an attempt to eliminate the record of his having earned his reward), that his inquiries and requests for his earned award were met with lies and excuses, and that he was wrongfully accused of fraud himself in a last ditch attempt to get my friend off Mr. Jhaveri’s case. The assertion that all awards have been delivered is an outright lie AND MR. JHAVERI KNOWS IT!

As I said before, if my friend does finally receive his award and the $25 Amazon gift certificate that was supposedly given everyone else who experienced delays in receiving their items, I will post on this blog that he did finally receive his item. I do believe in second chances, however those second chances must be earned through actions, not words alone. My desire is that all of the victims are made whole, not just my friend, so I will not share his personal details to force Mr. Jhaveri to make good on your commitments to all of his users.

For anyone else that was a victim of this scam, I would encourage you to post your experiences here to add to the dialogue. I will also post tomorrow some good information on dealing with these types of scams that was provided to my friend when he submitted a complaint to the California Department of Consumer Affairs.

September 16, 2007 Posted by | GPT, Scams | , , , , | 4 Comments

The Reservation Rewards Scammers Speak

Close Encounters of the Cheap Kind has a new home at www.CheapEncounters.com!

Just when I thought I wouldn’t have anything interesting to blog about today, I found this comment left on my last posting about the Reservation Rewards scam purportedly from the VP of Customer (dis)Service at Webloyalty.com, the parent of Reservation Rewards. That posting was a follow-up to my original posting here.

Dear Bloggers:

Webloyalty.com protects its reputation and monitors the blogosphere to insure information posted on our company is truthful and accurate. Through this monitoring, we found this blog entitled Chadwicks/Reservation Rewards Scam.

We would like to speak with you directly but do not have your contact information. If you are unhappy with your subscription or have any questions regarding your membership to Reservation Rewards or Shopper Discounts & Rewards, please contact Webloyalty.com Customer Service at either 1-800-732-7031 or send an email message to customerservice@webloyalty.com. One of our customer service representatives will be happy to help you.

If you prefer, please contact me at customerserviceinfo@webloyalty.com

Regards,
Walter Dabek
Vice President
Webloyalty.com Customer Service

If WebLoyalty.com is concerned about its reputation, perhaps they should consider reforming their business practices. If everything is really legit:

  • How is it that a company almost no one has ever heard of has racked up 850 complaints with the BBB?
  • Why are there numerous postings around the web from bloggers about this scam, and how is it that so many people have commented on this blog posting with nearly the exact same story about unauthorized charges for a service they had never heard of or had ever signed up for?
  • Why has this scam been written about by the NY Times, Consumer Reports, and the Rip-Off Report?
  • Why has a class action lawsuit been filed against Webloyalty.com for the same business practices I have described on this blog?

I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t speak to the legality of the tactics used, but in my view and apparently in the view of thousands of users the tactics certainly are deceptive. I have seen the claim occasionally by Webloyalty that they sent email confirmation of the subscription to customers, however I know I never got one. If these notices are sent out, why do so many people report the first they found out about the subscription was when they spotted the charge on their credit card? The purpose of my postings is to serve as a warning to others about the tactics used to get signups and as a reminder of the importance of monitoring one’s financial records for unauthorized charges.

You may like to speak to me, but I don’t want to speak to you. There is no need for me to contact your representatives, as I have already contacted your company to demand my money back. Nothing that can be said by any representative of Webloyalty.com will change the unethical manner in which we were charged for this service.

May 10, 2007 Posted by | Scams | 4 Comments

AMEX Blue and the disappearing promo APR

Close Encounters of the Cheap Kind has a new home at www.CheapEncounters.com!

I just got an unpleasant surprise on my AMEX Blue statement. I had applied for this card last November under an offer of 15 months at 0% APR on purchases. As the reward program on this card is pretty good and 0% is almost always as good as free money, I applied for the card and was instantly approved. I had effectively secure over $10k of 0% credit for the next 15 months, or so I thought.

I looked at my statement online yesterday (closed on the 24th and I hadn’t received it in the mail yet) and found an odd line item at the very end of the transactions for finance charge in the amount of $0.50. Examining the finance charge section I found that the finance charge was on an average daily balance of about $26 at a rate of nearly 20%.

Knowing I should be under promo terms I call AMEX customer service, who informs me that my terms were for only six months. Although the offer stated 15 months, that term was the maximum and shorter terms could be offered based on creditworthiness. Sure enough, when I check the letter I received with the card in small print it notes that my promo APR is only in effect through my billing period ending in April. However, nowhere does it state that the shorter term was based on my credit history, nor did I receive any other communication from AMEX that an adverse action had been taken based on my credit history which is a direct violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

At this point I have sent a payment electronically to AMEX for the full balance due to limit the damage. My next steps will be to wait for the Membership Rewards points to post for all of my accounts (I have two personal accounts plus a business account) and cash them out. After I’ve made sure I haven’t left anything on the table I will then call up AMEX to cancel all of my cards explaining that their business practices are both deceptive and illegal and indicating that I will be filing formal complaints with the BBB and Texas Attorney General’s Office, and that I am also considering an action against them under FCRA. Hopefully that will be enough to have the finance charges incurred (finance charges will continue to be incurred on the balance until they post the payment, so we are talking more than $0.50) refunded and a little something-something given as “hush money”. Under FCRA I could get a lot more than that if I decide to take it to court, so hopefully they will decide to take the easy way out.

Lessons learned from this episode:

  1. Always remember that everyone is out to screw you.
  2. Be sure to verify the promotional terms in effect on your account after you get your card. Apparently what is stated in the offer they use to get you to apply doesn’t mean Jack Schmidt.
  3. If you are going to do these 0% balance transfer or purchase deals, always have the cash on hand to cover the balance in full. There is always the chance that either you will mess up and pay late canceling your promo APR, or you will be on the receiving end of a card company’s shenanigans. This situation sucks in that we will be out probably about $50 in interest charges from the time the statement closed and when our payment will be posted (represents about 12 days), but just imagine if we weren’t able to pay it off in full! At an APR of nearly 20%, the interest charges would add up very quickly.

May 1, 2007 Posted by | Credit Cards, Customer Service, Scams | 3 Comments

GPT Scam: FreeNezy.com run by Vikram Jhaveri

4/22/08 Update:  The FreeNEzy.com website written about in this post appears to have been sold and under new management, as documented on this recent post. While this change in ownership does not change any of the events that have occurred previously with this site (and my friend never got his reward), there is currently no evidence we are aware of that the new owner has continued any of the fraudulent practices previously associated with the site. As always, use caution when dealing with this or any other site.

College students are so busy these days! Their days are filled with classes, projects, papers, exams, socializing, and creating websites to defraud internet users by promising to give them prizes for completing trial offers and then pretending to be a user of the site on a popular internet message board to drum up traffic and then ducking users when they ask questions about the promised prizes.

Ok, that might not be the lifestyle of every college student, but apparently it is the life of Vikram Jhaveri, engineering student at California State University – Chico. Mr. Jhaveri created several GPT sites, where registered users complete trial offers through the site to earn points towards various rewards.

Bastard

One of those sites was freenezy.com, which Mr. Jhaveri then promoted in the forums at SlickDeals.net pretending to be a user of the site under the username StaplesCrazy and not disclosing that he actually owned the site (the original postings were deleted by the moderators after the scam was uncovered, but cached copies of the postings are linked here). Once he was found out users started reporting extremely slow if any response to inquiries, requested reward items not shipping, and accounts being deleted for no reason. There are several users over at SD that are still fighting for their reward items.

Anyway, several users have emailed this guy with limited success. Some have reported that they finally did receive their items, while many others are still fighting for them. One user over at SD even had this scumbag reply to an inquiry accusing him of fraud!

Well I’m sure that several users have already filed complaints with the BBB and the California AG’s office, so we will see what happens. Hopefully we will see this skinny little turd doing the perp walk real soon. If you come across this site or any of his others (see list below), STAY FAR AWAY! There are other legit sites out there that really will send your items as promised.

If you have been victimized by this bastard, are just bored, or have pre-teen children that are going through that prank calling stage, here is some of the contact info that the fine users over at SD have compiled for him:

Emails: vgjhav@hotmail.com, vgjhav@yahoo.com, updates@freeNezy.com, support@ejawab.com, admin@ejawab.com, vgjhave@ilstu.edu, vgjhave@csuchico.edu

Addresses:
300E Shelbourne, Normal, IL 61761

PO. Box 481, Normal, IL 61761

PO. Box 3332, Chico, CA 95928 – 9998

Phone numbers:

309-436-9555 (old number for archive sakes)
309-436-1683 (old number for archive sakes)

586-435-0675 *
530-591-9998 *
806-209-0837 *

Some of this guy’s other fraudulent sites are as follows:

www.freenezy.com
www.fastezyfree.com
www.affiliateflix.com
www.freeisagoodprice.com
www.dhulan.com

Credit for the information in this posting goes to our friends at SD and www.heyyoudeadbeat.com

April 24, 2007 Posted by | GPT, Scams | , , , , | 17 Comments

More on the Chadwicks/Reservation Rewards Scam – BBB Reports

Close Encounters of the Cheap Kind has a new home at www.CheapEncounters.com!

On Friday I posted about the scam being run by Reservation Rewards through Chadwick’s and other online retailers where customers are unknowingly enrolled in a savings club and are billed monthly fees. We are victims of this fraud, apparently when my wife bought several items from Chadwick’s in November. (Original post here)

I thought it would be interesting to pull the BBB reports on each of these companies and see what was there. It seems I am not the only victim. In the BBB report for Webloyalty (parent of Reservation Rewards and other sites with unethical business practices), the BBB reports the following:

Based on Better Business Bureau files, this company has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau due to a pattern of complaints concerning deceptive marketing/selling practices and unauthorized charges to consumers’ credit cards. Although the company has resolved all complaints brought to its attention by the BBB by canceling consumers’ program memberships and by providing refunds, the firm has failed to correct the underlying reasons for the complaints.

As of the time of this posting, a total of 850 complaints have been filed against Webloyalty with the BBB.

The BBB report on Chadwick’s isn’t that great either. Here is part of what the BBB reported for Chadwick’s:

Based on BBB files, this company has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau due to a pattern of complaints.

Based on BBB files this company has a pattern of complaints concerning the companies billing practices. Consumers are experiencing difficulty receiving a refund for products that were returned because they were unhappy with the product, the product didn’t fit or the wrong product was shipped. Consumers also state that they elected to use a deferred billing program, allowing the company to access their account on a specific date, a promotion put on by the company. Consumers state that the company bills them before the deferred date, in some instances causing an overdraft in checking accounts. Consumers also state that after ordering products from the company additional charges are added for magazine subscriptions.

I’m not sure if the “magazine subscriptions” issue is the same as the Webloyalty issue or if that is yet another scam Chadwick’s is participating in, but the M.O. is the same regardless – signing customers up for services they didn’t authorize. The BBB’s math seems a bit buggy on this report, but at the lowest figure Chadwick’s has logged 76 complaints in the last 36 months, although not all of these complaints are related to this issue.

I will certainly be posting more on this, but I wanted to add that detail for my readers (I love you all – all five of you!)

March 26, 2007 Posted by | Scams | 5 Comments

Scammed by Chadwick’s and Reservation Rewards

Close Encounters of the Cheap Kind has a new home at www.CheapEncounters.com!

I was reviewing our credit card statement today when I noticed an odd charge from “WLI*RESERVATIONREWARDS.COM” for $10. I didn’t remember ever doing business with a company by this name, so I checked my prior statements to see if there were any other similar charges. Sure enough, there was a $10 on the 18th of each month since December 2006. I called and checked with the wife and she hadn’t bought anything from such a site either.

That’s when the hunt begins. The obvious first step is looking up ReservationRewards.com to see exactly what it is we supposedly signed up for. The site is one of these so-called discount clubs offering savings on a variety of crap – not the type of thing that either of us would knowingly sign up for. I then decided to do a Google search for Reservation Rewards and found pages upon pages of sites talking about being scammed by this company, including a very informative blog posting by Adam Rosi-Kessel.

After reading several of the postings, I called Reservation Rewards with all guns blazing. As soon as the rep came on I said I had several fraudulent charges on my card from their company and I wanted the charges stopped and reversed. The customer service rep quickly looked up my “account” and noted that the account was actually in my wife’s name and that she had (supposedly) signed up through Chadwicks.com. The rep very quickly canceled the account and tried to get me off the phone before I could bring up the prior charges again. I quickly reiterated my request for a refund of prior charges, to which he put up no argument and promised that the refund would appear in 3-5 days.

Looking at the other people’s accounts of this scam, we aren’t the only ones who have been scammed by Chadwick’s and Reservation Rewards, and Chadwick’s isn’t alone in selling out their customers to these online scammers. A list of some of the other sites that have reportedly allowed Reservation Rewards to prey on their customers can be found here.

What’s my next step? First, we will check to see if the refund actually comes through as promised. While we are waiting for the refund we will also be calling Chadwick’s customer service to make our displeasure known. We will then be filing formal BBB complaints against Chadwick’s and Reservation Rewards, which will be quickly followed by complaints to the Office of Attorney General for the states of Texas (my home state), Connecticut (Reservation Rewards HQ), and Massachusetts (Chadwick’s HQ). I will also file a complaint with the FTC.

I’ll keep everyone updated on my follow-up communications and complaints and any responses I receive.

March 23, 2007 Posted by | Scams | 40 Comments