October 8 2009 by Ellen Roseman
I can’t remember a time when fraud was so widespread. Maybe it’s because the Internet has opened up such a fertile field for spammers and scammers. Maybe it’s because older people are living longer and lack the streetproofing skills to fight off phony sales pitches.
There’s one company, based in Melbourne, Florida, that targets Canadians and calls them promising to help lower their credit card rates. They do what you can do easily for yourself and they charge a bundle for it.
I really started to feel the pain when I heard from James, who got caught to the tune of more than $800. Here’s his story.
I was approached by a company called World Class Savings to fix and adjust my credit card rates. These people spoke in a manner that they were doing more of a public service and were addressing the overcharges and excessive rates by the credit card companies.
The asked for (and asked repetitively) for my credit card numbers to demonstrate the need to act on such a service. I steadfastly refused to do so until the lady effectively led the conversation into a more personal area and convinced me that she was a private investigator and had been very ethical in business and so on.
In the course of the conversation, I reluctantly gave in and I accepted the sales pitch to participate in her demonstrating their services. Well, all seemed fine but my nagging conscience said beware.
So I said to the lady I do not want to participate in their program and wish to cut all activity with them. I stated that in Canada there is a 10 day cooling off period that is law and I am exercising my right to terminate all business with them.
At first, she said it was too late. The transaction had gone through on my BMO MasterCard and they could not reverse the process. I firmly stated the law here in Ontario Canada is firm on this matter and that I would go to the American federal authorities if this matter was not resolved.
They agreed to give me all but the $100 (U.S.) of service charges by the bank. But they have not done so and I am out at this point over $850 (Canadian) for the lesson.
Question: What else can I do because this agency of crooks is targeting older people like me?
I would appreciate your help with BMO, which seemed to brush me off when I complained in July 2009, saying I was at fault and no perpetration of a crime was evident.
By the way, Ellen, I have submitted a full complaint to the Better Business Bureau of Melbourne, Florida, as well as with Federal Trade Commission for possible mail and interstate fraud, and soliciting asnd selling through misrepresentation and theft.
I asked BMO MasterCard to reverse the charges under their zero liability guarantee. (Shouldn’t this have happened already?) Still waiting for a response.
Meanwhile, I want to point to a CBC News experiment that showed how easy is it to call credit card companies and get your rates lowered (as long as you have a decent credit history).
Do you have stories about frauds affecting you and your loved ones? Please send examples and suggestions for reform.