I was on LinkedIn and saw an ad for "successful women" and how they should join the Cambridge Who's Who. The application was free and costs weren't mentioned anywhere. I filled it out and nothing happened. A week or so later, I received a call and was asked to interview for the directory. I agreed. Throughout the interview, the woman kept complimenting me. I'm a young professional, and have only worked in my industry for two years, so I was flattered. But the compliments kept coming, and it started to seem like the woman was sucking up. I was then "accepted" to the directory and out of nowhere, she asked how I'd like to pay. She seemed annoyed when I kept asking for her to explain the charges. Finally, I said I would have to call back. Once again, she seemed annoyed and explained that they weren't allowed to let this take up more than one phone call (very odd). I called my mom, who is an employment lawyer in Missouri and Illinois. She was in a meeting, but after I quickly explained it to her, she said don't do it (since that day, my mom sends me similar ads she gets from other companies that are identical to Cambridge). I called Cambridge back (because during the initial flattery, I had given them my card information) and explained that I had decided not to use their services. The same woman became very angry and explained that my profile had already been created (weird) and that she couldn't reverse the charges. She kept offering me different deals, which was another red flag because if she could offer these deals now, why did she say there were no other options? She clearly had to ok to offer them. Anyway, I kept saying no and she finally put me through to customer service. The new person first congratulated me (at this point it was annoying) and also kept trying to make deals. She added that if I didn't accept now, there was no way to apply again in the future. Being a nice person, I decided not to say that I didn't care and simply stated that it wasn't the right time financially. She became very irate and started questioning my finances and bragging about what a great deal it was. Finally, after 10 minutes, I said no (for the 100th time) and she said "fine, bye." Not only was it rude, but it stuck another red flag because what business operates like that? I called my mom back and she told me about these companies. She explained that the best way to really network is with companies that actually meet in person... and to never do this with a company that is only online.
Sorry for the lengthy explanation, but the point is that you should not use this company and also, even though they say it's non-refundable, if you act quickly, they might not have charged your card. If they have, just call your bank!
Cambridge Who's Who is a ripoff company backed by lawyers and Donald Trump Junior who is ripping off loads of people. They call under the disguise of doing an interview of you and your company and a press release. Twenty minutes into the interview, once they have gotten a great deal of both personal and professional info from you, they disclose that they will need a credit card for a charge of almost $600. They state they will provide you with many things including a press release for your review within two weeks as well as others. You are under the understanding that you may review it once it arrives and cancel if it is not as described. Nothing arrives for well over a month, no calls are returned, and you cannot even get anyone on the other end of the phone. Six weeks later, I recieved a folder, but nothing in it as promised. They do not respond to emails or to certified mail. When you try a credit card dispute, this company is very prepared with falsified documents that you never received. This is the biggest ripoff company I have ever seen and they need to be stopped in their tracks.
In 2008, I had just graduated college and was trying to get my foot in the door of the corporate world. I received a notice from Cambridge claiming that I had been "nominated for inclusion" into their registry. I was flattered but was not sure who nominated me. I had been extremely active in 8 different college organizations and had been an honors student and was well thought of by my professors, so I thought that one of them had nominated me. I filled out the form requsting more info and was soon contacted by a rep named Stacey. Stacey started the phone call making everything sound exciting that I had the chance to be included in their registry. At the end of the call she hit me with the $1000 price tag. I about fell over. I said there was no way that I could afford that price. She kept lowering the price and then offered to throw in 2 free airline tickets. I said no to her. The next day she called again...and again...and again for several days. I finally got tired of the pressure and agreed to try their service for $189.00. I stupidly gave them my credit card number, which they immediately charged. A few weeks later I received a piece of paper saying I was a lifetime member. Great. About 2 months later, Stacey called back and wanted to sell me a lifetime membership and a wooden plaque and a leather bound directory. I told her that I was told I was already a lifetime member. She said no. She convinced me that I should own the leather bound registry because I would have that and the plaque for my home and I could use the registry for networking and prestige purposes. I said no and she told me that "the registry is going to print this week and if you don't opt in to this you will have to wait a whole year to get into the registry again". Long story short, they charged my card $800.00 and never mentioned that everything was non-refundable. I was told that my purchases would arrive in the spring of 2009. They didn't. I called and they assured me that, "due to the large volume of registries being printed there is a delay and you will receive your registry in fall of 2009". By this time I was really mad and began to realize that this was a scam. I called Cambridge and as soon as I requestd a refund they were hostile and told me that "due to the highly personalized nature of our services there is no refund option". I laughed and told them that I had been waiting 2 years for a registry and plaque that was paid for and probably never existed. I also said that the only thing that was personalized was a slip of paper saying I was a lifetime member, and if that piece of paper which was personalized for me was the only thing stopping me from my refund I would gladly rip it up or send it back to them so I could get my refund. They said no.
******Pay attention to this part if you have ever been scammed by Cambridge and want your money back!!!***
I am going to tellyou right now that I was competely scammed by Cambridge but I am proud to say that, I receieved EVERY SINGLE PENNY of my money back from them, but it was a 1.5 year long process and I had to fight tooth and nail with them to get it. First, I took it upon myself to call Cambridge again and once again ask for a refund. They said no of course. I asked them to send me a detailed billing of the charges they had placed to my Visa card. They did. I wrote a detailed narrative of my experiences with Cambridge including the dates I called them and the names of the reps I spoke with. I then filed a complaint with the State Attorney General's Office of Consumer Protection. The form was easy to fill out. A few weeks later I receieved a letter from the Atty General's Office and a response from Cambridge. Cambridge basically said I was a liar and they followed all procedures, blah, blah. I wrote a rebuttal letter once again explaining my claim and its validity and then spent hours researching all the sites like this one detailing people's problems with Cambridge. In the end, I had 70 pages of material to send back to the Atty General's Office. I also called the investigator at the Atty General's office and spoke to her about the case. She had not received a complaint about Cambridge before and was not familiar with them. I could tell that at first she was skeptical of my claim and seemed to think Cambridge had a binding agreement. Once she received all my research and carefully written letters, she changed her mind. 3 weeks later I received a check from the attorney representing Cambridge and a nasty letter saying that they were still in the right and I was still in the wrong, but they were paying me in full anyways. Bottom line is this: Cambridge will NEVER EVER admit that they are wrong or that they scammed you, however; you CAN get your money back from them, just be persistant and don't back down against their threats or namecalling. Do your research and compose a well researched and well-documented letter to your Consumer Protection Office if you want to have a chance at a refund. Cambridge will fight you about it, but in the end they know that they cannot produce any documents binding you to their agreement and they have no valid excuse for taking your money and not providing services that you paid for. I know how devastating it is to find out you have been scammed, so I really hope this info helps others.
They will scam you...I did agree to the $598.95 for the full package with the rep on the phone in Dec 09 and I paid it via my AMEX, and it was delivered. Haven't done anything with it.
Then on my Jan 2010 statement, a charge of $199 shows up. This isn't what I agreed to with the rep on Dec 3, 2009 over the phone. I told her I would agree to the $598.95 but it had to include the lifetime as I wasn't going to pay anything more. She agreed.
Now I've disputed it with AMEX in Jan 2010 and received a letter from AMEX with Cambridge supporting all these claims, but not addressing my concern. If the conversation was recorded, I want the recording; unless of course they're editing those things too.
Shouda and Coulda but didn't; "BUYER BEWARE"
I have demanded as a 26 year "member" of AMEX that they reopen this case and truly investigate; maybe AMEX should be a bit more discerning too.
I will file a claim with the NY BBB and investiagate the option with the NY Attorney General.
This is WRONG and it should not be happening to people.
Early this summer I received a letter from Cambridge Who's Who telling me how to submit an application to get my name and business information on their registry of professionals. The information stated that there was no fee for being on the registry. So, I went to their website and filled out some generic info about my business and professional affiliations.
Yesterday I received a call from Cambridge Who's Who. The lady conducted a scripted telephone interview with me asking questions about my business and complementing me graciously about my accomplishments. Finally, she stopped after about half an hour and said I was accepted. Here's where my confusion started.
I was not in my office when called so I didn't have my paper work in front of me on this company. As I have a number of professional agency applications out there that DO charge a fee when she started talking about a fee of $599 and another for $199, what they were for, etc., I let myself be conned into providing them my debit card number to make payment. They indicated that the transaction would be non-refundable. The lady gave me a number to call if I had any questions. As soon as I hanged up the phone, I drove back to my office, located the paperwork and noted that no fees of any kind were mentioned. I tried to call them back. There was no answer.
At this point I went to the internet to find an alternate number. When I googled them, the first thing that came up was a page of consumer telemarketing scam complaints. Yes, I should have done my homework. I called my bank, Bank of America, and explained what had transpired. They showed that Cambridge Who's Who was had submitted a transaction for $599 but it had not be processed. BOA graciously agreed to stop the transaction for me and cancel/reissue my debit card, and put a block to prevent Cambridge from accessing any funds. I did some more Internet research and found a number to call for Cambridge and left a message telling them that I had stopped the transaction before it was completed out of concern for all the reported fraud/scam activity related to their business.
An hour later, around 8pm PST Blocked caller ID calls began coming to my business line. No message was left. Today, Oct. 15, the calls started again around 2pm, again with blocked caller ID. On the last call, a lady left a number for me to call.
I called them. They pretended not to know who I was, put me on hold. When someone finally came on the line they said, "I hear you have some concerns about the inaccurate blog information on the internet about our company." She reminded me that the transaction was final and non-refundable but was willing to drop a charge of $199 and only charge me $599. I explained that due to multi-state fraud/scam info related to their company no only at sites like this but with the BBB and a number of State Attorneys Generals, I did not want my name associated with their company. The lady stated that they had already taken $599 from my account as soon as I hanged up with them yesterday and she seemed please with herself in making this statement. She said that Cambridge was in litigation in a number of states regarding fraudulent accusations and again reminded me that the transaction was done and there was no refund.
This is where I told her that there was no deal. That I agreed to their fee based on incorrect information and that I had successfully blocked them from pulling funds from my account with my debit card number. The lady paused and said I was wrong, that the transaction went through and began slamming Internet information sites, then switching to reminding me she was going to waive an additional $199 for me. I advised her I would not belong to their organization. What kind of legit company calls up a perspective member and gloats about getting their money from someone who decided almost immediately that the agreement was made by mistake. I ended the call asking them not to call back. She ended the call by stating she'd be contacting my bank and getting all the money from me owed.
My final call was to my bank to alert them to the numerous phone calls and veiled threats to access my account. BOA assured me that Cambridge was blocked from accessing any funds and since I had asked that my card be canceled and reissued, they no longer had valid info. BOA also seemed to be familiar with this company. As I spoke about Cambridge, the bank associate pulled up some info and spoke as if she knew about this company.
Bottom line, I am thankful and appreciated the way BOA jumped on this to prevent any exchange of funds which, at least in my state, means the transaction was not finalized. I am filing a fraud complaint with BOA, Washingto State Atty General and the Pennsylvania Atty General related to deceptive telemarketing practices, and I am very lucky. I will do my homework better, much better, before I allow myself to be lulled into something like this.
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