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Encore Marketing Group / Grocery Voucher Scam

1 Cleveland, OH, United States Review updated:

A co-worker told me of a radio commercial advertising a thousand-dollar grocery voucher. I heard the commercial that very next evening and called the number. The customer service worker told me that his company (gave no company name) was doing research in my area (did not even know where I lived) to see what type of groceries people buy, and that by paying $3.58 shipping & handling over the phone with my credit card, I would receive the voucher in 7 to 14 days. I would also receive a membership to American Leisure and EZ Saver, and I would get a $25 Wal * Mart gift card. I was told that I could cancel these memberships up to 10 days after I received the voucher and the cancellation numbers would be in the packet. This was on a Wednesday night at 11:30PM. After the phone call, I looked up Am-Leisure and EZ Saver online and found complaints about it being a scam. I was suspicious from the beginning. Instead of waiting for the packet, I found some cancellation numbers online and cancelled both (Am-Leisure and EZ Saver) that Friday between 1:30PM - 2:00 PM. I was given a cancellation confirmation number as well and copied that as well as the CS Rep I spoke with (Dolores). Two weeks passed and I never received the grocery voucher (at this point I knew it was a scam so I didn't even care), but I did receive the info for the Wal*Mart gift card and a gas card. A week later I also received something from American True Savings, and these strange long-distance numbers started showing up in my cell phone (which is odd because when I called, I gave them my HOME phone number ONLY. They must have caller ID). I didn't answer and there were no messages left. Two days ago I sent a letter to Encore Marketing along with all of the materials that I received in the mail, explaining which date the membership had been cancelled, so I should have never received the materials. I also included the cancellation confirmation information and thanked them in advance for clearly understanding that I want no membership with them or any of their affiliates.

My co-worker said that she cancelled on the same weekend that I did, but unfortunately noticed a charge of $16.95 on her debit card on May 6. She notified her bank of the situation and they told her that the charge is pending but if it goes through, they will dispute it.

I, on the other hand, have not yet noticed any of those charges on my card yet. I am not going to ask them to refund the $3.58 that was already charged to me, as that will be my lesson learned for falling into a such a silly scam in the first place. However, if I notice any charges from these companies or any of their affiliates on my debit card, I will just cut it into pieces, call the bank and report it stolen and get a new number. After all, no one can charge a number that no longer exists. To everyone reading this, remember one thing: If it sounds too good to be true, IT IS.

Tr
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Comments

  • Pj
      2nd of Jun, 2009
    +1 Votes

    i was a skeptic, when I asked about a web site to do some research on ATS Market Research, which is a bonafied company, but the person told me that they were government based, and based out of Maine. There was no such company in Maine, and the I googled a little more, and found this, and am glad my wife, who told me to call, was right to hang up before any big info was given.

  • Tr
      3rd of Jun, 2009
    +1 Votes

    I am glad that you all were saved from this scam. Please be sure to warn anyone else that you know about this.

  • Ms
      9th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    I just got called by ATS and they were trying to get me to do their program of giving me a 1000$ grocery gift card to use at my leisure. I was just about to say yes until I read this article. DONT' GIVE IN!!! I live in nebraska and if you hear about it on the radio don't do it!!!

  • Tr
      9th of Jun, 2009
    +1 Votes

    Good for you, mshepbio! I wish that I would have read about these companies and the scam before I got sucked in. Keep up the good work of warning people to 'just say no'.

  • Ms
      10th of Jun, 2009
    +1 Votes

    Thanks Trish! Hey, us consumers have to watch out for eachother. We are the only ones screwed by these horrible, out to get us, companies. They are making a buck off of innocent people that just want to do the right thing and maybe help their families out little by little.

  • Ho
      11th of Jun, 2009
    +1 Votes

    This is a scam that took more than 100.00 out of my bank account and when I called them back they seemed not to care at all about what was going on when I asked for a sup I was told that they were out of the office then I asked for a manager and the guy changed his name and said that he did not care about me or my bank account and gave me some bogus customer service number which of course no one answered I had to have my bank investigate in order to get my money back, 3.90 turned out to be over a 100.00 please beware and don't get suckered in this was horrible experience!!!

  • Tr
      11th of Jun, 2009
    +1 Votes

    I am sorry to hear of your misfortune, Horrible Scam.

    Although I received a confirmation number from a live person, I do not trust these people and through checking my bank account frequently, I too noticed a charge of $19.95 earlier this week. I already am disputing the charge through the bank. I also requested a new debit card. The old one in the meantime has the debit status removed so it can only be used at the ATM. After I receive the new one I will shred this one as I mentioned in my original complaint.

    For you, Horrible Scam, I am urging you as I have urged all of the other complainers of this company: WARN EVERYONE AND ANYONE in your family, circle of friends and entire state of this scam and tell them to BEWARE!

  • Ka
      15th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    OH NO!!! I just did this! It was on the radio. I called and gave them a credit card. I guess I may be in luck. My card expires in just 2 weeks so no more can be put on. I will dispute it and I have a wonderful relationship with the people at my bank. Is there any truth to this place at all? Do you really get anything out of it? Some one that has gotten it please let me know. Email me at kay@access-med.com. I really would appreciate it. It was on our local radio station this am and with the economy the way it is I really could use the groceries. I'm a single mom of two boys. This would not be good right now to get money taken away seeing as how I have so little as it is.

  • Co
      15th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    I heard the ad on the radio and called in earlier. I asked if any money other than the shipping and handling charge would be taken out of my account and was assured it wouldn't. I asked if i had to complete any promotions to qualify, and they said no. I knew it sounded too good to be true so i did some research and found this site.
    I immediately called them back and asked about the whole magazine subscription, and they said as long as I was not notified of the subscription offer in my original phone call, I could not be charged. Is this true or am I just that naive lol?

  • Za
      16th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    I also just did this. I am about to call the two side companies to go ahead and cancel my accounts. Has anyone actually even received the grocery card yet?? I guess I will go ahead and cancel my debit card and get a new one. Like the previous poster said, if the card doesn't exist, then they can't continue to charge it.

  • Tr
      16th of Jun, 2009
    +1 Votes

    Hello again... this message is for Kaye, collegestudent, and zabadabbadooo:

    THIS IS A SCAM! No one ever receives the grocery voucher and even the information regarding the Wal*Mart card and the gasoline card are untruths. I am the original poster of this complaint and all I received were brochures telling me about all the things I could possibly get discounts on due to my "membership" (which I had already canceled).

    Kaye:
    I can easily see how you were drawn in, as economic times played a big role in your decision to do this, and I feel sympathy as you are a single mom. You are lucky that your card expires in two weeks, but you may still get hit with a charge of $19.95. I think the only reason the charges were delayed on mine were because I called and canceled the subscription, so they wanted to pretend that it was canceled and thought that I'd stop checking my account records so that they could hit me with it later. It really is a scam and I know that you can't afford to lose any money, so if I were you I'd just cancel the card before the two weeks are out. Report it stolen or lost or something, but just stop any activity on it. Get a new card with a new number that way they have no way to get money from you.

    collegestudent:
    I know you'd like to believe that what they are telling you is true, but it is not. Please don't fall into this scam because when it's done and over with, although someone that sounded legitimate told you that there would be no extra charges, you will call the same number to find that it is disconnected. When you try to contact Encore Marketing Group about it, they will have no clue as to what you're talking about, OR they will ask for your card number (supposedly to identify your account by). They will allegedly "CANCEL" the subscription and stop all charges, and for a while you'll be good... then if you look at your credit card statements a month or two later, you'll find that you're being charged. If you've already given the information, RIP THAT CARD UP AND REPORT IT STOLEN! You're not naive, you're just trying to get some help in these rough economic times but I'm telling you from experience that these people are not the ones to help you.

    zabadabbadooo:
    You've got it! No one ever receives the grocery coupons or anything else except stupid little brochures on what you can possibly get by being a member of these companies. Thanks for taking my advice about the cards, too... it's the only logical way that I can think of to stop these 'money monsters' from sucking your accounts dry.

    Thank you all for reading my post and the other posts associated with this. I'm glad that it gave you some insight on these scam artists. I wish you all the best in getting rid of them and as I always say, WARN EVERYONE YOU KNOW! Call people, send e-mails with links to this site, make fliers if you have to. As said best by mshepbio, "us consumers have to watch out for eachother".

  • Ma
      17th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    I just called the number after hearing it on the radio. I help on for 5 minutes and a guy answered. I asked what was the catch..he named the company ATS market research and said they are doing research here in my area and then the call disconnected. I just googled and came across this. I knew it was too good to be true. I live in Florida so apparetly they are playing their commercials all over.

  • Tr
      17th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    Greetings, Marta

    I am so happy that you came across this complaint that I don't know what to do! It feels so good to see other consumers protecting themselves from this fraudulent company with posts from me and others who were taken. The only thing to do now is warn all of your co-workers, friends, and family members so that they can be saved as well. If they don't believe you, just give them a link to this page! Good luck.

  • So
      22nd of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    I also got sucked into this i guess i just called about 4-5 days ago and actually didnt do the smart thing of looking them up first. Although my gut feeling told me also it was to good to be true. But being a single mother of 3 children i wanted so much to believe there was really someone out there willing to help people out. I have not received any of my info yet. Im gonna call and cancel my card also so that no more of my hard earned money gets taken from me. Thanks for the post although i should have looked at them before i decided to fall for this...

  • Tr
      22nd of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    Hi, someplace101

    Don't come down on yourself for not looking this up first; sometimes these things happen, especially in these economic times as you said, we all want to believe that when people say they're going to help us, they will be true to their word. Unfortunately that is not so with most companies right now, especially when they offer something like this. These are the people that should be come down on because they are taking advantage of innocent consumers and they do not care.

    You still did a smart thing by looking them up, period (your gut feeling is usually correct) and I am super glad that you did so and that you're going to cancel your card! If it's only been about a week, they haven't had a chance to hit you with any of the 'large' charges.

    Thank you as well for your post; the more we all write, the more people will see and be saved from these scam artists. Please keep the 'consumer's cause' alive by warning everyone that you possibly can about this scam.

  • Sa
      25th of Jun, 2009
    +1 Votes

    Trish. It seems you have made a very big mistake. I also called in for the groceries. I could not be happier. When I read over the material in the package, everything was clearly explained. I've saved well over a thousand dollars. The coupons aren't like your average Sunday morning coupons. Half of them are for free stuff! I can't say enough good things about this service. But like every business, Im sure some people will complain. I was told that the company gives away thousands of packages. So for there only to be a little over a dozen complaints here, that seems like a pretty small number. Half of the so called complaints here are rumors and questions people have. I think everyone on this message board needs to take a deep breath. Do your own research and don't allow yourself to be influenced by negativity. Peace to the Middle East!

  • Tr
      26th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    Hello, Saving on.

    I am glad that this worked out for you. However, it obviously did not work out for me or the other people here. I did not have to do research because I LIVED it! The way it was explained to me is that I would receive a voucher for $1000. Even if I received a bunch of coupons leading to that amount or more in savings, that is NOT A VOUCHER. See the difference? The end does not justify the means in my case, and a lie is a lie regardless.

    Again, I am glad that the person you talked with obviously explained things to you in a different way and you were satisfied. It gives this story a positive spin. I figured that to every story, there is always someone who gets something good out of it. Kudos to you for making this post which will give people hope that this can actually work. I presume they just need to ask the right questions and decide if they want to continue.

    I, however, listened very carefully to the person who explained this to me and it was a shady deal. I can't speak for everyone here, but I definitely know that I made no mistake on my part and will continue to help other consumers attempt to save their precious pennies.

  • Gl
      26th of Jun, 2009
    +1 Votes

    I thought this sounded too good to be true as well. I did take some time and do research and found out that the big catch is that you pay 10% of the value of the coupon for each discount you get. Not really a 'big catch' when you think about it. A few weeks ago my husband told me we should try it and todate we have saved $150.00 at the checkout counter and the total cost to use was only $15.00. Our plan is to track our savings and when we get to $800 we are taking a long beach weekend. I plan to make this happen before Labor Day :-)

    I'll repost here if anything changes, but as of right now we've been really pleased with our savings.

  • Fl
      26th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    I don't know what you all are talking about! This program was just what my family needed. The sales rep we spoke with clearly explained everything, spending nearly 30 minutes going over all the terms with me. He explained that the gift card gave me access to the $1000 dollars in coupons, which me being a coupon cutter myself, it only added to my savings at the store. The greatest thing about this program is when my local grocer has double coupon savings days every Thursday, and with my coupons, on top of whatever sale is going on with the specific item, I get the item virtually for free. I think you just need to go in with the right mind frame, and not be embarrassed about using coupons at the store - a little planning beforehand, and you can save a solid amount per trip!

  • Tr
      26th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    Hello, Glorida and floridajohn

    Apparently you two and 'saving on' got better customer service than the other complainers and I did. I can't speak for all of the other complainers but I definitely know how it was explained to me and unfortunately it wound up not working out so well on my end.

    I hope that you all continue to have the best of luck with these coupons and save on the groceries that you receive. I still urge you to watch your statements (as you are already doing, I hope) and be sure that you are not being charged for things that you did not authorize.

    Again, best of luck be with you. Because of my misfortune, I will always be weary of this group and will continue to try and help other consumers understand how this works before they decide if they want 'in' or not. Thank you two as well for the positive spin on this company and may you continue to save!

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