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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.

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  • No
      6th of Oct, 2011
    0 Votes

    I was driving home from night class two nights ago, when this ad came on the radio, I thanked Jesus for answering my prayers. It didn't take long on the phone for the red flags to go up! When I was informed of a $19.95 "processing" fee, I asked if I could send in a money order. I was told that for my "protection" every transaction had to be done electronically. I asked for some time to do a little research and make sure I was not getting scammed (I have already been the victom of identity theft and as a result I am overly cautious of the information I give out), and I was given a toll free customer service number. I was told that if I was not 100% satisfied with my $2000 voucher that my processing fee would be refunded. I was pressed to give my credit/ debit card number again, and eventually hung up on the guy. I'm glad I did! My husband and I work to the bone to provide for our children, and can barely make it from one pay check to the other. The advertisement made it sound so simple. I hate that these people can get away with this type of scam and that they are allowed to advertise over local radio stations. It made me feel good to call because surely the radio wouldn't allow a scam to advertise. It's not like I came across this on the internet where nothing is sensored, I didn't reply to a spam email, or junk snail mail. I called a number I had heard on the radio. I think I'm going to call the radio station in the morning and let them know about this!

  • Jb
      29th of Aug, 2011
    0 Votes

    is this really a scam ? i just did this thru american values they stated they were a part of the neilsons research group, i did research for neilson before they were legit, so i'm hoping its not a scam now, kids to feed and can't afford a scam.

  • Br
      5th of Jan, 2011
    0 Votes

    This is now MOR Marketing and they have a website:

    I too got suckered into this, never got the $100 Target Gift Card I was promised and when I called they said they could resend it...I declined and they assured me of a refund...I honestly don't care if I get a refund, I just don't want to get charged any more!!

    I was told they were giving a $1000 to spend at the grocery so they could see how I spend my money. She gave me a spiel about how it had to be spent on name brand groceries, and that it was being funded by the companies that received the results...blah blah no time was the word Coupon used.

  • Mo
      19th of Dec, 2010
    0 Votes

    Hello, I just got a call on from some guy in India saying they were from "ultimate savings plus" - it even has a website online, but it seems to me to just be a better version of this scam here. I also checked online and couldn't find anything about that company AT ALL, (while he was talking to me I did this- for future reference just hang up since they are very good at keeping you on the phone) Has anyone ever had that before?

  • Tr
      21st of Mar, 2010
    0 Votes

    Hello, Curious in Baltimore

    Congratulations on being so inquisitive! Asking questions and being skeptical is the only way that consumers can attempt to protect themselves from the horrors that happened to most posters on this site, especially my personal ordeal.

    It is indeed the workings of the Lord that led you to avoid agreeing to anything. I am thankful for your post, and please pass your story on to others who may be considering this 'deal'. Let's keep the "Consumer's Cause" going!

  • Cu
      15th of Mar, 2010
    0 Votes

    I am in Baltimore MD, and I heard this advertisement on the radio. I am a college educated woman and would like to think of my self as being fairly intelligent. I was always told "if it is to good to be true, then normally it is". This is a perfect example of that saying. I called the number that was given and spoke to a young man. He recited a short but clearly rehearsed spiel about the consumer research being conducted in my area - as in many of the other complaints, he did not ask nor did he reference "my area" by name. He then told me that all I needed to do was pay a $9.90 shipping and handling fee (preferably by credit card or debit card and that the card would be sent out to me with within 7 to 10 business days. I asked him if he could give me the name of the company that was/is conducting the research so I could do a level of background check. He then came at me as if to reason with me by saying "you heard this on the radio right?" and I said yes, he then said "do you know of any companies who broadcast information over the radio that is fraudulent?" and I said yes, so he gave me the name of ATS Market Research. He told me to google it and that I could call back if I wanted to.

    Needless to say that I did in fact google ATS Market Research, and this was the first site that came up. I Thank GOD that I had enough inquisitiveness to look just beneath the surface of what was being said and see how I could have been played for a fool.

  • Tr
      12th of Mar, 2010
    0 Votes

    Greetings, vnw98

    I am thankful to God as well that you cancelled the card before any charges went through. My only offering of advice for you is that if you gave them a telephone number to contact you through, watch your bill. I have mentioned before that bogus charges appeared on my mother's telephone bill and we had quite a time resoving the whole situation. It took at least two months, and I do not want to see that happen to anyone else.

    Again, I am glad that you took action early and cancelled your card. Please warn all of your friends and family and ask them to check this site as well before making any decisions. Thank you for keeping the "Consumer's Cause" alive!

  • Vn
      10th of Mar, 2010
    0 Votes

    OMG i just fell for this scam, and right after i hung up i realised it, and I called my credit card company and they closed my account, and issued me a new one. They said that charge did not even go through, thank god.

  • Tr
      25th of Feb, 2010
    0 Votes

    Greetings, lolololol and Fbloggs

    The important thing is that after something like this takes place, to get your card cancelled, which you did, lolololol, so don't beat yourself up over it. Depending on of you gave them a telephone number or not, you may want to call your phone company because when they can no longer take payments off of the card, they may go after the phone bill adding bogus charges (this happened with my mother's bill and she had to change her number).

    In these economic times, it is easy for companies like that to draw attention from people because everyone is looking for a better way to manage. I am also glad that you are not going to try to milk a few bucks from others; that would make you just as bad as they are! At times it seems as though people are getting away, but if we all just make sure that we are doing the right thing, they will eventually get theirs.

    Fbloggs, you are correct; if it sounds too good to be true, most likely it is.

    Thank both of you for your posts. I appreciate you taking time to write about this so that others will be on the lookout. please also keep the "Consumer's Cause" alive by warning as many people in your area as you possibly can!

  • Fb
      22nd of Feb, 2010
    0 Votes

    Remember the golden rule. If it sounds too good to be true...IT IS. Why people continue to get sucked into these types of scams is beyond me.

  • Lo
      5th of Feb, 2010
    0 Votes

    i fell for this stupid scam. got a total of 5 charges on my card. 4 for 1.95 and one for 4.90. i got some crap in the mail that were not 1000 worth of grocery vouchers, but rather an order form to buy coupons. 10 coupons for 2 dollars. also got 3 letters of memberships to stuff i never heard of. called those 3 800 numbers found in the letters and canceled membership. now im all freaked out that these rip off companies will keep charging my card, so called bank of america and let them know the situation, which was embarrassing to even talk about, and they canceled my card and i get a new one in a week.

    only in america. i think i'll start my own company doing something like this and milk a few bucks from a few million people. oh wait, but im not a douche like these people.

  • Tr
      28th of Jan, 2010
    0 Votes

    Hello again, floridajohn1!

    It is great to hear from you again and I hope that things with ATS Research go well when you contact them.

    It is unfortunate to hear about your bad experience with the Nelson group, but I am glad that you posted it here so that everyone can see that this one is truly a fraud. It may be a good idea to start a complaint of your own against the Nelson Marketing Research Group as I am sure that many people will be searching under that title for legitimacy and sharing their experiences as well. Just as you had a positive experience with ATS and many had negative experiences, you may find someone who posts a positive testimony about the Nelson Group. This is why I do not knock ATS or the Encore Marketing group, I just encourage others to read the postings and judge for themselves whether or not they want to participate.

    Thank you so much for your post and I hope that you can get another good deal with ATS. In the meantime, please keep the "Consumer's Cause" alive by informing all of your loved ones about your situation with the Nelson Marketing Research Group. Please keep us infromed as well!

  • Fl
      28th of Jan, 2010
    0 Votes

    Hi Trish,

    I responded quite a while ago about my experience with ATS Research, and everything actually turned out quite well for me. But since you brought up the "Nelson Marketing Research Group, " I thought I would share my experience with this company on this complaint.

    Since my experience with ATS Research went over so well, I heard the Nelson ad on the radio, and thought it was probably the same set up. I called and signed up for the program. The man I spoke with said it would be $2, 000 worth of free groceries. I asked several times if it was coupons, and the man said that it was not; it was actually a gift card with $2, 000 dollars on it. He tried to pitch me a bunch of other programs, but luckily, I knew not to take them.

    When the "gift card" arrived, I was shocked to find out I could only receive $10 worth of coupons a month, and it cost me $2 at a time. What a hassle. It showed up on my billing statement as "Products for Life." We should be changing our focus away from ATS Research, and start looking into this Nelson Marketing Research Group.

    Hope this helps. I'm going to contact ATS Research and try and get another great deal with them. Keep up on the good work Trish, the public applauds you.

  • Tr
      25th of Jan, 2010
    0 Votes

    Greetings, GG2030

    I heard the commercial on the radio in Cleveland a few weeks ago, only this time it was "Nelson Marketing Research Group". I warned everyone that I knew and as far as I know so far, no one was entangled in the deceitful web which the Encore Marketing Group has weaved.

    Thank you for your post, and as I always say, if it sounds too good to be true, it is! Please warn everyone that you know to check out this site and let's keep the "Consumer's Cause" alive!

  • Gg
      25th of Jan, 2010
    +1 Votes

    I usually look on line for complaints or scam notices about a service before giving any personal info online or over the phone. This sounded TOO GOOD TOO BE TRUE!!! Thanks for the warnings. I actually heard this on a religious radio station. I wish that they would check out these people before accepting their offer of $$$$ to play these commercials.

  • Tr
      4th of Jan, 2010
    0 Votes

    Hello, LAYLOW

    I am glad that you did not give your card number out. It could have led to a seemingly never-ending nightmare.

    About the commercials, it is definitely crazy how they travel around. I heard it last week here in Cleveland, Ohio but this time it was supposed to be "Nelson Research". The phone number, however, was the same.

    Please inform everyone you know about this so that they can read the posts if they don't believe you, then make up their own mind. Thank you for keeping the "Consumer's Cause" alive!

  • Tr
      4th of Jan, 2010
    0 Votes

    Greetings again, Emmas

    Thank you, first off, for sending a follow-up post and keeping us informed. I am sorry that this opportunity did not turn out well for you.

    It is a smart idea for you to put a hold on your card and although you were able to get one of the charges reversed, please keep an eye out for it on your bill. The situation that I went through with the telephone bill was that a charge was reversed, but then it would show up on the next bill and this went on for quite some time before I was finally able to get it to end.

    Of all the people that decided to try this and repost, you are the only one that I have heard from. Thank you again for such consideration. I wish you the best of luck in ending the charges and thank you for helping to keep the "Consumer's Cause" going!

  • La
      4th of Jan, 2010
    0 Votes


  • Em
      24th of Dec, 2009
    0 Votes

    Unfortunately this was just a scam. I did not receive a gift card that could be used at grocery stores as I was told, but a gift card for a coupons program. I have no interest in coupon programs because they never have coupons for what I normally buy. I canceled the 2 other programs I was signed up for (At Home Rewards Plus 1-888-299-6416, Today's Escapes Plus 1-877-226-1837). I never received anything from them in the mail, so I'm glad I took down their information at the beginning. I was able to get the At Home Rewards Plus $1.95 charge reversed by a supervisor when I called the number. Today's Escapes Plus was an automated system though. I'm going to put a hold on my credit card because there were "other brochures" I was supposed to be receiving from "JP Morgan Chase" too that I would "need to respond to within 30 days to avoid additional charges, because if you don't respond they are going to assume that you want to use their services."

  • Tr
      11th of Dec, 2009
    0 Votes

    Greetings, firstlay_d

    I am glad that you did not waste your time and thankful for your post. Please advise all of your friends, co-workers, family, and loved ones to beware of these people when they hear the advertisement as well.

    Speaking of advertisement, it seems that if anyone in radio has heard complaints about it that the station would eventually stop airing it, but from their standpoint, it probably goes like this: The station may be receiving a generous amount of money for airing the commercials, and, I presume that they feel as though they are only airing the commercials; they are not forcing anyone to call and get scammed. I am just saying that is probably their standpoint, but I am not saying that is morally right.

    Thank you again for your post and please warn everyone so that we can keep the 'Consumer's Cause' alive and well!

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