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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.

  • 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
      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'.

  • 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!!!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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".

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Sh
      22nd of Oct, 2009
    +1 Votes

    "OMG!" I heard the same commercial on th radio station, I also called the number but they mentioned alot more than just the $1000 voucher. It was a walmart card and gas card and 2 discount cards one for liberty pass and another for the us patroit pass. The rep was rude, they didnt go over anything at all. they couldnt provide me with a website nor could they tell me any thing about the vouchers. I never recieved any vouchers and when I called and asked them about how they worked the customer service rep told me I had to order the coupons...Order the coupons? I thought they were sending them to me. I canceled my accounts with the 2 side compaanys also and watched my account like a hawk. Its sa these days what people go through to take peoples hard earned money. It makes my blood boil.. I will never trust anything else like this ever again. I was planning on helping out my Grandmother and everything I had plans made out for that voucher. lol. I now have to tell my friends about this scam because I also told them about the commercial and also applied. this is just abunch of sad mess. I would like to thank everyone for posting these alerts otherwise I would have never known. God Bless you all

  • Tr
      26th of Nov, 2009
    0 Votes

    Greetings, Fight4Consumers

    Thank you for posting this valuable information. Hopefully all readers will combine together and file enough complaints for some action to take place. I certainly will.

    Thank you again for posting this valuable information in an effort to keep the 'Consumer's Cause' alive!

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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!!!

  • 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.

  • 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 [protected]@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.

  • 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...

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