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Heartland, Inc / Scam and fraud!

1 Des Moines, IA, United States Review updated:
Contact information:
Phone: 515-251-5316

First off, I have been registered with the National Do Not Call registry since January of 2003.(I recently checked to verify that I am still on the list, and I am). This Company called me Jan. 17, 2008. and started out bu asking how I like the magazines I was receiving. Since I was receiving magazines from another company, I assumed they were somehow affiliated with that company and I never asked.

They made a lot of small talk(probably designed to get me to give some 'yes' answers that they could use later) and verified some information like age, credit card number address, etc. they never told me that the purpose of the call was a sales call(and I believe, if my research is correct, that this is required of telemarketers) and they never asked me if I would agree to pay $49.90/ month for 20 months to add 5 more years onto the subscriptions.

By February, they were billing my credit card for the $49.90, I missed the first one but I caught it on the March bill and reported it to the credit card company as an unauthorized charge, and they took it off. Heartland then started calling me almost daily and sent me a letter that they would send an invoice and I should mail them a check.

On these phone calls I told them that I had never authorized them to bill me so they played a tape purported to be the recording of the sales call. I can't prove it without having the tape analyzed, but that conversation did not take place in that way and the charges had never been mentioned to me(they were on the tape, however and my response was uh-huh, which I believe was something i answered to a different question and I believe in order for the verbal, recorded contract to be valid, the purchaser has to give a definite and clear affirmative response).

I decided that it would be too costly and time consuming to try to prove the tape was a fake, so I went after the Do Not Call violation instead. The first person I mentioned it too said it was my obligation to notify them that I was on the do not call list, which proved he either didn't know the law or didn't care. The second person I mentioned it too said I wasn't on their list(if they bought the list like they are required to do, I would have been on it).

When I researched the Do Not Call law, I find that they are required to purchase the lists of every area code that they make calls in and if they don't, they could be fined up to $11, 000/ per phone call. But, the FTC does not enforce this, they only keep a data base of the complaints, it is up to an attorney general or a district attorney to bring charges I guess. I did get them to drop the contract by filing complaints with the FTC, the BBB, the South Dakota Attorney General's office and Senator Tim Johnson's office, and I was willing to keep going if necessary.

Even tho, I am no longer on the hook for the charges, I believe scammers should be stopped and I hope someone takes hold of this and runs with it.

Va
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Comments

  • Ch
      3rd of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    Just had a long conversation with 'Josh' who doesn't seem to be the sharpest knife in the drawer. He kept trying to trap me in admitting something he could hold against me but I kept backing him up with facts about the do not call list, the BBC complaint I filed and the numerous complaints online about their company. I asked for everything in writing and for them to respond to the BBB complaint which he tried his best to dodge. I also noticed that they have multiple inaccuracies in their records that described their dealings with me. When I mentioned that the number they initially contacted me on was on the do not call list he tried to trap me into finding out how I registered. He stayed clear of that one as well after I confirmed I was on there. I think I've played their game long enough and will turn this over to an attorney.

  • Ch
      11th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    I have to agree with the earlier poster about the BBB complaint and the Do Not Call List working. After being harassed by these guys filed a BBB complaint that also stated that the number they contacted me on was on the DNC list. They ignored it the first time when they replied to the complaint but I insisted I needed an answer to that or my attorney would be contacting them next. They dropped all my accounts and added me to their intenal DNC list per their response. Anyone who is on the the list needs to verify and file with the Iowa BBB to put these scammers out of business.

  • Mi
      29th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    I was also contacted by Heartland Inc about some magazines.They said"we heard that another company was trying to get me to renew my subscription" for more magazines.I never recieved magazines from Heartland Inc to begin with.I recieved magazines from a company in California.When i got the magazines, I used a credit card.The Heartland Inc said "i used my checking account and wanted me to give them my routing # and checking account #.When I told them "my subscription was billed to my credit card" they hung up the phone.I reported them to the BBB so they could be investigated for fraudulent activities.

  • Je
      28th of Sep, 2008
    0 Votes
    Heartland, Inc - Constant calls
    Lexington
    South Carolina
    United States

    Heartland Inc has been calling almost daily despite my informing them that I don't want any magazines. How do I get them to stop?

  • St
      5th of Oct, 2008
    0 Votes

    Got a call asking for my wife. I responded sharply Who is this?, he replied This is a courtesy call from the publishers. I said She's not here and he signed off. I'm glad this site is here, now I have a better idea of what we're dealing with.

  • Ch
      26th of Oct, 2008
    0 Votes

    I am get harrassed by this Heartland inc. company and I just want to cancel the service. I have not paid them since the first payment and now they say I will be sent to a collections agancy. I never recieved any magazines from them and can't get them to cancel my service. What should I do?

  • Ki
      27th of Oct, 2008
    0 Votes

    I can't believe these people can keep getting away with this and if anyone has an idea - email me!!
    they called me back in sept. and after practically word for word of what Matthew wrote back in april, I ended the phone call with the supervisor telling him he better not charge my card and I was litteraly arguing back and forth with him over this. I went the next morning and filed a fraud report (with my bank) and canceled my credit/debit card. They still continue to call me at least 2 to 3 times a day (yes, even sat and sun). this last week I just stopped answering the phone. But on one occasion when I asked for my recording, they didn't have those, they would have to research it and get back with me. The VERY NEXT DAY, they called and guess what, they had my recorded conversation. BUT, all it was, was my information folled by UH-HUH's... I asked the woman what happened to the rest of it? She said that was it. Bull @$#& !! I told her it had been altered. hung up and haven't answered their phone calls since. I thought about filing a harrassment complaint with the phone company. Anyone willing to do something about these people, im in...feel free to email me!!

  • Sa
      29th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    My husband passed away in 2005, this company caught me in a very depressed state. I did not sigh anyting, they say they have it on tape. I don't really care where they have it. I have tried to discontinue these subscriptions
    and they say I am unable to unless I pay some unlikely amount of over $1000 and I refuse to pay it because I don't want the magazines any longer. They have my cell phone somehow and they have our home phone in which we did not give them, and now it will be going private.

    These companies catch people in a depressed state and take advantage. I may get a call from Josh then I hang up and then i 30 min I will get a call from a female for the same thing. I end up hanging up on them, because they have been told and told that I wanted no more magazines.

    They may call me 3 or 4 times a day. They also have bee told not to call after a certain time and certain day and they still do it anyway.
    This reminds me of when I got took big time on a dating internet and he was from Africa, and showed a picture of someone completely different.

    Heartland Inc. can just bug off as far as I am concerned. What is worse they substitute magazines they you don't want in the first place.

  • Mp
      14th of Dec, 2008
    0 Votes

    Heartline Inc. have been calling me for the past year and has also stolen money from my checking account. They call me every 2 min. for hours on end. At times they are very threatening, saying things such as " You will listen to me", and "Mam, do not hang up on me one more time!"
    Tonight I got a phone call stateing that they are going to "take my childs social security". When I told him that he cannot do that, he says "mam, I can do anything I want too. This is what I do for a living".
    They not only do this to me, but to my children also. I told them that whatever they are trying to send me to cancel it, they state that they cannot. I "waited too long" and now I owe them.
    I am getting ready to turn my home phone off and go strictly cell phone. I am also on a "do not call list", but am starting to think that it was also a scam. I cannot escape these people!!

  • Ks
      19th of Jan, 2009
    0 Votes

    I did business with them in 2003, had no problem with them back then, I actually enjoyed the service. I am wondering if they sold their company? Or is it under new management? The company I dealt with back then always answered their phone and always took care of anything I had a problem with. But once my contract was up, they called me and told me that I had agreed back in 2003 to renew the account with them once it was up, and they started debiting my account. I closed that account after they debited it 3 times, and refused to call me back after I left countless messages. They never answer their customer service number, you can't call back the number that they call from, and there is another number that you have to leave a message and they will call you back. This is not how a legitimate business works! So, now that the account # they have is no longer active, they are calling again, but get this, they are calling my in-laws and my husband because they don't even have my number! and there's a bunch of more craziness with this company. I think we should organize some sort of class action lawsuit?
    I can't believe this.
    Is www.heartlandcircle.com really their website? it looks completely unrelated to the magazines...

    K

  • Ks
      19th of Jan, 2009
    +1 Votes

    Info from the BBB:

    Name: Heartland, Inc
    Phone: (866) 292-4882
    Fax: (515) 252-7502
    Address: 3829 71st St Ste C
    Urbandale, IA 50322-3263
    Google Map
    Website: www.heartlandmagazines.biz
    Original Business Start Date: November 2002
    Principal: Chris Sanders-Ring, Secretary to CEO
    Customer Contact: Chris Sanders-Ring, Secretary to CEO
    Entity: Corporation
    Incorporated: March 2002, IA
    TOB Classification: Magazine Sales, Magazine Sales by Mail
    BBB Accreditation: This organization is a BBB Accredited business.

  • Ks
      19th of Jan, 2009
    0 Votes

    also, the BBB rates this business a C for 130 complaints in the last 36 months 89 within the last year!

  • Po
      30th of May, 2009
    0 Votes

    Like many of you i received a letter stating that i owe them money. I was very confused when i saw the charges for 49.90 on my bank statement. When i spoke to the women on the phone over 3 years ago i was told that i would pay 49.90 for 20 months then i would receive lifetime supply of magazines. Boy was i gullable! They stoppted chargeing me for like a year and then the charges popped back up out of no where. I reported them to my bank and got a new checking card; that is when i received the letter stating i am deliquent @249.50 and still have a "contract" balance of 898.20!!! WTF?! I called their "number" and was close to cussing them out on their voicemail. I simply said that i was NOT paying it; and that if need be i will investigate further into their so-called "company"! Did anyone else receive a letter and actually have it go into collections? I just dont want this A*$ holes to affect my credit.

  • So
      11th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    I can only guess that Heartland, Inc., has hundreds, if not thousands, of customers that are truly happy with their service. It is just a shame that only negative things are written about a company. I am sure that if we look hard enough, we can find complaints on every company in the U.S. I have been very satisfied with the service I have been receiving from Heartland, Inc., for nearly three years now. From reading the numerous filings on the Internet about Heartland, Inc., I feel like a lot of people just don't pay attention to what they're doing over the phone; so once the contract is in place, their ignorance leads them directly to the conclusion that they've been had. The sales call I did receive from them was like those stated above. They started out by saying that they were affiliated with the publishers, which they are. They are sales associates of the major publishing company, an outsourcing company, or contractor if you will. How often does this happen in our economy, all the time. The sales associate did in fact say to me that they were new to the company, and asked if I would put in a good word for them with their supervisor. Why not; he was polite. It was the supervisor/closer (closer is what they have to be) that then got onto the phone. He very politely ran through his speal, and clearly stated that they were Heartland, my monthly payment would be $59.85/month for 30 months. Everything was laid out clearly, up front, and no "hidden" meaning was in place. They confirmed my bank info, I gave them permission to withdraw the funds, and that's that.

    Sounds like a lot of people just don't pay attention, nor know anything about contract laws. My main question to all of those who complain, why would you give out or confirm your bank account information, say yes to your initial payment and to the following 18-28 payments, and then be mad when charges start showing up on your monthly statements? That's just ignorant in my opinion.

    People just need to start paying more attention...plain and simple...and starting taking credit for your actions instead of blaming it on a company who seemingly is running their business by the law and guidelines that have been set before them. I just looked up their BBB complaints for recent months, and it has dropped drastically...and yet people still want to say they are a scam. Like I have said, I think people just need to wise up a little bit to what they're doing. And most of all, people need to realize that saying "yes" to a contract over the phone, by definition set out in contract law, that "yes" is the EXACT same as signing a piece of paper.

  • Gt
      2nd of Jul, 2009
    0 Votes

    My complaint is the same as all those I have previously read. I have been harrassed with phone calls and I am on the no call list.They say my info to them is on tape, I don't believe it. I have talked to some pompous creatures and I have told them I didn't order some of these magazines that are now coming to my house. I have felt like this was a scam since my first dealings with them in 2008. I cannot afford these magazines. Since I am losing my home, how can I afford there magazines. I have been ripped off and at age 70, feel like a real dummy. These people are typical telemarketers and have been taught well how to dupe the public. At this stage I don't know what to do. I do plan on calling the BBB in Ia. gt

  • Pd
      12th of Jul, 2009
    +1 Votes

    I also recieved a phone call from these A##H#### and thought it was one of the other mag companies I deal with. I sent the letter back canceling my so called subscription but they are telling me it was post marked after the 10 days. I live in Pa. For them to send me a letter from IA and back it would take more than ten days. I had a conversation with the guy on the phone and hung up on him. They called back and I told them I wanted my recording but after reading all the complaints I think it will be tampered with. Has anyone got them to stop harrassment? and if so how? Also has anyone here actually gon to court or collections?

  • He
      4th of Sep, 2009
    0 Votes

    The best thing to know about Heartland Inc., the magazine sales company, is that they do not credit report to any agency. The best thing any "customer" of Heartland Inc. can do after Heartland fraudulently traps you into a so-called contract is just not pay. They will call you for a few months, and then send you off to a 3rd party collector, Benjamin Michael and Associates. After you refuse to pay to the 3rd party company, NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING will happen to your credit. Heartland Inc. will not and has not ever reported any customer to a crediting agency. Why you ask? They know what they are doing is scandolous. They know that they are not making legit sales, plain and simple. If anyone would like to discuss anything further, please email me at "heartlandisscum@hotmail.com." I have any and all information anyone could ever want about Heartland Inc. You want their physical mailing address; I have it. You want their CEO's personal information; I have it. Companies like this need to be shut down. If they cannot be shut down, then I can only wish that people will be educated enough that Heartland can no longer take advantage of United States citizens. This company is heartless in the Heartland.

  • Ku
      30th of Sep, 2009
    0 Votes

    I too have had some of the very same experiences quoted above. The man I talked with the last time on the phone threatened and humiliated me. He also said he had a tape of me agreeing - u-huh is the only word I was heard speaking. I'm n0t even sure that was really my voice. This is a scam and I refuse to play along with them. What can we do? I will NOT pay this $1687.00 for magazines whether I wanted them or not. If anyone knows the next step to take - I'm in! This can't go on.

  • So
      1st of Oct, 2009
    0 Votes

    Kubesh,

    There are 3 simple steps to get around Heartland and their ###. Depending on what payment info they have on file for you, here is what to do. If they have your cc# info on file, cancel your current card that they have, and get a new card with a new # issued to you. If they have your checking acct #, go to your bank and explain what is going on. The bank will gladly change your checking acct # for you. The final step in the puzzle on how to beat Heartland's scam is to change your phone #.

    These steps listed above will prevent Heartland from automatically drafting money from any acct of yours, and it will also kep them from contacting you and harassing you on a daily basis. Heartland will let the account fall delq. for 6 months, then they will send your acct to Benjamin, Michael & Associates. This 3rd party collections company will try and contact you, which they will not be able to, they will try and skip trace you, blah blah blah, but what it comes down to is you NOT making any payments. BM&A will send your acct back to Heartland, and Heartland will then write off your order. HEARTLAND DOES NOT CREDIT REPORT!!!

    This is the simple way to beat Heartland's scam.

  • Ma
      8th of Oct, 2009
    0 Votes

    Complaint Description:
    I'm sorry I can't provide you with all the needed information but I can tell you this. This is happening to more people than we can imagine and something needs to be done! I just read a bunch of complaints on the internet Complaint board on this company on their poor business sales. There is a man named Chris Sanders-Ring, Secretary to C.E.O that blatantly Called me a liar when I was nicely trying to tell him I had never bought magazines from him. From that day on they harass me with Phone call after phone call it seems like it will never end for me and the other innocent people that it has to go on for. and I just immediately hang up when I know its them. There names are Josh, Mary and as I have said before Chris. I had to close my bank account because they went into my account twice before I realized what they were doing. They took out $79.00 the first time and the second time they took $44.00 without my permission to do so.

    Your Desired Resolution:
    I want them out of business! I'm not the only victim there have been several before me and this company are con-artists, scam artists and frauds. (A.K.A) Thieves.

    This case will be reviewed by a complaint specialist at the Better Business Bureau, and then forwarded to the business for their response. Please allow around 30 days for possible resolution.

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