Smart Savings Center/Hot Books Sale/Discount Book Sale / Unauthorized charges to credit card
I purchased a book a couple days ago from www.discountbooksale.com for $5.77. It stated I had to check a box agreeing to the terms in order to get the $5 discount on my purchase. I read through both sections of terms and policies and not once was there mentioned anything about membership fees or additional fees. I specifically checked for additional fees as I am on a very limited disability income. Today I went to my online banking to pay a bill to find that my account was overdrawn due to the additional $29.95 fee and $1.00 fee from hotbooks.com and smartsavingscenter.com. I contacted their customer service and after about 30 minutes on hold finally got a life person. I was adamant that the charges were never authorized, that I specifically read through their policies regarding additional fees and that they were never listed, and I demanded that all memberships be immediately canceled and an issue refunded. She put me on hold again for a couple minutes then came back and told me both memberships were canceled and gave me reference numbers. She then said it would be about 30 days before I got my refund. She also said I would get an email stating the memberships were cancelled. I asked her if the book order was canceled as well and she said no it would go ahead and ship. About 15 minutes later I got the cancellation email. About an hour or so later, I received another email that was suspiciously back dated to the prior day stating that my book was on backorder. After speaking with the customer service person at smartsavingscenter.com, I immediately contacted my bank. Since two of the charges were still pending, I was told I would have to wait until they posted before the fraud department could do anything. He did tell me that 1) the 30 days to refund was complete BS - he said it usually takes about 10-12 days and 2)it is illegal for them to charges membership fees or any fees after the fact if they are not directly stated in the policies and rules prior to someone accepting the terms. I also told him that my invoice from the company mentioned nothing about additional fees. As soon as the remaining transactions post I will immediately be filing a fraud complaint with my bank and have them blacklist all company names associated with this fraudulent organization on my account. I will also be filing a complaint with the better business bureau and any other organization that might help in shutting this sham down. I also read a post where another victim is going to be filing a class action lawsuit - I will be contacting that person as well. I had stupidly assumed that since this company showed at the top of google shopping when I did my search for the book that they were legitimate. My bank representative told me that sham companies have a way of basically faking their ranking in the results where they appear on the first page instead of much farther down as they should.