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Smart Savings Center/Hot Books Sale/Discount Book Sale / Unauthorized charges to credit card

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Smart Savings Center/Hot Books Sale/Discount Book
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.

More Smart Savings Center/Hot Books Sale/Discount Book Sale Complaints & Reviews


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N  3rd of Mar, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I also fell victim to them... but after complaining enough and sending letters to the Florida Attorney General, I did receive a refund from them totaling $59.90. If you your self would like to raise a little cane (I highly suggest it) you can call THEIR OFFICE DIRECTLY not the one in a 3rd world country. All of their information I will list below. Good luck and tell them I said hi ;-)

Skip Middleton is the Executive Vice President at Xacti Group which is their parent company. Xacti can be contacted at:

(516) 989-7400
999 W. Yamato Rd
Suite 100
Boca Raton, FL 33481

When I called the 1st time I spoke with Lesley at extension 435, then with someone names Auntrey, and finally with Andrew.

I hope this helps!!!
A  7th of Mar, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I too had a similar experience. Unfortunately, I did not become aware of any membership fees either. It was not until now, 5 months later, that my credit card company, Chase, called with a fraud alert. By the time I became aware of the situation, the amount that this deceptive company had profited from my bank account was over $150.

Chase has assured me that I will be refunded the amount I have been fraudulently charged. While I am extremely grateful for this, it strikes me as very unfair that an honest institution should take the hit for this, while a shady business profits.

It is my hope that by speaking out with the others in this format, that anyone researching the credibility of this company will see the truth and not become a victim as well.
A  15th of Mar, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I also was a victim of their scam. The order stated I would be charged $1.00 a month if I did not cancel. Within 2 days I have been charged 31.95 in unauthorized charges!
A  25th of Mar, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
these guys have a very deceptive practice, i would like to see iof a class action suit can be organized
A  6th of Apr, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I too was charged $60.90 is unauthorized charges, however, when I contacted my credit card company who is also Chase they stated the same thing that I would get a credit, but later sent a letter stating no credit would be given.I agree I am going to contact the Better Business Bureau and also the attorney general and report this company. I can't believe that they are getting away with charging people fee's that weren't authorized. The book I bought for $11.00 wasn't worth the headache!!
A  23rd of Apr, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
While the above complaints seems to be with Books, this appears to be part of the same company based out of Boca Raton, Fl {Hot Savings Center DBA Hot Movies Sales) I thought I should post my experience with this company also.

Your original ticket question:
Name: Lydia Sterling

Subject: Earth Final Conflict order
Question Description:
two problems:
I can't sign in because I have not yet set up a
password and can not find where to sign in as new to
this site.
I have tried several times (Saturday and once
today) to place this order for Earth Final Conflict
Season one advance order at $23.09 with free
shipping and each time my order has been declined.
My credit card is good and I even tried using my
bank debit card. What is the problem? I even phoned
on Saturday and Caesar suggested I should try again
on Monday. If this was a legitimate offer why is my
order being declined.
Lydia Sterling (The reply was that I should check my cards (which I already had) to see if there was a
problem. There was not. You can see my reply below sent to the web site if I still had a problem.

Thanks for posting these complaints. I don't need the headache. L. Sterling
A  4th of May, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
Same/similiar thing happened to me with the so called "membership fee" scam. im contesting the charges through my credit card company. B. Fisco
N  12th of May, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I took me three months to catch on... duhhhhhhhhhhhh! Closed my checking debit card. Issued a fraud investigation with my bank. I see that now they have lowered their charge from $29.95 to $12.00. WOW - was that book expensive!
N  27th of May, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
Thanks so much to everyone for posting your experiences. I just found this bookseller online and was about to order a bunch of books because of the incredible prices, when the little voice in my head said "if it sounds too good to be true it probably is". Put their business name in google and came up with this page. Thanks again for saving other people a major headache!
A  8th of Jun, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I had the same experience with an additional 12.00 charge (so far). I will contact Chase to resolve because I could not get any cooperation with DBS.
A  11th of Jun, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
Wished I had listened to the 'too good to be true' voice!!

I bought a book the beginning of the month. Great price, even told someone else about it! YIKES!

Just looked at my bank statement to find that 3 days after posting the book sale, they charged me an additional $19.95. I went back to look at the site to see if I missed anything. Nope, all it said was that they were offering a $5.00 discount for my first purchase.

Called the phone number listed. The first person I spoke to was adamant that I had 'agreed' to it upon check out and that I had 3 days to cancel, and after that I was ### out of luck (in nicer words).
After saying again that no-where on there main page does it say that it is a membership site, only that I get a $5 discount on my first purchase - and that I wanted the charges taken off my account NOW or I would contact BBB, my Bank as well as giving them some major online bad press. When she again said, sorry, too late ...
I asked to speak to her supervisor - I'll admit that I really never figured they'd pick up the phone again.

Eventually she came back and said that the supervisor agreed to give me a 'courtesy' discount and cancel my membership!

I better see that credit SOON !!
A  18th of Jun, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I was also scammed and I'm furious about the continuing charges. Don't let these people get away with this. REPORT THEM!!! The company is based in Florida so anyone who's been taken advantage of please document your experience and file a report with Florida's Attorney General. Here's the contact info directly from the AG's website:

CyberFraud can take many forms. Often, consumers will recall filling out surveys that promised free coupons or that claimed to free prizes or gifts available. Many consumers will find unauthorized charges on either their landline or wireless phone bills or unauthorized debits from their credit cards or bank accounts without realizing the charges are internet-related. In many instances, the consumer has never heard of the company associated with the purchase.

The Attorney General’s Office has created a special team of individuals to review, investigate and enforce penalties against companies or individuals taking advantage of consumers through internet-related fraud. The Attorney General’s CyberFraud Task Force generates many of its investigations through consumer complaints and referrals.

To file a complaint about internet-related or cyberfraud, please call the Attorney General’s Office at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226).

An additional resource for reporting Cyber Fraud is the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). The IC3 was established as a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) to serve as a means to receive Internet related criminal complaints and to further research, develop, and refer the criminal complaints to federal, state, local, or international law enforcement and/or regulatory agencies for any investigation they deem to be appropriate. The IC3 was intended, and continues to emphasize, serving the broader law enforcement community to include federal, as well as state, local, and international agencies, which are combating Internet crime and, in many cases, participating in Cyber Crime Task Forces. Complaints can be filed online at: http://www.ic3.gov
A  18th of Jun, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
Thanks for the great info... I will definitely pursue these "creeps".
A  2nd of Aug, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
discountbooksale is SCAM. Please beware of these guys. I also fell victim of it.
A  3rd of Aug, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I just got scamed by Hot Book Sale. DO NOT PURCHASE FROM HOT BOOK SALE!!! After being on hold they finally gave me back the 20.00 they charged me for a membership I did not agree to and I also put in a fraud report with my bank!!! - Be careful out there internet buyers!!
N  3rd of Aug, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I, too, fell for this scam, although, as previously reported, there is no mention of joining anything. I have called them, but they refuse to credit the 19.95 on my Am. Express card. Then when I went to the Am.Express web site and tried to dispute the charge, I am told that "this merchant is enrolled in their Quick Service Program, therefore, they are not required to obtain an authorization, signature, or provide itemization for this purchase. Therefore, the only form of support available was provided at the time the charge was incurred, " whatever that means. That just means that I cannot file a dispute online...I have to either call or write them with all the details. I can't believe that Am.Express is letting this company get by with this.
They obviously don't have very many complaints yet.
A  9th of Sep, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I too got scammed by them. I had ordered my book ($4) through a third party, betterworld.com, and had entered my information on their site, not even seeing any membership option when I made the purchase. 7 months later, I found the charges of $29.95, then $12.00/mo, plus random $1 charges totaling $151.85. When you go to cancel your membership it even asks why you aren't satisfied and the options are things like "I didn't know I would become a member" "I never authorized any payments, " etc. The customer service lady on the phone referred my claim to their "refund department" (hah) and refused to let me speak to her manager. F that! Stay away!
N  11th of Sep, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
Can a class action suit be organized? I fell victim to this company for a total of $560. Deceptive business practices must be stomped out where they are observed.
N  15th of Sep, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
OMG!!! Thank you all so much for posting this informaiton. I was just about to spend $50.00 in books at the Hotbooksale.com website. Thanks to this post I will not be doing that ever. If I do I will be using a prepaid/non-rechargeable credit card number. I would like to see them try and charge be the membership fee if there is no money on the card!

Again thanks so much for all your unfortunate experiences and those to which have saved me from many headaches Im sure!
N  30th of Oct, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
DO NOT order anything from HotBookSale or DiscountBookSale or BestBrandValues. It took 19 days for my book order to arrive and they would not refund the $5 extra I paid for 2 day shipping.

DO NOT order anything from HotBookSale or DiscountBookSale or BestBrandValues. It took 19 days for my book order to arrive and they would not refund the $5 extra I paid for 2 day shipping.

DO NOT order anything from HotBook Sale or DiscountBookSale or BestBrandValues. It took 19 days for my book order to arrive and they would not refund the $5 extra I paid for 2 day shipping.

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