I was given the information about hotbooks.com from a fellow member of our church council. We are reading the 'Transforming Church' and she found a great deal online for the book. I ordered the book for $4.50 in paperback with free shipping and a coupon to pass on to a friend. The first charges came Jan 29, 2009, $1.00 for Smart Savings and $29.95 for HBS Books. At the time I did not catch the charge. I thought that I forgot to enter a purchase in my checkbook and let it ride. Then I got another charge for the same amount on 2/28 and realized something was wrong.
I called my bank and was told that my debit card was charged by Smart Savings in January and HBS Books in February. I was given the numbers for each and called them. I was fourteenth in line for Smart Savings and second in line for HBS Books. I called one on my cell and the other on my land line. I spoke to HBS first a very nice woman, who was difficult to understand because of her accent, was quick to agree to credit my account for February but told me that she would have to submit a request for the January refund to the Refund Department and I would hear via email in 5-7 days...the same 5-7 days it would take to credit my February charge of $29.95.
While I was on hold for processing with HBS, I connected with Smart Shopping and a male worker. He was very quick to speak the 'party line' putting all of the blame on me...I signed an agreement and received emails allowing me to opt out of this program that by the way I did not ask for or receive emails about or even know I was a part of until just today. He ultimately credited my account for the February $1 explaining that I would not get the January dollar refunded. He also told me that Smart Savings was an affiliate of HBS.
I asked if there were any more affiliates that would be charging me $29.95 and $1 in March, since my bank told me that the February charge was from Smart Savings. He was rude and told me to calm down. I explained that I would be letting the Stae of WI Attorney Generals Office know about this scam.