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Spiegel/Privilege Pass -Encore / Unauthorized Charges on Credit Card

1 Chicago, IL, United States Review updated:
Contact information:

Letter to Spiegel

Spiegel
Attn: Geralynn Madonna, President
500 Cityline Road
Hampton, VA 23661

Dear Ms. Madonna:

I am writing to you to inform you of a disturbing (possibly illegal) incident that occurred to us and many other Spiegel Online Customers. First let me say that we have always respected Spiegel as being one of the nicest long-standing stores and catalogue companies in the retail industry. We love the quality of the clothing that we have purchased over the years from Spiegel and regret that we will no longer patronize any of your companies due to our experience.

On June 25, 2008, I purchased some bathing suits for our trip to the Caymans from Spiegel Online. Months later as I was going over my credit card statements I saw where a company named “Privilege Pass’ had been debiting our account monthly. Not knowing who Privilege Pass was or what the charges were for, I “Googled” their name. In doing so, I found literally hundreds of complaints against your partnered travel services company, “Encore Marketing International.” It appears that Attorney Generals from several states are investigating similar claims and pursuing charges.

I immediately called the number appearing on my credit card statement, “[protected]” on 2/09/09. The call was answered by an automated service. It asked for my phone number. I put in my Louisiana number and it was unrecognized. I then realized that when these charges started appearing, we were living in Florida. I then put in my old Florida number and it was recognized. The next option said, “If you would like to cancel your membership, Press 1.” I did so. I then got the response, “Your membership has been cancelled.” Thank you.” The call was automatically disconnected! I never had the opportunity to speak to a human being. Obviously this made me very angry.

I called my credit card company and they advised me that yet another charge was being posted that evening from “Privilege Pass.” My bank has since changed my credit card number and is disputing “Privilege Pass/Encore Marketing International” charges for the past 60 days only. I have filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau of Maryland and have enclosed a copy for you. I have also enclosed a copy of the letter that was sent to Encore Marketing International for your review. I will not spend hours on the telephone wrangling with your or their customer service reps as many others have done to no avail. My time is much too precious. However, I think it noteworthy that when I called Spiegel’s 1-800 to get your mailing address, I explained my situation to the customer service rep and asked her if she had had other complaint calls regarding these deceitful charges. She, in fact, said she has and that it was a fine print issue that needed to be addressed by Spiegel. Therefore, I am writing this letter to inform you of my disgust and demand for refund from your partner, Encore Marketing International and/or Spiegel.

These are the charges that I expect to be refunded:


6/25/2008 $1.95
7/25/2008 $14.95
No Draft for August 2008
9/10/2008 $14.95
10/08/2008 $14.95
11/05/2008 $14.95
12/03/2008 $14.95
01/10/2009 $14.95
02/10/2009 $14.95


TOTAL $106.60

It appears that many Spiegel shoppers like us have fallen victim to your partner’s unscrupulous business practices. And I am sure that a long-standing reputable company like Spiegel would want to know that their customers are being ripped off! In these economic times, retail companies like you cannot afford to lose future sales due to partnerships with borderline criminal companies such as Encore Marketing International.

I expect written communication from Encore International Marketing/Privilege Pass and Spiegel within a reasonable amount of time. Since our credit card account number has been changed, they/you will need to refund our money via a cashiers check, mailed to the address provided.

In order to dissuade any excuse that they/you may have for not being able to refund the money to our new address, we have our mail forwarded from the old Florida address and will certainly be able to accept the refund if mailed there.

If they/you in fact claim that a refund cannot be made via check, our credit union that holds our VISA card will assist you in any electronic fund refunds to insure that it goes into our “changed” account. All correspondence for this type of refund can directed to:

Signature Witheld

Letter to Encore Marketing International

Customer Service
Privilege Pass/Encore Marketing International
4501 Forbes Blvd
Lanham, MD 20706

Dear Customer Service Executive:

On June 25, 2008, I purchased some clothing from Spiegel Online. Months later as I was going over my credit card statements I saw where your company “Privilege Pass’ had been debiting my account monthly. Not knowing who you were or what the charges were for, I “Googled” your name. In doing so, I found literally hundreds of complaints against your “Travel Company.”

I immediately called the number appearing on my credit card statement, “[protected]” on 2/09/09. The call was answered by an automated service. It asked for my phone number. I put in my Louisiana number and it was unrecognized. I then realized that when these charges started appearing, we were living in Florida. I then put in my old Florida number and it was recognized. The next option said, “If you would like to cancel your membership, Press 1.” I did so. I then got the response, “Your membership has been cancelled. Thank you.” The call was automatically disconnected! I never had the opportunity to speak to a human being. Obviously this made me very angry.

I called my credit card company and they advised me that yet another charge was being posted that evening from you. They have since changed my credit card number and are investigating you and 60 days worth of charges. I have filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau of Maryland and have enclosed a copy for you. I am also sending a copy of this letter to Spiegel. I will not spend hours on the telephone wrangling with your customer service reps as many others have done to no avail. Therefore, I am writing this letter to inform you of my disgust and demand for refund.

These are the charges that I expect to be refunded:


6/25/2008 $1.95
7/25/2008 $14.95
No Draft for August 2008
9/10/2008 $14.95
10/08/2008 $14.95
11/05/2008 $14.95
12/03/2008 $14.95
01/10/2009 $14.95
02/10/2009 $14.95


TOTAL $106.60

It appears that many Spiegel shoppers like us have fallen victim to your unscrupulous business practices. And I am sure that a long-standing reputable company like Spiegel would want to know how their customers are being ripped off. In these economic times companies cannot afford to lose sales due to partnerships with criminally liable companies such as you.

I expect written communication from you within a reasonable amount of time. Since our credit card account number has been changed, you will need to refund our money via a cashiers check, mailed to the address provided.

In order to dissuade any excuse that you may have for not being able to refund the money to our new address, we have our mail forwarded from the old Florida address and will certainly be able to accept the refund mailed there.

If you in fact claim that a refund cannot be made via check, our credit union that holds our VISA card will assist you in any electronic fund refunds to insure that it goes into our “changed” account. All correspondence for this type of refund can directed to:

Signature Withheld

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Comments

  • Cu
      12th of Aug, 2009
    +1 Votes

    Spiegel Company are really spoofing with us. They send us coupons that are not valid to use. When you agree to the total they will cut the money from you and take even the money that they promoted to be saved.

    If you call their excuse will be that they are allowed any time to disclose the coupon and take the extra saving from you since it is written on the email.

    Also, they will charge you for privilege pass and you don't get any benefits so they will gain more.

    They steal from us as a conclusion.

  • Rw
      23rd of Sep, 2009
    0 Votes

    I actually spoke to someone when I called to cancel the so-called service.

    He assured me the $1.95 charge would be credited and the subscription canceled.

    Needless to say we will not shop Spiegel again.

  • Ta
      7th of Jan, 2010
    0 Votes

    This too happened to me and I have been charged for over a year at 14.95 a month. Unbelievable!!! They will not have my business again and I am very irritated. I am an educated person and read what I am buying and terms and conditions. Never was it explained that I would be charged for such a felonious service. What a joke!!!

  • Sp
      22nd of Jan, 2010
    0 Votes

    I whole heartedly agree with the above complaints.

    I really want to share this story with as many people as will take the time to read this!

    I have had just a couple of dealings with Speigel and thier "sister" company Newport News.

    Last summer I had ordered a vest from Newport News...when the vest did not arrive in a timely manner, I called looking for it. I was told that it had been shipped to my previous address, even though when ordering online, I specifically put my current address in as the shipping address. When I asked what Newport News was going to do to get this product to me, I was basically told that it was up to me to get it from my previous address or it would be returned back to them with no attempt at that point to get it to my current address. I told them that when they recieved it back that they could just keep it.

    Then, this past holiday season, I had a wedding to go to on New Years Eve, living in Wisconsin, I did not want to wear a dress while the temperatures were dipping to -15, I wanted to wear slacks, so I thought palazzo pant were dressy enough for such an occasion. I searched all over the internet and Speigel had the nicest ones. In my search, (I did figure out that Newport News and Speigel were sister companies, but because this was the only place that I could find palazzo pants that didn't look like something you would schlep around the house in, I decided to take a chance. After all, in the past Speigel has had a pretty good reputation)...OMG was I wrong!! I ordered 3 pairs of pants (had to make sure I got the right pair and the right fit) and a sweater. When my order arrived, I tried all the pants on and immediately returned the two pair that didn't fit. I tracked the order...the order went out and was recieved by Speigel 7 days later...It has now been 10 days since they have recieved the returned items and they still do not show up as returned so I called customer service. I too received automated recording...this one telling me to allow up to 6 weeks for my refund to process...WHAT, 6 WEEKS?!!!...WHAT POSSIBLY CAN BE THAT TIME CONSUMING?...So, today I sat on hold to wait to talk to a "customer consultant" (anyway!)... who confirmed that the merchandise had been recieved, but that it could take as long as 6 weeks for it to show up on my card statement. Doing my very best impersonation of a pleasant person at this point, I politely ask this poor guy who has had to resort to this job to pay his rent, what could possibly take up to 6 weeks...he very honestly responded that he did not have a legitmate answer for that...hmmmmmm. What frickin' recourse do you have for that???...I guess I have to suck it up!...Now I know you're wondering at this point what does this have to do with Priviledge Pass...Well here ya go...After ending my phone call with this poor guy, I now switch over to review my bank card statement and there sits a pending transaction for ...you guessed it...PRIVILEDGE PASS !...for $14.95!!! The unmitigated BALLS of this company to tell me that it could take up to 6 weeks for my refund to process and not EVEN a month since this order was placed and my hurried inadversion to sign up for this POS...they are taking more $$$$$ from me!

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE FELLOW CONSUMERS...Think twice before ordering so much as a pair of socks from either of these companies. I am normally just a titch more savvy when it comes to signing up for these supposed "Special Offers", but in these times of trying to save where you can, I didn't STOP to think about how much an initial $1.95 could hurt. It can...and clearly will

  • Ms
      5th of Feb, 2010
    0 Votes

    The is internet fraud and a potential lawsuits. They told me that it was my fault, that I must have clicked on a pop-up and accepted the "PRIVILEDGE PASS". I have my blocker on 24/7, no way did I approve this charge! I'm ticked off, and Spiegel's customer service was less than helpful. They have lost my business.

  • Ly
      6th of Apr, 2010
    0 Votes

    April 6, 2010
    I also fell into the Spiegel trap when I placed an online order in April 2008. Today while reviewing my bank statement I noticed a charge of $14.95 which I thought was for an online service I had enrolled in. After reviewing the charge I realized it was something I was not familiar with. It was for something called "prvldgpas ID05188877-564-8534 MD 7998.
    I thought "what is this for" and proceed to call the phone number listed (you have to go backwards to figure out the phone number which is 1-877-564-8534
    When you call, DO NOT PRESS 1 as this is an automated cancel after the system verify s your phone number.
    After staying on hold the representative said she could only refund 2 months. After insisting I had not signed for the service, by the way, what is the service? I still do not know! She passed me to a supervisor who said they would reimburse one year but no more. They took the $14.95 from the checking account for 24 months. I am going to write to the better business bureau of Pennsylvania and file a formal complaint. I also understand this company is under investigation by a branch of the US Senate. There must be thousands of people like myself that are being "ripped off" by this company.
    To contact them: write to:
    Consumer Affairs
    PO Box 280
    Blue Ridge Summit, Pa 17214
    Stay tuned as I am on Social Security and this is no trivial matter.

    lydiawpa

  • Ar
      6th of Apr, 2010
    0 Votes

    I really agree that they steal money from their customers and threaten them all the time that they will bug their credit history.
    They charged me over what I bought. So I filed a case with the credit card company and they refunded my money. Through speigle didn't give up and sent it for collection.

    Another way to steal from you is signing you up with magazines without your approval plus have you in their valued customer program and rip you of under another service.

    Their quality I guess Indian which is so thin and they also have problems with their material that is not matching what is in the picture or described.

    The funny thing is when you call they are also mean and never listen.

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