Great American Readersbogus contract

R
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a verified customer
Verified customer

In early Oct, noticed a mysterious $49.90 charge for past three months on our mastercard statement. Checked the phone number in the charge, and eventually traced it back to Great American Readers. I called them during "business hours" and they wouldn't talk to me, as supposedly the "account" was in my wife's name. They would tell me it was for magazine subscriptions. When my wife got home, called them back on speaker phone. They went into their spiel of an "contract" that we cannot cancel. I told my wife to ask them for a written copy of this contract that we supposedly signed. Oh no, it's not a written contract...we supposedly VERBALLY agreed to this insane $49 per month for 2 yrs for some magazines. Who the hell agrees to that? They kindly offered to play back our "verbal contract"- by all means, I want to hear this...she pulls up a digital recording...their computer voice asking questions, no response but static. Says "I must have the wrong one"...she pulls up another one - all you hear is background noise (like a crowd or maybe television). She tries a third time- still no human on the other end saying anything, and certainly nobody from my house. That was early October. The next business day, I contacted my Mastercard bank (USAA - very good), explained the above, and they immediately cancelled our card and re-issued. So, now GAR cannot charge our account. Also generated a fraud report with USAA. Of course, since they can no longer get their money...the nasty phone calls started from them to my wife, threatening, etc. This wk (mid Nov) get a notice in the mail (the first document of any kind from them, by the way) that we're "past due"...but if we pay soon, they'll forgive us - other wise it will have a negative effect on my wife's credit rating. Oh, and we could simply pay the $848 balance and it would all go away. NOT LIKELY! Tomorrow, I'm contacting the USAA fraud department and check status of our report, and seek suggestions for next steps - Colorado Consumer Protection, Attorney General, legal action, etc. We are definitely not paying another dime to these scammers.

Responses

  • Ri
    Ric_denver Dec 05, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    followup: this issue has been resolved to our satisfaction. The MN BBB was absolutely key to winning this issue...but our case might have been unique, as we held the high ground since GAR could never prove we had agreed to any contract with them. Here's a summary of our actions, so that others might also see success vs GAR:
    - GAR: immediately after noticing charges on MC, called GAR and demanded proof of "verbal contract". they could provide none.
    - Credit Card: contacted USAA Mastercard, informed them of issue, they immediately cancelled our MC and issued another. Disputed the charges via their process (1 page signed). Since this was an unapproved charge, they also reimbursed us for the 3 x $49.99 payments that GAR had rx'd.
    - Consumer Boards: published this complaint and one other at /link removed/
    - GAR: when they could not charge our cancelled MC, we got a letter (only written communicatino from them in entire process) telling us to pay by 1 Dec or it was going to collections.
    - BBB: ***submitted complaint to Minnesota BBB. This was key. http://minnesota.bbb.org/
    they have many complaints vs GAR and are very experienced in dealing with them.
    - Credit Report: upon advice of USAA, submitted Initial Security Alert for all 3 credit bureaus so that we would have some recourse when/if GAR attempted to go to collections and damage our Credit Report. did this at Experian, but it auto-replicated to the other two: https://www.experian.com/fraud/center.html
    - BBB: within 2 days of submitting complaint, MN BBB already had an agreement from GAR to cancel our account and seek no further payments.
    - GAR: called GAR rep who replied to the BBB case and opened conversations with the BBB Complaint #. She knew of the case and confirmed that account had been closed and no further payments.

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