Recently, I checked my automated teller line with my bank to see if a recent store purchased had been ran. Upon hearing the debit withdrawals, I found that there were two (2) transactions made on the same day in the amount of $20.95. I contacted a teller to find that these transactions were from Privacy Matters and Shopping Essentials.
Upon further review, I found that these two, purported, companies began taking funds from my account on an unauthorized basis beginning in July, 2006. The total amount withdrawn from my checking account from July, 2006-December, 2008 exceeded $1, 000.
I immediately contacted both companies and spoke to a customer service person and demanded that the funds that were taken on an unauthorized basis be deposited back into my account immediately. In both instances the customer service person put me in touch with a 'supervisor'. I went through the same process again. At first and in both cases, I was told that only the last two withdrawals would be deposited back. I then illustrated that I had never clicked on anything, agreed to any terms at any time, and had never received any physical invoice and/or electronic invoice or confirmation of agreed-upon services. I demanded that my funds be credited immediately. What I did receive was a confirmation of canceled membership (which I never agreed upon) in my e-mail in-box.
I then went to my bank and canceled my debit card and had a new one sent. The bank filed appropriate paperwork to dispute the charges. I then contacted my attorney. Upon his suggestion, I sent an e-mail to the Indiana Attorney General, Nebraska Attorney General, and Connecticut Attorney General. I then responded back to both of the e-mails that they sent outlining what I had done in an attempt to recoup my funds.
Within a week, all of my money had been credited back to my account, with the exception of a total of $2, $1 from each from their initial, unauthorized transactions.
My suggestion is to call relentlessly and take the name and employee I.D. number from everyone that you speak with, and call often. Contact your bank and attorney. E-mail or write the Attorney General's office in your respective state and those that are associated any of the states where the names of the different companies are listed.
There are several that are all one in the same. In my case, I simply asked one of the customer service people if Privacy Matters is the same as Shopping Essentials. His answer was, as I suspected, yes.
I have found that there are many names that they operate under. Vertrue, Adaptive Marketing, Shopping Essentials, Today's Escapes, and ironically enough, Privacy Matters. I asked them what Privacy Matters did and they explained that it is a credit protection service.
Unfortunately, the funds that are withdrawn are so small that they tend to blend in with the other transactions. The fact that I did not detect it until now is solely my fault. I believe that there-in lies the rub and the basis for their success.
Good luck to anyone that has had a similar experience. Be relentless in attempting to recoup your funds. Be sure to get a hold of all, respective Attorney General's office to file a report. Hopefully, collective efforts of this nature will cause this type of action by them to stop.
The complaint has been investigated and resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.