1. Archive

Scam gives you no credit but does take your cash

Published Oct. 16, 2005

I am another victim of false guarantees! I received a letter from Credit Corp. that said I had been approved for a gold courtesy express card with a charge limit of $3,960. I sent a check for $39.95 for processing fees, but what I got was a card that only identifies who I am if I want to cash a check.

I called the number on the card and asked for a refund. They said they were not the company that cashed the check. They also said that if I already had a credit card, I didn't need another one. Then they said, "Have a nice day," and hung up.

I feel awful. I lost $39.95 and don't know how to get it back.

Could you please help me? I have four children and that is a lot of money.


Response: We're sorry. You won't be getting your money back, but we appreciate your writing Action and sharing the lesson you learned about a new rip-off scheme.

Here's how it works.

You get a phone call or letter in which you are told that you qualify for a credit card. The caller makes it sound as though you will get an all-purpose bank card such as VISA or MasterCard, or that the card will establish your credit-worthiness. All you have to do is send a $35 or $50 fee.

What you get is a single-use card useful only for identification purposes, or sometimes for purchasing goods from a specific department store or catalog that carries products for which you may have no need.

The prices tend to be sky high.

How can you protect yourself?

Use extreme caution when opening a new credit card account. Be sure to verify the specific purpose of the card. Do not assume that just because a fee is being charged that you are getting a VISA or MasterCard.

Store rings off on earrings

I went to Stout Jewelry last fall to see if I could convert screw-type earrings into pierced earrings. They told me it could be done.

When I picked the earrings up and tried them on, they kept turning around in my ears so that the little wires showed instead of the silver dogwood design. I took them back and was told they could be fixed another way, but since then, whenever I call or go to the store, I only get a run around.

Those earrings were a gift from my husband for an extra special day, so they mean a lot to me. Please help in any way you can. I want the earrings back but I don't want them ruined.

Theresa Walpole

Response: Keith Fayett, Stout store manager, says your earrings have been returned to their original condition and a refund is awaiting you.

The problem, he says, is that you misunderstood his explanation.

The store changed the earrings from screw type to pierced at your request, but then they did not hang correctly on your ears. The store then attempted to correct the problem but found it to be risky, so they told you they did not want to harm the earrings and agreed to return them to the original condition and refund your money.

They did attempt to call you but got no answer, so the earrings were put in their safe until you came in to pick them up.


Medicare paid $122 of my $200 bill Jan. 24. Thank you for the action on this assignment.


David triumphs over Goliath again!

Thanks to your action, my son received a call from GTE saying that if he would send a copy of the bank statement showing he had been charged twice for the returned check, they would credit his telephone bill. Yesterday his bill came with a $20 credit.

As your other readers say, "We couldn't have done it without you." Many thanks.


I received my night vision glasses and my start n' charge from U.S. Buyers Network on Feb. 3. Please close the file, and thank you.


Action really gets results. I received my travel seat from Dr. Leonard's yesterday. No explanation was given for the delay of 135 days, although I had tried for two months and couldn't get a word or answer out of the company.

Thanks again. The Times' Action is a big help to the little man.

Aubrey L. Beery

Thank you for all your help. My Medicare finally is straightened out and I have been refunded all my money from the doctor.

Elaine Every

After 11 months of waiting, I finally received a refund from my

insurance company - thanks to you and your fine service.

Donna True

Action solves problems and gets answers for you. If you have a question, or your own attempts to resolve a consumer complaint have failed, write: Times Action, c/o the City Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg 33731, or call your Action number, 893-8171, to leave a recorded request for Action. Calls will be accepted anytime except between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m., Monday through Friday, while messages are being transcribed.

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