We received an email from one of our subscribers encouraging SearchAmelia to look into what they felt was a fraudulent scam.
We received an email from one of our subscribers this morning encouraging SearchAmelia to look into what they felt was a fraudulent scam being run by a popular book seller on the internet. So I took a look into www.hotbooksale.com and www.BestBrandValues.com and found their monthly membership of $19.95 is automatically processed if you purchase discounted products from their website and opt for additional discounts.
First, I went to www.BestBrandValues.com and saw an enticing page promising up to 30% savings on purchases. So, I clicked on “Games” and then selected “Visit SmartGamesShopper.com Now”. I just wanted to see what would happen if I wanted to purchase a game, so I picked the first one on the list adding “Heavy Rain” to my shopping cart. I then proceeded to check out. Sure enough, as I new customer I learned I could save $5.00 on today’s order and enjoy added benefits including free shipping. This is where you need to read the fine print. I could easily have clicked on “Sign Me Up” but instead I put on my reading glasses and read the fine print.
Sure enough, the terms of the offer included a 7-day trial of BestBrandValues that promised to provide me access to big discounts and savings. After the trial, a membership fee of $19.95 per month would be charged or debited by them to the credit or debit card I was to provide to complete my purchase. To cancel, I would have to call a toll free number within 7 days to avoid the $19.95 per month membership charge.
It was there in black and white, but indeed typed in a smaller font. I tried both websites that were provided to me by our SearchAmelia reader and sure enough, the $19.95 per month charge would apply if I didn’t cancel my membership within 7 days.
I have no idea how much you would have to purchase each month to make the fee worth the membership in savings, but for my household $19.95 per month is a steep membership fee that I would likely forget about canceling and in turn would get charged on my credit card. Our reader added that they had continued paying the membership thinking it was the fee for their satellite radio. When they realized they had been paying this membership fee for nearly 12 months, the company offered to only remove the current month and cancel the account. They offered no other recourse for the previous 11 months they had been charged over $200.00.
You must read the fine print whenever you purchase items on the internet!
So, please read the fine print on your purchases and always evaluate your credit and debit card statement each month to look for charges you may not be aware of.