Is this a valid dispute?

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ncsuluke
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Is this a valid dispute?

Postby ncsuluke » Sat Jun 15, 2013 1:15 pm

Long story short, I saw an advertisement on TV for something that I probably should have known was too good to be true, it said if you signed up for their site using a promo code you got free bids (penny auction website). I went on the site, made an account using the promo code and then it asked for information like credit card information which it looked like was just for if you won something (the section of the webpage was "Where should we ship your products if you win?".

What I missed was very small at the top of the page it had a dollar amount for buying extra bids and apparently this page was getting people to pay for that. It was VERY sketchy in how this was laid out and it did not make it clear at all that I was making a purchase at the time. When I clicked ok, boom I was charged $70. No confirmation page that you were making a purchase or anything.

I have tried to contact the websites customer service but even though the answering machine says they are available at the times I am calling no one answers. I have tried emailing with no answer. A quick web search has shown other people have done the same thing and if they did get in touch with the customer service they were told that the purchase was non refundable.

As soon as I realized the charge was made I called AMEX immediately to see if I could get them to block the transaction, they said they could not do that but I could dispute the charge when it posts.

I have never had to dispute a charge before and I am wondering if I have a valid case. The way the website worked was that I was more tricked into making the purchase. I know I willingly put in my credit card information but it was far from clear that I was making a purchase, especially that of $70.

Any advice? Is this something I can win? I have a feeling I am far from the first person to file a dispute with this company as I saw plenty of other people on google who made the same stupid mistake that I did.


rockyrock
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Postby rockyrock » Mon Jun 17, 2013 5:07 am

Your only saving grace may be you used your Amex. More often than not they are on your side in things like this.

Hopefully for your sake, others have disputed the same charge...
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jrv
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Postby jrv » Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:40 am

You should also be on the lookout for recurring charges as these companies try to sneak that in there sometimes.
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DavidNY
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Postby DavidNY » Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:41 am

ncsuluke wrote:I know I willingly put in my credit card information but it was far from clear that I was making a purchase,


Why would you offer your credit card info if you weren't making a purchase?

ncsuluke
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Postby ncsuluke » Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:24 am

DavidNY wrote:Why would you offer your credit card info if you weren't making a purchase?


Because I was an idiot. I honestly thought it was for when/if you win an auction that is the card they use. The section was called, "Where should we ship your stuff?" Making it look like that was the point. It was not clear at all that I was making a purchase and I went back to this screen after to get a better look at things after I realized what happened and the purchase amount was very small, there was no indication that I had selected this amount, there was no way to remove that bid pack from a cart or anything similar, the submit button didn't say anything about confirming a purchase, etc.

It is very clear that they do all this on purpose to get people to stupidly buy this without realizing it and then state that there are no returns.

I finally talked to someone at their customer service and when I explained the situation and asked for a refund the response I got was "oh did you not read the terms that we do not provide refunds?" Even though I explained I had not used any of the bids at all. When I stated that I would be filing a dispute with Amex she said that if it was denied they would close my account and I would forfeit the $70 worth of bids that I purchased (obviously the same would happen if I won the dispute but at least I would have my money back so I wouldn't care).

Judging from the website and now talking to this person it is clear that this company exists to scam people like what happened to me. I just can't believe I was dumb enough to fall for it. If it is denied then lesson learned I guess, just sucks to know such a shady business fleeced me like that, it is more principle than the money

DoingHomework
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Postby DoingHomework » Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:16 pm

It is a valid dispute. You did not knowingly make a purchase. You may not win but at least if the company has enough disputes they will lose their ability to charge cards and will get shut down. It takes a lot though.

Amex will usually stand on your side. But be forewarned - if you used a single bid you will lose the dispute. The first question they will ask is whether you got any service/product. If you did then it will be up to you to prove you were tricked and that will be very difficult.

I suggest you dispute it just so those scumbags have to waste the money responding to it. They have automatic methods for billing you but they will have to have a real life person respond to a dispute and that is expensive.

MemberSince99
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Postby MemberSince99 » Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:23 pm

I say it's valid. I was dumb enough to buy a character for an online game I played years ago. The site charged me, talked about how they would be in touch and you could reach them via online chat 24/7/365, and then.....nothing. But a bogus email saying how they were having a "problem" getting me the item they sold me but that they'd be glad to credit that amount towards something else. I tried to find a number to call, there wasn't one. I emailed but got auto-responses. I tried the online chat but despite their claims it was always available, no one was ever there who could help me - I kept looking over the course of a week at all different times of day and days, no one was ever available.

I realized at that point it was a scam and I was never going to get anything for my money. What legitimate business gives you no way to contact them after the sale other than emails which are auto-responded to? NONE do.

I tried disputing it with my bank as the charge was made on my debit card. My bank apparently WAS able to contact the scumbags, though they would not give the contact information to me, citing the crooks right to privacy, and the crooks insisted they would be happy to "work with me". My bank then told me that because they were "willing to work with me" (i.e. run the clock out until I give up) that under Mastercard's dispute rules they could do nothing more for me. I said they weren't doing a thing to work with me and I could not contact them and they had not contacted me and never would based on what I was seeing. The bank responded basically too bad so sad suck it up chump, but in a nicer way, and said if that happened I could contact them again (so they would do what, tell me to just eat the loss?).

It was then I realized a lot of these banks will basically let the crooks screw you over so long as they aren't the ones eating the loss they don't really care if scammers out there are cheating people out of their hard earned money.

I finally did get a refund but not due to my bank. The site that ran the auctions on these items online, Bidpay I believe, had a contact and I emailed them to tell them what had happened. They actually contacted me and got me my money back. I never did hear from the scammers (surprise, surprise) so clearly I had their plan diagnosed pretty well.

Point is, hang in there and fight these criminals. You may have to be persistent but it's a worthy cause.

And by the way, remembering this incident with my bank (Associated) a number of years ago just reinforces the desire I've been feeling lately to move on from them and go to Chase.

DoingHomework
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Postby DoingHomework » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:30 pm

MemberSince99 wrote:I tried to find a number to call, there wasn't one.


I make a habit of always finding and calling that number BEFORE making a purchase online. I just call and say "I would like to request a refund" and see what kind of response I get. If I can't reach someone or if they seem to try to make it difficult, I do not purchase. Period. It has kept me from having problems through the years.

I had one dispute that I won thanks to Amex. It was with a well-known (though small) company. They made an honest mistake and sent me the wrong item. They then wanted ME to pay for return shipping according to their policy. Nope. And Amex totally sided with me. Their policy was irrelevant. Amex actually refunded me MORE than the original charge to cover return shipping. I got a nasty phone call from the someone at the company, which I then also reported to Amex and they said they would take care of it, not to worry. That was teh last I heard from the company.

Another time there were outright fraudulent charges on my account (this time my visa). They were made by a well known gaming company...one of the biggest. I called the company to notify them of the fraud and that I was filing a complaint with the police and with my bank (which I did). The idiot on the phone actually threatened to "make (my) life a living hell" if I filed a police report or disputed the charges. Really? I contacted their corporate general counsel's office on Monday and let them know that their employee threatened me for doing reporting crime, which I was legally obligated to do. I asked for the employee's name so that I could report his crime to the police. They responded quickly, the charges were reversed, and, though they did not give me the employee's name citing privacy, they did tell me that if I filed a police report they would disclose the employee's name and I could get it off the police report for possible prosecution for threatening me. Making a threat over a phone line is a Federal crime and threatening to retaliate against someone for reporting a crime is obstruction of justice. It wasn't worth it of course but I bet that loser was looking for another job by the end of the day.

It's always best to keep yourself out of potentially problematic situations. But if you get in one, I have found that it pays to be aggressive and take no prisoners. You've got to be willing to take your lumps when you are wrong and to recognize when you are. But if you are right you will almost always win if you stand your ground. As soon as the other side escalates the problem to the level where the people have a brain and they realize they don't have a winning hand, they will cave just to make it go away.

MemberSince99
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Postby MemberSince99 » Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:32 pm

Wise choice DoingHomework. Find their number and test them BEFORE buying. That experience taught me if I can't reach them, I sure am not giving them my money.

If that guy would have threatened to make my life a living hell I'd have stolen Ace Ventura's line and said well I'm flattered you're interested, but I don't swing that way and I'm not interested in a relationship with you. :)

DoingHomework
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Postby DoingHomework » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:28 pm

Yeah, I'm a pretty nice, easy going guy. But if you try to F with me I'm gonna fight back and swat you down! When I screw up I admit it, take my lumps, and move on. But people need to fight back against the crap the OP is facing. It's got to be expensive for companies to try to screw people that way.



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