CardHolder Services Comments and Complaints--CROOK ALERT!
CardHolder Services, Orlando, Florida CROOK ALERT!!
I filed a complaint with the Do Not Call Registry yesterday after receiving ten or twenty apparent robocall telephone solicitations in the past month or so on my home phone and cell phone from a woman named Rachel who purported to represent a suspicious outfit that calls itself CardHolder Services. This organization purports to provide lower interest rates on credit card balances.
After filing the complaint I called the customer service number on a credit card that is operated by JPMorganChase to inquire whether CardHolder Services was affiliated with JPMorganChase. I was informed that CardMember Services was not a JPMorganChase affiliate and, moreover, that CardMember Services was "under investigation." It didn't occur to me to ask why JPMorganChase hadn't alerted its cardholders to the apparent scam or unauthorized activiity being perpetrated by CardHolder or CardMember Services on JPMorganChase cardholders.
A quick Google search on CreditCard Services revealed a number of complaints some of which are linked below. The most interesting article I found was from the Harvard Journal on Legislation entitled The Invisible Hand of Preacquired Account Marketing by Prentiss Cox who is a professor at University of Minnesota Law School. The introduction to the long article describes preacquired account marketing thusly:
"...Preacquired account marketing is a sales practice that allows companies to charge consumers for services they do not know they ordered and do not use. The practice depends on a seller’s ability to access a consumer’s financial account without the consumer directly providing her account number and other access information to that seller. This flips the power dynamic in the solicitation process by shifting the burden to the consumer to stop the seller from accessing her account, rather than requiring the seller to ask the consumer for her account information before her account can be charged. This is possible because the seller has paid a financial institution, such as a bank, or another seller who retains consumer account numbers for the right to charge the consumer’s account. Tens of millions of consumers have been affected by this sales practice.
"Many of these consumers have diminished mental capacity or struggle with the English language, making it more likely that they will not understand that they are being charged. This Article recommends that state legislatures or the United States Congress adopt the proposed Uniform Consumer Account Control Act, a total ban on preacquired account marketing. Prohibiting this form of marketing is conceptually less difficult than many other areas of consumer protection regulation because the regulatory costs in this situation are almost non-existent. A total ban forces sellers to actually reach an understanding with consumers. Experience has shown that lesser remedies, such as improved disclosures, are insufficient to control rampant consumer misunderstanding. They do not solve the fundamental problem of shifting control of account access from the consumer to the seller in a way that facilitates sorting of consumers into those unaware of account charges...."
The article reports that a number of presumably reputable banks and other businesses cooperate in the perpetration of misleading and sometimes fraudulent pre-acquired account marketing schemes. "A large number of consumers have complained to state attorneys general, the Better Business Bureau (“BBB”), and other consumer advocates that the preacquired account marketing practice is deceptive.71 The BBB alone has received thousands of complaints about Affinion Group.72....The companies themselves also receive large numbers of consumer complaints.
The Senate Committee investigation found that the companies “receive millions of calls every year from angry, frustrated consumers” who have discovered their enrollment, and wish to cancel their membership or challenge charges to their accounts.75 Customers contacting the companies “us[e] words like ‘fraud,’ ‘tricked,’ ‘deceptive,’ ‘misleading,’ ‘scam,’ ‘deceitful,’ ‘dishonest,’ ‘betrayed,’ and ‘robbed’ to describe their experiences.”76 Complaints at one referring seller rose to a level that an employee of the company described as “brutal and unprecedented.” State attorneys general have brought several lawsuits against some of the largest banks in the nation for their roles in preacquired account marketing schemes.78 The first suit against an account issuer was brought against U.S. Bancorp by thirty-nine state attorneys general.79 The suit alleged violations of federal and state laws for U.S. Bancorp’s sharing of bank account numbers and other personal financial data with preacquired sellers.80 State attorneys general also have brought Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices (“UDAP”) actions against the following account issuers for participation in preacquired marketing: Bank One (a multistate lawsuit involving twenty-nine states)81; Fleet Mortgage;82 Citibank (a multistate lawsuit involving twenty-eight states);83 Sears;84 and Chase Manhattan.85 State attorneys general enforcement actions against referring
sellers engaged in preacquired marketing include cases against Tick-etmaster, Time,86 and, more recently, AT&T.87 The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has also filed lawsuits against numerous referring sellers engaging in preacquired marketing with Triad Discount Buying Services.
88 Companies involved in the FTC matter included the following: Premier Club Services, L.L.C.; Premier Marketing Services of America, L.L.C.; Residents Resource Network, L.L.C.; and the Shoppers Edge, L.L.C., among numerous others.89 State attorneys general have repeatedly filed enforcement actions against many preacquired sellers as well. These include cases against Damark (now Provell, Inc.),90 Blitz Media, Inc.,91 BrandDirect Marketing, Inc. (a multistate lawsuit involving the Washington and Connecticut attor-neys general),92 MemberWorks and its successor Vertrue,93 and Trilegiant (a multistate lawsuit involving sixteen states).94"..
The law review article concludes that regulation is needed to curb pre-acquired account marketing. Based on what I've learned through my experience and a little research individuals are well advised to:
1. Beware of unsolicited offers of "free" trial offers of discounts, coupons, services, etc. from retailers like Penney's or Sears, your credit card provider or your bank.
2. Do not give your credit card number or bank account number or Social Security number to anyone over the telephone or on line unless you are absolutely sure that the request is from a reputable business or organization.
3. Get the name of the individual calling, the name, mailing address and telephone number of the business he or she claims to represent. If there is any reluctance to provide you with this information STOP RIGHT THERE!
4. If you accept an offer be sure to read the fine print and get a clear answer of the amounts that will be charged to your bank account or credit card and the procedure for stopping the charges. TAKE NOTES!
5. Check your bank and credit card statements each month and complain promptly about any charges that you don't understand or don't believe you authorized. In many states if you fail to complain in writing about an error or improper charge on your account within thirty.days, TOUGH LUCK!
Comments are welcome below about your experiences or complaints about CardMember Services, Credit Card Services or similar sources.
The Invisible Hand of Preacquired Accout Marketing by Prentiss Cox in the Harvard Journal on Legislation
- The Invisible Hand of Preacquired Account Marketing
Preacquired account marketing allows companies to charge consumers for services they do not know they ordered and do not use. The practice depends on a sellers ability to access a consumers account without the consumer providing her account number.
4-14-13NYTimes--" Playing Catchup with the Robocallers" The Haggler, David Segal
- Playing Catch-Up With the Robocallers - NYTimes.com
The nation’s dated communications infrastructure makes it hard to find the ideal way to thwart illegal robocalling.
3-8-13NYTimes--"Government Takes Legal Action Against Phone Scam"
- Government Takes Legal Action Over Phone Spam - NYTimes.com
In eight federal civil cases, the Federal Trade Commission named 29 individuals, most of whom worked for companies that were hired to send the unsolicited text messages.
2-15-13NYTimes "Calling Out the Robo Caller" David Segal
- Telemarketer’s Tactics and Regulators’ Response Elicit Complaints - NYTimes.com
Account Management Assistance offers to reduce credit card interest rates, but satisfied customers are scarce. "This is your 2nd and final notice!" Sound familiar??
FTC Offers $50,000 for Solution to Illegal Robo Calls
- FTC Challenges Innovators to Do Battle with Robocallers
The FTC is challenging the public to create a solution to block illegal commercial robocalls on landlines and mobile phones. As part of its ongoing campaign against illegal, prerecorded telemarketing calls, the agency is launching the FTC Robocall
2-20-13FTC--FTC Action Halts Phone Fraud Operation
- FTC Action Halts Operation That Billed More Than $25 Million to Consumers' Bank and Credit Card Acco
"A federal court has temporarily halted an operation that allegedly used an intricate web of concealment to debit hundreds of thousands of consumers’ bank accounts and bill their credit cards more than $25 million without their consent."
11-2-12ChristianScienceMonitor--"FTC Cuts off Rachel from Cardholder Services"
- FTC cuts off 'Rachel from Cardholder Services' - CSMonitor.com
Five companies behind the 'Rachel from Cardholder Services' scheme and other credit card robocalls were shut down Thursday, the FTC announced. The FTC estimated that the companies had defrauded customers out of more than $30 million by promising to l
11-9-12NYTimesBlog "Squelching Robo Rachel" by Ann Carrns
- Goodbye to Rachel From Cardholder Services - NYTimes.com
The Federal Trade Commission is moving to disconnect Rachel from Card Services and other robocallers.
9-18-12DetroitNews--"Do-not-Call Registry Thwarted by Technology
- Do-not-call registry thwarted by technology | The Detroit News | detroitnews.com
Washington - So much for silence from telemarketers at the cherished dinner hour, or any other hour of the day. Complaints to the government are up sharply about unwanted phone solicitations, raising questions about how well the federal "do-not-call"
11-29-11NYTimes "Telemarketer Abuse Statute Confounds U.S. Supreme Court"
- Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Telemarketer Abuse Cases - NYTimes.com
Justices disagreed on whether lawsuits under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act should be filed in federal or state courts, but they agreed that the law was odd.
3-1-12FreePress--"Debt isn't Real but Harassing Phone Calls Are" Susan Tompor
- Susan Tompor: Debt isn't real but harassing phone calls are | Detroit Free Press | freep.com
On the surface, this consumer alert seems a tad too obvious to be worth repeating. The Federal Trade Commission is warning people that they should not hand over money to pay a debt that they do not owe. Didn't borrow the money? Don't send a check or
Consumer Alert Boston.com on Robo Rachel
- Robo-calling Rachel, leave me alone - Consumer Alert - Boston.com
A lot of those calls come from woman’s voice identifying herself as “Rachel.” In fact, she just called my home and my cell. These calls have been an annoyance for years and appeared to have gone on hiatus after the FTC shut down a massive calling ope
11-23-11NYTimes--"If You Can't Trust Caller I.D."
- Who’s on the Line? Increasingly, Caller ID Is Duped - NYTimes.com
More complaints about “caller ID spoofing” or “call laundering” by telemarketers. "Rachel" is still calling with offers of lower rates on credit card balances. Sonkei allegedly sold robocall services to telemarketers that generated 1000s of complaint
11-23-11NewsRoomMagazine--FTC Goes After Sonkei Communications
- FTC Goes After Sonkei Communications For Evasive Robocalling Services | Newsroom Magazine USA Editio
"Sonkei Communications, Peter J. Turpel, and Joseph Turpel, allegedly sold robocall services to telemarketers offering credit card services, home security systems, and grant programs. Defendants allegedly gave clients the means to hide their identit
Hanging up on Rachel Robo
- Hanging up on Rachel: Robo-calls have been banned, yet the phones keep ringing - DailyFinance
\"Hi. This is Rachel from Cardholder Services.\" It's safe to say that millions of Americans have received a call from Rachel or one of her robo-calling associates...The prime suspect in this calling spree has been DHC Financial Services Group -- a F
ComplaintWire--CardHolder Services is a Phishing Expedition
503-563-0989 - Also 205-213-0115 - Same as others, it's the old Credit Card Phishing Scam. Message states "Hello, this is Rachel from Cardholder Services. We're calling to inform you about an issue with your credit card. There is no problems with you
921-11BangorDailyNews--Business, Card Member Services or Not?
- Card member services or not? Maine Business Bangor Daily News
Phones have been ringing all over Maine in recent weeks. Every time, the message is the same. This is Rachel from Card Member Services Most readers can probably recite the rest of the message by heart. Rachel is calling to assure you that nothings w
File a Complaint With the Do Not Call Registry
- National Do Not Call Registry
Here is the website where you can file a complaint to the Do Not Call Registry. You may wish also to contact your state's attorney general office.
CardMember Services--Chase Bank Ripoff Report
- Rip-off Report | Cardmember Services, Chase Bank USA, First USA | Complaint Review: 491662
Cardmember Services, Chase Bank USA, First USA WaMu All You Need to Know About Chase Internet
Caller ID--Calls from CardMember Services
- How to deal with unsolicited calls.
I have learned how to deal with these calls. Reporting the number that is on your Caller ID to the FED or your states Attorney General does no good because it is usually either a forged number or it is a number that can not be associated with the ca
Card Services Scam Calls
I got a similar call. My phone rang, caller ID 414-762-2855, Oak Creek, Wi. Recording said press 1 for "info about reducing credit card interest rate." I pressed 1. A man said they deal with different banks... cards, Visa, MC, Discover, AmEx, etc.
From Caller ID--How to Deal with Unsolicited Calls
"I have learned how to deal with these calls. Reporting the number that is on your Caller ID to the FED or your state’s Attorney General does no good because it is usually either a forged number or it is a number that can not be associated with the caller, and therefore cannot be used to identify the real caller.
"You need to get a REAL number that can absolutely identify the caller in order for the FED or your state Attorney General to be able to sue the real culprit. The only way to get that real number is to talk to the caller and turn the tables on him!
"When you get this type of call feign interest. That means that if the recorded message asks you to press 9 then go ahead and press 9 to talk to a live person. While they give you their pitch, keep feigning interest. Sound excited that you may be able to have your interest rate reduced. Keep them talking. If they ask you a question, answer it, but don't answer it truthfully (and NEVER give them your Credit Card number or anything else that is real).
"After a couple minutes you will have them hooked. That is when you have to go to the bathroom, or check the oven, etc. Ask them if you can call them back in a few minutes and get a phone number from them. Chances are they will give you a real number (and their name). Call that number back a minute or two later and ask for the person that you were speaking to. Talk to them just long enough to ensure that you are talking to the same person and that the same conversation is being continued. At that point, tell them that you are on the Do Not Call List and that you want to be placed on their own internal DO NOT CALL list. Also, let them know that you now have a valid phone number to report to your state of the FED.
"I did this a month ago after receiving dozens of calls offering me to reduce my interest rate. When I asked if I could call back I got the number ‘1-866-942-6441’ along with the company name ‘Sapphire Financial’. I called back a minute later and spoke to the same person and the conversation picked up where it left off.
I was able to report all this to my State’s Attorney General and because they have a verified bonafide phone number, the AG can sue the company, which they are in the process of doing so now. Now when they call (and they continue to call) I feign interest so that I can get a verified, bonafide number that can be used to SCREW them both legally and royally
"Until you can get a verified bonafide number, there is nothing that you can do. If you can get a verified, bonafide number, the FED or your state’s Attorney General can do something,
"By the way….If you do feign interest and they don’t give you a number when you ask….just tell them that you will just call 1-866-942-6441 and ask to speak Jennifer Sallies instead. More than likely they will be calling for Sapphire Financials and hearing their real number and the owner’s name will really BLOW their mind."
[From Caller ID Website.]
- CardMember Services Complaint about Multiple Calls
I've received 200 calls from card member services. The recorded message goes something like "hello, this is Rachel" Would you like lower credit card interest rates as low as 6.9%. If so press this number.
- card member services complaint - constant calls
recording 3 or 4 times a day im on no calll list
Complaints Board--CardMember Services
- CardMember Services Complaints, Reviews - Scam
CardMember Services Complaints, Reviews: Scam. Products & Services
Honeypot.net Carmember Services Complaint
Here's a Comment from James Jones Who Says He Worked for one of these Credit Companies
I worked a few days for them, it is not a total scam as they can reduce interest rate for consumers that have higher than 17% interest rates, but it is a completely commissioned based company and thus I made no money. We were taught to basically hang up on anyone who asks any questions unless they are really interested in reducing their rates. Anyone else, we hung up. Other than that, I understand they're an automated system that will call anyone and everyone, mostly elderly, and even those on the "do not call list." We just hung up on everyone who did not say yes and hitting the #2 does nothing. There is nothing to stop the calls. We just hang up on any person who didn't sound like they were interested. They do check credit, so it will hit your credit score. They told us that we would make $700-1000 per week. But, when I saw 6 outta 10 making $0 in 3 days, it didn't seem profitable. The sad thing is they advertise the job on Craig's List and on magic marker signs on the side of the road. They didn't even look at the application and just said, can you sell this and your hired. Thus, anyone could have access to your private information. Thus, beware.
11-13-11NYTimes--"Robocalls Instigate a Cellphone Fight"
- Rewriting the Law on Automated Cellphone Calls - NYTimes.com
Federal law protects cellphone customers from receiving automated calls without consent, but the government and industry groups want to change what “consent” means.