A Minor Scam

On Friday afternoon I finally said enough is enough and I contacted my bank about a monthly charge that kept popping up on my online bank statement. For what had seemed like the past year, each month I had a $16.99 charge on my statement that was preceded by this description: Visa Purchase (Non-pin) Recur Tlg*shopper61256800-5264848 Ct.

For way too many months I brushed it off. I told myself that it probably was from a magazine subscription or rental insurance. Most typical months I rack up numerous different charges and as long as I don’t see anything outlandish on my online statement I don’t think too much about some random $16.99 charge that is smashed right in the middle of a bunch of different charges. Definitely laziness and a lack of attention on my part.

However, as I reviewed my account activity for October the mystery charge stood out much more than usual. You see, I tend to notice things more when instead of having 40 different charges I just have four. Bottom line, I just didn’t spend money in October. It is amazing how much less you fork out when you work every single day of the month. So with the knowledge that I had no magazine subscriptions to pay and already seeing my rental insurance charge on the statement, I decided to get to the bottom of this glaring random charge on my account. I straight up e-mailed my bank about the issue. Within just two hours they responded to me, giving me the phone number of the entity that was associated with the charge on my account. I immediately closed out of my e-mail and dialed the 1-800 number that my bank provided me….

Keep readng to see who it was who scammed me.

Keep readng to see who it was who scammed me.

“Good Evening, Shopper’s Advantage, how may I help you?” the foreign voice greeted me after the first ring.

At first I was at a loss for words. I guess I didn’t think at all in the couple seconds it took me to exit my e-mail and call the number about who might answer on the other end of the line. After a couple seconds of silence I spit out my story. I told them I had no knowledge on who “Shopper’s Advantage” was, I didn’t have the faintest clue on how I became associated with them, and I had no idea in hell how I consented to letting them take $17 from me each month.

The voice answered back: “Is this Brent Reser of (he correctly identified my address).”

“Yes it is,” I responded, knowing that my phone number was associated with my personal information.

The guy then went on a two minute tangent where he explained how I became signed up for Shopper’s Advantage while trying to get me to upgrade to some other package while sprinkling in “Mr. Reser” no fewer than a dozen different times. By the time his solicitation was over my head was spinning. Wanting to yell at him but knowing that never pays off, I told him to please cancel whatever account I had with them immediately. After that he countered with another pitch and at least six more “Mr. Resers.” Again I told him that I was uninterested and to please end any agreement I had with them. I kid you not, another scheme and additional “Mr. Resers” came my way but I am sure you want to know what Shopper’s Advantage is and how I got suckered in to giving them my money.

Shopper’s Advantage is a company that sells products online at discounted prices. For example, you can purchase items such as apparel and electronics for probably 20% less than the retail price. Of course I had no idea about this until I googled them after canceling my account. Besides learning about what the company sells upon my internet search, I also learned about the thousands of people the company has scammed. My Google search was overwhelmed with angry people describing the frustrating charges from Shopper’s Advantage.

And how I got entered into the scam? My “customer service representative” told me that when I purchased plane tickets off of Allegiant Air’s website a year and a half ago I clicked on an option that asked if I would like a rebate. I faintly remember clicking on it and then exiting after realizing that it was not legitimate. Unfortunately my initial click was enough for the information I fed to Allegiant to be transferred to Shopper’s Advantage.

After I made myself clear to the guy I was speaking to that all the persuasion and “Mr. Resers” in the world would not convince me to continue with the scam I asked him a question:

“Hey sir, could you please tell me how long I have paid this monthly charge for?”

“Sure thing Mr. Reser….you entered into this agreement in April of 2012. After your free trial ran out and charges started to incur, we got you down for 17 completed payments.”

So even though a charge of $16.99 a month is minimal, I have sadly put in a total of $288.83 to this scam over the past year and a half. Never once have I received one benefit, one product, or one mailing from this company. It pays to be attentive to your bank account activity and to take action whenever you notice something that you don’t recognize. Hopefully a $288 lesson right now will save me from an even more expensive one in the future. Don’t Blink.

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