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SPECIAL INVESTIGATION The Premier Membership Clubs Mystery: Who Are They and Why Are They Charging You?

Have you been charged by Premier Membership Clubs? If so, you’re not alone. On Scambook, we’ve received almost 3000 complaints against this company, with a staggering $771,799 in total reported damages. To add insult to injury, most consumers haven’t even heard of Premier Membership Clubs. Over and over again, our members ask, What is this company? Why are they charging me? How did they get my credit card number? I didn’t order anything from them, or sign up for a subscription, so why am I getting these monthly fees on my bill? Well, I decided to do some sleuthing and get answers. Here’s what I uncovered.

As always, I started my investigation on Scambook. We received our first report against Premier Membership Clubs in August, 2011, and the complaints haven’t stopped rolling in. Users report that this unknown online company charges them $99.49. They didn’t authorize any purchase or make any orders. In some cases, users recently applied for a payday loan, but they didn’t sign up for any Membership Club when they received their loan. For many members, the $99.49 charge results in overdraft fees and other financial hardship. These members often tell us that they’re unemployed, living on a fixed income or that they’re single parents.

 

Is It Fraud? Following the Digital Trail

A Google search for Premier Membership Clubs turns up more evidence against this company. A press release from Pioneer Services Military Banking in Kansas City, MO, claims that PMC has falsely used their name to target veterans and members of the armed forces. Consumers who called PMC to complain had been told that PMC got their information from Pioneer Military Loans.

A message from PMC’s website about “membership benefits.” Click image to enlarge.

“Pioneer Services is just the latest company to have its name tarnished in this scam,” said the bank’s Chief Marketing Officer Karen Von Der Bruegge. “And I can assure our customers that we do not sell that type of information to any company. In fact, we don’t share any information at all without implicit consent from our customers.”

So PMC has hurt honest people who are down on their luck and military families? If this is a legitimate company, they certainly don’t have any scruples.

I tried to find more information about Premier Membership Clubs from their website, but it doesn’t clarify anything. There isn’t much content on PMC’s website except for fields where you can enter your order number (this must be very useful for users who don’t remember placing any orders!) and an 800 number for customer service.

I dialed the number to hear what they have to say about themselves. The automated voice that picked up didn’t mention Premier Membership Clubs by name; instead, it thanked me for calling “your customer service.” Then, as I waited for a human representative, it told me, “You became our customer when you authorized an order for one of the products we support.” The recording also repeated an address for a different support website.

After a few minutes of soothing elevator music, a representative finally answered. I told her I’d been charged and I didn’t know why. She gave me a slightly different version of the recording’s vague answer, stating that I joined PMC when I registered for something called the Saving Pays Club. She said she couldn’t be more specific unless I gave her my bank account number. I thanked her and promptly hung up.

 

Premier Membership Clubs, Also Known As…

The pieces were beginning to fall into place. Saving Pays Club purports to be a discount subscription website selling a rather broad range of services, from restaurant coupons and shopping deals to payday loans and identity theft protection. They have 59 reports on Scambook, raking in approximately $6700 in reported damages. And can you guess what these reports say? That’s right. An unauthorized charge for $99.49.

Looking closely, the Saving Pays Club sign up page offers this tiny little bit of fine print: “A one-time membership fee of $99.49 will be debited by Premier Memberships Clubs upon enrollment.”

In other words, they’re closely affiliated – if not run by the very same people. By exploring the Saving Pays Club website, I found links to SavingPaysYouNow.com, CashLoan.com and YourCustomerServiceOnline.com. The last one is an obvious alias for PMC. In fact, even though the domain is different, YourCustomerServiceOnline.com is a duplicate of the website that the PMC recording mentioned. I also discovered a third domain that share their content, YourSupportDepartment.com.

I found three different websites that share this exact same content. Click image to enlarge.

Unfortunately, my trail began to run cold, but I think I’ve gathered enough clues. Let’s review. Thousands of reports on Scambook. Suspicious unauthorized charges. Vague customer service representatives. A network of fishy websites. A real, legitimate financial institution that says PMC has taken advantage of military families.

Who is Premier Membership Clubs and why are they charging you? Well, PMC may not be crooks, but they’re very, very misleading. They’re charging you because you applied for a payday loan or a discount offer from one of their numerous affiliate sites, and those sites conveniently buried the fine print. The $99.49 charge on your credit card bill is a hidden “processing fee” for a membership you unknowingly purchased.

 

What You Should Do If You’re Charged by PMC

Based on our members’ reports, and my own brief yet frustrating encounter with PMC’s customer service, it’s unlikely that you’ll get a refund from them any time soon. However, some of our members say that their bank reversed the charges. If you notice a charge from Premier Membership Clubs, or any other organization you don’t recommend, call your financial institution immediately.

Check your bank account online every day, always read your bills very carefully and always, ALWAYS read the terms of service and privacy policy before you sign up for anything on the internet. We can’t stress that enough. Premier Membership Clubs and other companies are just waiting to exploit you. Don’t give out your personal information, bank account or other sensitive info until you’ve done your research. Read the fine print and search Scambook.

So spread the word about Premier Membership Clubs. Hopefully, they won’t take advantage of more people and we can say this case is closed.

GOT A COMPLAINT AGAINST THIS COMPANY OR ANYTHING ELSE? CLICK HERE TO REPORT IT TO SCAMBOOK!

 

See Also

Scambook Insights: Megastoon Complaint Overview
Scambook Insights: Money Plus Saver Complaint Overview
Scambook Leading the Fight for Consumer Justice in Los Angeles

Got a complaint? Report it to Scambook!

Author:

Miranda Perry is the staff writer for Scambook.com, where she blogs about consumer issues, fraud and cyber security. She hopes to inspire readers to think critically about the world around them and take action to improve their lives.

Comments

  1. Bill Cole

    Thank you, for taking the time & effort to write this very informative article.

    I bought African Mango products, however I’ve NOT had any recurring automatic re orders or any other unauthorized charges because of precautions I took BEFORE I placed my order.

    I used a Secure Online Credit Card number provided by DiscoverCard. It is a credit card number that can only be used once.

    You might consider letting others know of this grrreat feature that goes with a Discover Card. I can buy things online & never give out the Discover Card number that is actually on my plastic credit card.

    Also, when I bought my African Mango product I used a Yahoo Disposable email address instead of giving them my permanent yahoo email addy.

    After buying & receiving the product, I deleted the disposable email address, which means I’m not fooling around with having to “unsubscribe” to spam. I’m not even getting spam from them. I’m not getting anything that goes to “trash”; it is as though the email address never existed.

    The shipping address went to a P.O. Box; which means I get junk mail from them, but I’ve not given up my actual residence address.

    Like I said, I’ve NOT been plagued with any recurring or unauthorized credit card charges, THANKFULLY, that others have had to deal with.

    Reply
  2. Jessica Barnes

    No disrespect to Bill Cole but…. are you trying to advertise for these people? Do you work for them?

    Premier Membership Club has very disrepectful and dishonorable practices. Today, I’ve been a victim of their one time “membership” fee scam. Oh yes… they printed out a check in my name with a Pay to the Order of Premier Membership Club. Really???

    Here’s their proceedure and policy of cancelling:

    1. Call them at 818-360-5710. Good luck with that! After making several phone calls within their business hours on Pacific coast. I got recording after recording to leave a freaking message. When I finally got to representative, Ms. Chelse Thompson (if that’s her real name), told me that I agreed to the membership online. Umm…. no I didn’t. Then this lady told me that in order for me to cancel I have to:

    a. go to http://www.pmcclub.com

    b. click the link that says “I want to cancel my membership”. Side note: Let me say that I have a problem with this because I didn’t have a damn membership in the first place.

    c. After clicking on this link, sign the customer service cancellation form.
    FYI – Read the fine print people. It says, if you are requesting a refund, then you cannot pursue any “charge back” from your bank.

    d. Submit to them my bank statement showing the transaction.

    e. After all of that bullsh*t, if they approve you… you have to wait 30 days to get your money back.

    Best bet… file a police report, a better business report and go to your bank immediately. These people need to be shut down!!

    Speak up if you have been a victim!

    Reply
  3. antoinette dinovo

    i have money taking out of mt acct for 99.49 iwould like you to put money back you have the acct number because you took it out iam on ssd afix income you took my light bill money adinovo

    Reply
  4. mary pringle

    PREMIER MEMBERSHIP CLUB IS A RIP-OFF THEY GO INTO PEOPLES CHECKING AND SAVING ACCOUNT DEBIT IT FOR $99.49+others fees are added, ON 8/24/12 THIS VARY COMPANY DEBIT MY CHECKING ACCOUNT FOR THE $99.49 CAUSING MY ACCOUNT TO OVERDRAFT. SO NOW I’M IN A BOAT LOAD OF SH#T TRYING TO GET MY MONEY BACK. THESE PEOPLES NEED TO BE SENT TO JAIL FOR THERE CRIME

    Reply
  5. Saving Pays Club

    Our customer service team would be happy to help you. You may contact us directly at 818-380-5710 between 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. PST, Monday – Friday. We are here to help you as our customer. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Jessica

      Your company is NOT happy to help you printed a FRAUD check in my name after STEALING my account information. I want a refund but NO so guess what I contacted the FBI and filed a report I have to contact my bank about changing my account number so you crooks do not charge anymore and you overdrafted my account. You already stole my account information and I do not feel I should have to fill out more and give out more account information to get a refund. You can credit my account back like any honest company who made a mistake would but you WONT I am also going to be filing a police report here shortly. I applied for a payday loan NOT a membership with you guys. When I entered my account information you STOLE it and forged a check. I am in school for criminal justice and I know what you did is a fraud and a scam. I am going to make sure you pay for this and all the other people you have scammed. I am going to contact the FCC as well and I still want my refund from you crooks!

      Reply
  6. dsocko 13

    My husband didn’t know any better & tried signing up for a loan on the internet when AOL this nonsense started happening to us… First the $99.49, then additional balances of about $20 or $30 were taken out since then. Our bank has refunded most of the money, but says the checks aren’t fraudulent. Our address wasn’t even correct on the checks! We are shutting down our bank account with Chase thanks to this. Good luck getting anymore money from us, good for nothing bastards!

    Reply

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