Cambridge Who's Whos (of Female Vice Presidents)
Complaint 12061 Details

  • Date Occurred: 08/15/2011
  • Reported Damages: $180.00
  • !

The complaint is against an online dating profile

The complaint is a listing fraud posted on public forums or sites against an anonymous entity

The complaint is mobile text spam or smishing related against an anonymous entity

The company or person contact no longer exists

International boundaries

Received " invitation" and repeated calls to talk about eligibility to be interviewed for inclusion "before the publishing deadline" for Cambridge Who's Who of Female Vice Presidents. Finally had the dialogue with very professional and pleasant representative. After that discussion and the "congratulations, you certainly qualify for inclusion in membership" and a litany of membership benefits. Then "POW" the $$$ amount of either a Gold or Platinum Lifetime membership. This was the first mention of a fee for being included in this program and the fee was a doozie! I was surprised and pretty well hesitant. No time to really ponder before the now (in my mind, while still very nice, but definately telemarketer sales rep) decided to throw in the 'free Platnum membership' for the price of the Gold membership, still running up a cost of around, as I recall $800. I was still trying to process all of this -- not just the cost, but the overall concept of how or if this idea even met my personal or social goals, much less professional idea of what I want. I also clearly stated that at no time could my company's name be mentioned at any time in connection with any of this material. No problem. Everything is customizable, members get final editorial approval etc etc. This conversation took place, and yes, I did provide my credit card info (what was I thinking - clearly not well nor did I consider this ultimately binding - nothing coming to review for approval first) on Friday, August 12 at or around 4:35 p.m. CST, which the rep (Jackie Atkins) confirmed was post closing Eastern Standard time.
I never received any e-mail confirmation from Cambridge or e-receipt with the details of the terms or the discussion, although I had provided the corrected personal e-mail address vs my business address which is how I was first contacted. On Sunday, August 14th, I called Jackie Atkins and left her a voice mail (their offices were closed) to advise that I had reconsidered and that the entire concept was not in keeping with my personal values or professional goals. I advised that I wanted to cancel the transaction. Given that less than 24 business hours had passed, I anticipated this would be (while disappointing perhaps) no problem. I followed up with an e-mail to the contact us information on the Cambridge site.

On Monday morning, August 15, I received a call from Lilia Golia at Cambridge advising that she'd been notified that I had questions or something like that about the membership. (I was in between meetings). As I learned later that evening, I had a v-message on my home # from Jackie Atkins advising she'd referred my v-message of the 14th to the Membership Relations Department and someone would be contacting me. Lilia repeatedly asked me why I didn't want to stay with the membership, I repeatedly told her until I finally just said I wanted to cancel the transaction. After several efforts to enroll me in decreasingly less costly programs, and telling me that the membership was non-refundable (after only 1 day?!), her final answer was to offer a credit of $470, waive the final annual payment of $199. for a 1 year student membership (as I understood it) and a companion airline voucher (which was part of the original pitch and apparently is part of any membership deal with this group. BUT, in no way, was she going to completely refund the entire amount of the charge to the card. She indicated she was going to send me an e-mail to confirm this new agreement and that I had to sign and return it within it within 2 days (or what?) the deal is off? I don't know. I reiterated that I couldn't understand how the transaction couldn't be cancelled outright given the circumstances; she referenced that they had already started the process and had been open on Saturday . . . . .This is a NY domiciled company with apparently no sense of a cooling off period. Either way, it is a completely unethical company that will not allow a prospect to reconsider within less than 1 business day of a transaction; without the benefit of materials to review and without the benefit of providing time to contemplate. I acknowledge I should have just hung up and left the matter rest, but I had no idea that this was a scam/telemarketing deal until I tried to cancel the order immediately after the entire thing hit me and I thought it over. Now, I'm faced with getting a lawyer to plead my case, advising my credit card company of the circumstances, deciding if I have to sign the revised agreement to at least significantly reduce the inflated liability of the initial pitch to mitigate the damages -- although the unilateral "agreement" purports to waive future rights for ongoing dispute although I've made it abundantly clear that this is not the resolution that I am looking for. Talk about unethical and just down right lousy business practices.

Yep, I'm a fool for not seeing it coming, but I am one angry fool for sure.

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Comments

  • RagingMad
  • RagingMad SBID #N/A
  • Posted 08/16/2011
  • But for the continued dispute and request for full reimbursement, the total damages would have been an initial $589 (which was charged immediately) and another 'deferred one time annual' second payment of $199 a year later (I think, again I never received anything in writing confirming the transaction that I could review to verify any of the terms, conditions, etc etc. I have filed a dispute with my credit card company, am continuing into looking into the consumer protection laws that may apply and just say to anyone else who may be invited to be 'interviewed' BEWARE. There will be a fast paced and pitch at the end that is chock full of $$$ waiting to be enticed from your wallet. If you value it, fine. But this company apparently does not believe in giving you any time to think things over, reflect, review or any other highly reasonable actions to take. My advice? Unless you absolutely know , UP FRONT, that you want this and that you are going to be asked to part with serious $$$, just say no thanks, hang up and move on with your life -- and make sure they know to put you on the do not call list. For those who find value in this type of company, go for it. Just think about the core values and ethics that you are aligning yourself with when you know they operate in this fashion. I sure hope they reconsider and grant my request for complete cancellation of the "membership" and full refund of all fees. If not, it's certainly not the end of the world, but it underscores the type of people who are out there and why we need more consumer activists to hold them to account to the lofty standards to which they claim to ascribe. For now, my credit card company is investigating them, the charges, and has put a full block of any and all future charges against my account just in case there's a chance of a slip up in the process of unraveling this unfortunate matter. If the company really doesn't reconsider and do the right thing by the customer, and stands by the "best offer,' I believe the updated damages will be $119. Until this is all resolved, I just am not sure and I am sure not going to trust much of what I hear from anyone at Cambridge ever, ever again.
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Business Profile Summary

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Company Statistics

  • Complaint Against Cambridge Who's Whos (of Female Vice Presidents)
  • Complaints Filed: 1
  • Reported Damages: $180.00
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