What is consumer fraud?
Consumer fraud is defined as: “Deceptive practices that result in financial or other losses for consumers in the course of seemingly legitimate business.”
Think you can spot a scam a mile away and won’t be duped? So did I! I am careful not to open attachments of suspicious looking emails. I don’t fall for email pleas requesting wired money from a friend or family member who has been mugged while on vacation. I never respond to phone calls about my credit, or insurance, or tax problems. I believe that if a deal/product/service sounds too good to be true…it probably is.
BUT in March, I was contacted by a friendly young man (who just happened to be from a town near where I grew up in Ohio) selling advertising for Luxury Lifestyles of Lake Norman. This publication was apparently being delivered to River Run Country Club, NorthStone Country Club, The Peninsula Club and Trump National Golf Club throughout the year. I was sold a prime location on the inside back cover and the sole Senior Move Manager spot for a reasonable fee. My credit card was processed, I received an email receipt, advertising order agreement, and as promised, a copy of the Luxury Lifestyle Chapel Hill 2015.
During the month of April, we worked with the Graphic Design Team at New Age Marketing Group of Delray Beach, FL to design the ad to our satisfaction. I was eager to see the finished product in print. So in May, I sent several emails inquiring about the delivery date. Frustrated by the lack of a response, I sent another email questioning whether this magazine was a scam. Within hours I had a voicemail assuring me that this was not a scam and the magazine would be delivered by the first week of July.
On July 7, I checked with each of the promised Golf Clubs. No one had ever even heard of Luxury Lifestyle Magazine! I called each of the company’s contact phone numbers only to find voicemail boxes unable to accept my message. With a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, I scoured the BBB website and discovered that a number of complaints had already been filed for this company. Even though the likelihood of a suitable outcome was slim, I filed my complaint with the BBB of Southeast Florida. To this date there has been no response by New Age Marketing Group.
Warning! Be On Alert! This type of fraudulent activity must be very lucrative. One week later, I received a voicemail from another friendly young man wanting to sell me advertising for a Birkdale Golf Club Publication. I immediately called Birkdale and was told they did participate in yardage books published by Benchcraft Company last year, but had not renewed for this year. So, I ask, why was this young man soliciting me for advertising?
Want to know more about how you can protect yourself against these and other types of consumer fraud? We invite you to join us at the Consumer Protection Seminar on Tuesday, August 23, 2016 from 9 AM – 12:30PM at University City United Methodist Church in Charlotte. The event is free, but registration is requested. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 704-927-8623. (Simply leave your name and the number of people attending.) More information can be found on the enclosed flyer.
– Kandy Schreiner, Transition Tamers www.transitiontamers.com