Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Beware Negative Option Programs: Scams That Target Seniors

Negative option programs puts the burden on you as a consumer to cancel an order because they are considered "legally accepted" if you don't respond! In other words, if you say nothing, you are buying something!!!

Sid Kircheimer in the September, 2009, AARP Bulletin warns us about this kind of scam often perpetrated by banks in the bank-branded offerings.

Make sure your bank doesn't charge you for bank-branded offerings (like car or life insurance) if you don't want them.

Here's what you can do:

1. Scrupulously review your bank statements upon receipt--you have only 60 days to dispute a charge.

2. Beware of tree trial offers where negative option programs are common.

3. Request a contract.

4. Send certified letters with return receipt requested asking companies not to send information about company-branded programs.

And when is doubt, contact your state attorney general or file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

For more on consumer protection, visit 50somethinginfo.com.


Diane J Standiford said...

When my mother began her dementia decline, I looked over her credit card bills---shocking! Full of charges she never asked for, magazines she never got nor wanted, prize programs, on and on, one went back FIVE YEARS! After many phone calls and several threats, I got her money back; but an elderly person would be overwhelmed and give up. The criminals should be jailed.

ron said...

Getting spam mail in the mailbox is something we are all familiar with. But, we don't expect that throwing it in the garbage could cause financial turmoil, or disputes. This is interesting because we don't think of junk mail as a threat.
Caregivers should definately be on the look-out for spam mail that their loved ones receive, and take action immediately.