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Calling Card Scam

Old 05-01-02, 11:54 AM
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Calling Card Scam

Unusual charges from a company called "Planet Earth Communications" have showed up on my CC bill. After calling I was informed that by making a purchase online, I was automatically signed up on their calling plan, even though they even admit that I never gave my credit card # directly to them(Or name, address, or anything else). They refuse to tell me which site gave them my information, or which sites they are partners with. Very simply they sign you up for $48.69, and then wait to see if you call or dispute the charge. Now, has anyone else had charges from Planet Earth Communications(billed as AMR LD Service)? I'm more than curious(and rather pissed) which site gave out my info.
Old 05-01-02, 12:10 PM
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Re: Calling Card Scam

Originally posted by pagemaster7
Unusual charges from a company called "Planet Earth Communications" have showed up on my CC bill. After calling I was informed that by making a purchase online, I was automatically signed up on their calling plan, even though they even admit that I never gave my credit card # directly to them(Or name, address, or anything else). They refuse to tell me which site gave them my information, or which sites they are partners with.
Holy crap! We need to find out which site(s) do this and avoid them like the plague. Please post more information when and if you get it.
Old 05-01-02, 12:37 PM
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Here's their site

http://www.pec.net/
Old 05-01-02, 12:40 PM
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Isn't this illegal?
Old 05-01-02, 12:42 PM
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Originally posted by Groucho
Isn't this illegal?
Yes and their headquarters apparently resides in CA. I'm sure the attorney general of that state would be interested in hearing about that one.
Old 05-01-02, 04:01 PM
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These people are hooked up with Deep Discount DVD, at the very least. How do I know this? I got a new credit card recently, and DDD is the ONLY place I've used it. This $48.79 charge showed up on my card about a month after I ordered a bunch of stuff from DDD. Again, that's the ONLY place I've used this card at.

I've been a loyal DDD customer in the past, but never again. I don't care how cheap their prices are. This is unbelievable.

Pagemaster7, were you able to get PEC to refund your money? I sure wasn't. They gave me the run-around on the phone for twenty minutes before finally hanging up on me. I had to dispute the charge with my CC company.
Old 05-01-02, 04:39 PM
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Quick update... I just called PEC again and finally got a hold of somebody who was willing to help. He said they'd been getting a ton of calls about this, and that he would issue a refund immediately. I got an Email before I had even hung up the phone stating that a refund had been issued. What I found really interesting, though, is that the guy said that a SERVICE had been cancelled, and that I wouldn't be billed again. That means if I hadn't taken care of this now, they would have gotten me for $48.79 again next month, and every month after that for as long as the charges went unnoticed. Absolutely unbelievable.

Just one problem now - I had the credit card cancelled and a new one issued, late last week when I first noticed the unauthorized charge. Anybody know what will happen with the refund in this situation? I'm assuming it wont go through, since the CC number is no longer valid, but I'm not sure. I'm guessing I'll have to deal with these people again when my new card gets here, and hope they'll push the refund through on that one.
Old 05-01-02, 05:31 PM
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I hope like hell this isn't from DDD. I've been ordering from them for quite a while and i've got to admit, i don't check my statements often because i have it all automated. Now i'm going to have to request copies of my statement to make sure that charge didn't happen.

Has anyone contacted DDD about this?
Old 05-01-02, 05:39 PM
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this really sucks

Terrible news. DDD is (was?) my favorite dvd store. I was just going to place an order with them. Now I'm afraid to. I can't afford to take the chance. I just had to replace my card for fraud last month (second time in two years). I just don't need the hassle.
Old 05-01-02, 06:01 PM
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I never ordered from DDD and I guess I never will. This is so unbelievable.

Btw, if there is no explicit, black-n-white statement on DDD's website stating that you will automatically be signed up for the PEC LD service when you place your order, then what they are doing is illegally. They are not authorized to transmit your CC info to a third party crap. File a complaint to your BBB and attorney general and let them fold...
Old 05-01-02, 06:06 PM
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GUYS - Hold a sec.....

Let's not go running off making accusations about DDD without ANY INFO on the situation.

I called DDD and they are looking in to this. But please be REALLY REALLLY careful about posting acusations unless you have some pretty solid info on it.

And even then, it's best to contact the company direct and raise the issue, because if its' a terriable misunderstanding a post like this could do some serious damage to the reputation of an excellent company.
Old 05-01-02, 06:06 PM
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Privacy Policy

We respect your right to privacy. At DeepDiscountDVD.com we collect only the information necessary for us to complete your order or to contact to you regarding the status of your order. The information we collect includes your name, email address, shipping address, billing address, credit card for payment and a password.

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I don't think they knowingly have given the info out. Of course it's not confirmed that it is from DDD either.
Old 05-01-02, 06:17 PM
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I certainly hope it's not DDD, as they were the only place I've bought DVDs from for months now. However, I got this new card solely for buying DVDs, and DDD is absolutely the only place I've used it at. The only charges on the statement are from DDD and, now, PEC.

Again, I really hope I'm wrong about this, but if this charge isn't connected with DDD in some way, then I'm at a complete loss as to who it could be. I certainly look forward to DDD's response to this, in any event.
Old 05-01-02, 06:25 PM
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Dear DVD Talk Members,

I noted your posts here and references to DeepDiscountDVD.com.

Although we do use a marketing partner to offer upsells at the end of your transaction, each offer has a clear method of opting out and we do not process offers without the customers approval. I have contacted our marketing department to determine if they have ever used PEC as one of their vendors.

We have used this marketing partner for nearly a year and have never had an issue. But in response to your concerns we are investigating. I can assure you that if it is determined that these charges came after a transaction at DeepDiscountDVD.com they will be credited.

In the meantime, to put all of our customers at ease, we have removed all upsell offers from the site.

We do respect your privacy and security and take these matters seriously. You can be assured that your transactions at DeepDiscountDVD.com are secure and that your personal information is not shared without your permission.

Sincerely,

David Barker
Old 05-01-02, 06:32 PM
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Just spoke to Deep Discount, and yes it came from their site. The supervisor I spoke to was very nice and professional, and the and informed me that the pop up window at the end of the order contained the calling card "offer". When the window comes up, it already has your information in it from the site(name,address,cc ect), and asks if you want the service. In "theory" if you close the window it should have been declined. The fact is it wasn't, and it obviously enroles you(I ussually close pop-ups before they even load, I know I didn't even have the chance to see the offer, muchless accept the offer). I have a real problem with a system that transfers your information to another site assuming you might be interested in something else, if I'm interested I would be more than happy to enter my credit card number, address, ect. myself. In any event he said DDD will look into the matter and send a email tomorrow.
Old 05-01-02, 08:57 PM
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I keep going back to amazon.com after all these years. It always seems even the best alternative sites turn out to be such losers in the end, but amazon.com would never do this. I think the only controversy in the past few years I've seen ordering from amazon.com was their test pricing scheme they got in serious trouble for, but that makes transmitting my credit card number to a third party look like a walk thru daffodils.
Old 05-01-02, 10:17 PM
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pagemaster7,

What was the transaction date of the bad charge? I'd like to know how far back I have to check my cc statements.
Old 05-01-02, 10:21 PM
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but amazon.com would never do this
I'm sorry, but that's just ridiculous. Amazon.com was strongly attacked for its privacy policy (or lack thereof) several times over the last few years. Here's some reading about it from just this past year:

http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=0...07&mode=thread

Now I'm not out to start an argument about Amazon or anything like that, I just don't think you should be so quick to judge DDD when Amazon is not as innocent as you think (especially when it comes to privacy).
Old 05-01-02, 11:04 PM
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Hm....

I don't remember getting the popup, and neither of my cc's seem to have been charged. So that's good.

Anyone know the time period for which the popup ran?
Old 05-01-02, 11:50 PM
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Originally posted by tderosa98


I'm sorry, but that's just ridiculous. Amazon.com was strongly attacked for its privacy policy (or lack thereof) several times over the last few years. Here's some reading about it from just this past year:

http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=0...07&mode=thread

Now I'm not out to start an argument about Amazon or anything like that, I just don't think you should be so quick to judge DDD when Amazon is not as innocent as you think (especially when it comes to privacy).
Well, if you face it, security on the entire freaking Internet isn't as secure as people would hope/think. You just find the lesser of the evils. I have had problems with amazon.com in the past (not mysterious charges incured from a third party, however) and have always been treated fairly and with respect from their customer service reps. So even if there was a security breech at amazon.com that allowed my card number to be hacked, I'd rather deal with amazon.com's customer service than some fly-by-night site. And I have had charges made to my card from fly-by-night sites that kept promising a refund but then fell off the face of the earth. I am not saying amazon.com is perfect, but at least they have a good track record for good customer service. Compared to other sites like buy.com (shudders in horror of ever having to deal with them) and other loser sites, I'd take my chances again with amazon.com.
Old 05-01-02, 11:52 PM
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Originally posted by foobball
pagemaster7,

What was the transaction date of the bad charge? I'd like to know how far back I have to check my cc statements.
I wish I knew, "Planet Earth Communications" refused to even tell me which site it came from, much less when(I had to call 6 times, put on hold for twenty minutes, hung up on 3 times before I found someone to issue a credit). To say the least my morning rather sucked.

P.S. Thank You Michael Parks.
Old 05-02-02, 12:26 AM
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Originally posted by pagemaster7


I wish I knew, "Planet Earth Communications" refused to even tell me which site it came from, much less when(I had to call 6 times, put on hold for twenty minutes, hung up on 3 times before I found someone to issue a credit). To say the least my morning rather sucked.

P.S. Thank You Michael Parks.
File a complaint with the California BBB and the Attorney General.

My wife was scammed by some magazine company a year or so ago... filed with the BBB in Florida before she could get a refund... couple months later we get a call from the FTC taking a sworn statement... couple weeks ago we get another call from them letting us know that the FTC had filed suit against the company (and that their attorneys might be calling my wife (they haven't yet)). So that stuff actually does work.
Old 05-02-02, 02:25 AM
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I had a similar problem with Deep Discount and the Doubleday Book Club. I placed an order at Deep Discount and upon completing the order a window popped up and I accidently clicked it and was enrolled in their book club. I never gave them any information or my credit card number for the order but had a charge a few days later. I felt like they stole my personal information without my consent. It was a hassle getting the charge removed and I also had to return a book they sent before getting credited. I wasn't too happy about it and mentioned it to Deep Discount but they really didn't seem concerned. Since that happened I cut back on my orders to Deep Discount. Just wondering if you could have done the same thing at their site after placing an order?
Old 05-02-02, 07:35 AM
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Originally posted by LASERMOVIES
I had a similar problem with Deep Discount and the Doubleday Book Club. I placed an order at Deep Discount and upon completing the order a window popped up and I accidently clicked it and was enrolled in their book club.
I had a similar problem happen only with Direct one communications. I clicked their popup by accident while trying to close the partially loaded window and got enrolled in a calling plan for $44.90 per month! Fortnuately, there was a free trial period first so I was able to turn off the "savings plan" before it even started. I have carefully avoided DDD popups ever sense that incident. I admit that what happened to me was partly my fault because I accidentally clicked the popup. However, I think a positive confirmation of the order is required because accidents can and do happen. That is what happens with any reputable shopping site ... right? You confirm the order before placing it. Anyway, pagemaster7 claims he never even opened a popup. I hope DDD will offer customers the chance to opt out and avoid these crappy popup offers. I would like to continue to order from them.
Old 05-02-02, 10:13 AM
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Before everybody goes bashing DDD, it seems that they have gone out of their way rather quickly to remedy this problem. They stated that all "upsell offers" have been pulled for the time being and that they would get his charges reversed.

Did they make a poor decision by using this method (of automatically transferring info into the pop-up)? Unquestionably, yes. Have they given immediate attention to remedying the situation? It appears they have. I take a lot of flak -- I'm talking about you POWERBOMB! -- for my views of big companies operating procedures, but I will say that it looks like DDD is trying to set things right. That is an action that most companies anymore just do not do.

Personally, I would like to see pop-ups made illegal as part of a consumer protection act. But in the mean time, get a pop-up killer or watch what you click. At the very least, information transmissions into pop-ups (like DDD did here) should be made illegal.


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