"7 on Your Side": Getting trapped by misleading subscriptions

By Courtney Lane - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A "7 on Your Side" warning. Some East Texans are getting a postcard in the mail with a Wal-mart and Target logo on it. It has a number to call and claims you'll receive $200 in vouchers to those stores, but there is much more involved that could end up costing you in the long run.

Retail stores are in trouble, it says, and they want you back. Call today for your $200 voucher...So we did.

"Thanks for calling the redemption center," a cheerful telemarketer answered the phone.

The live operator immediately made an offer.

"Today we will send you a $200 retail voucher to Wal-mart, Target, etc," the telemarketer rattled off all of the 'benefits.' "Plus, $1,000 in grocery coupons just for looking at some of our money saving programs."

But hang on. There must be a catch right?

"I think there are just undisclosed facts with this that people need to know," said Ann Harris, with the BBB.

The Better Business Bureau has 330 complaints against this company. Everything from contract, billing, service, and delivery issues. They want you to subscribe to several programs.

The operator basically speeds through a script, spouting out quick numbers, promising you can cancel if you're not satisfied. But the BBB said you can easily be tricked and locked into a contract.

"Some of these subscriptions can go on for five to seven years, so they're mentioning a month of payments but not telling you how long those payments may last," said Harris.

Wal-mart had not heard of this scheme and said, "It's unfortunate some people use the good name of a reputable business for their personal gain."

Wal-mart wasn't sure how the vouchers worked and the telemarketer didn't provide details either. [take sot outcue: me and telemarketer]

"The voucher would be in what form," I asked.

"They'll be in retail vouchers," replied the telemarketer. "So, it's just piece of paper. It'll be the $200. I think they come as 25 each."

"The best thing to do is start asking them questions, like you did," said Harris. "Ask them what their name is so you can identify them then check that out and check it out with the Better Business Bureau."

So if get a card in the mail like the one we described, don't be fooled and don't be pressured into giving personal information over the phone.

Complaints from the BBB show a pattern of customers who can't cancel their subscriptions and continue to be billed. The BBB also says that a lot of times, you'll pay an inflated price through magazine subscription solicitors.