Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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Court Orders $9.2 Million Judgment Against "Rachel" from "Cardholder Services"

You may be one of the millions of people who received one of those annoying phone calls, or several phone calls, from “Rachel” from “Cardholder Services” promising to help you reduce your credit card interest rate. Unfortunately, many consumers found out after spending hundreds of dollars that “Rachel” was just part of a scam. The FTC shut down one of the companies behind the scam in November 2012. Now, A+ Financial Center, the company behind the “Rachel” phone calls, has been ordered to pay almost $10 million to the FTC.

The basis of the "Rachel" scam was to charge consumers an upfront fee between $495 and $1,595 for credit card interest rate reduction services. They promised to help consumers lower their credit card rates by up to zero percent in some instances. However, consumers didn’t receive the stated benefits after they paid and the company didn’t give any refunds.

The FTC brought several charges against A+ Financial. For starters, the company made illegal robocalls to consumers, including calling consumers who were on the Do Not Call Registry. Not only that, the company promised interest rate reductions they couldn’t deliver. The court imposed a judgment of $9,328,155, but the judgment will be suspended after A+ Financial defendants transfer all their assets to the court.

As part of their settlement, A+ Financial Center also has to stop their “Rachel” scam. They’re no longer allowed to make robocalls nor can they call numbers on the Do Not Call Registry. They also cannot pitch unsecured debt relief services or misrepresent the types of services they offer.

Of course, the end of A+ Financial Center doesn’t necessarily mean the end of all “Rachel from Cardholder Services” and similar calls. This is just one company. There may be dozens (or hundreds) of other companies out there running the same or similar scheme. It’s important to be on guard for scams.

Be wary of any company calling to make unsolicited pitches for debt relief services (or any type of service) to you, especially if you’re on the Do Not Call Registry. These calls may come from companies who make it seem like they’re calling from your own credit card’s customer service department or a third-party hired by your credit card issuer. Don’t fall for it. Don’t give up any personal information, especially not your credit card details.

If you’re interested in getting a lower rate on your credit cards, call your credit card customer service directly using the number on the back of your credit card. Requesting a lower interest rate is free, but if you have a negative credit history, especially with that card issuer, your request may be denied.

If you receive robocalls and your number is on the FTC Do-Not-Call Registry, you can file a complaint at Complaint.DoNotCall.gov giving the name of the company and the number that shows up on your called ID. Or, if you’ve been scammed by this or a similar company complain to the FTC at FTC.gov. The more complaints the FTC receives, the better they’re able to catch companies who violate the law and consumers’ rights.
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Monday, 19 August 2019

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