Dear Liz: I need help. I am getting ripped off by a company that advertises on television. The company bills your credit card for stuff you didn’t order. They need to be exposed and stopped. Can you help me? They don’t even have an email address to contact, and they seem to be ruthless. How can they be allowed to advertise on TV and fool the public? It is sick! I tried to cancel and they said it was already shipped.
Answer: You have far more faith in television advertisers than you should. Just about anyone can buy advertising time, including scam artists, as long as their check to the station or channel doesn’t bounce.
Call your credit card company and let it know you’ve been scammed. Then create a paper trail: Follow up with a written letter asking that the charges be removed, your account closed and a new account opened with different numbers, since the scammer may try charging you again.
In the future, you should regard all advertisers, whatever the medium, with skepticism. If you’re purchasing from a company for the first time, at a minimum you should research its return policy and make sure it has multiple ways to be contacted in case there’s a problem. An Internet search that combines the company’s name with the word “scam” also can be illuminating.