I promised to tell you about my encounter with Privacy Matters. While balancing my checkbook, I noticed two charges for $14.95 made on the 5th of two consecutive months. There was an 800 number listed on the statement so I called the number. The conversation went something like this. I wish I could have recorded it:
Me: Hi, I am calling about a couple charges made to my checking account by your company. I never signed up for anything with your company, and I think it may be identity theft or some sort of fraud.
Privacy Matters: Let me check my records… It shows that Elizabeth signed up for our service through Vista Print.
Me: Mister Int? What?
Privacy Matters: VIS TA PRINT
Me: I can’t understand you, is that a person’s name?
Privacy Matters: No, Vista Print is a company. V-I-S-T-A P-R-I-N-T.
Me: What do they do?
Privacy Matters: I don’t know, sir.
Me: Well, anyway, we never signed up for your services, so please cancel my account and reverse the charges.
Privacy Matters: I will be happy to cancel your membership, and refund the most recent charge. I can’t reverse the second charge because it was made too long ago.
Me: Well, I am telling you that I never signed up for an account, why can’t you refund the charge?
Privacy Matters: Whether you used our service or not, it was still available for you at that time, and you still have to pay for it?
Me: Even if I didn’t sign up for your service?
Privacy Matters: Yes, sir.
Me: What service have I been getting for the past two months? What exactly do you do?
Privacy Matters: We provide… [I can't remember everything he said] …and identity theft protection for $20,000.
Me: Identity theft? That is what I am telling you must have happened to me. Why would someone sign up for an account with you in my name?
Privacy Matters: They didn’t, it was signed up in your wife’s name.
Me: I told you, my wife didn’t sign up for this. That is what identity theft is, when someone uses your name. Your company offers identity theft protection, and you don’t even know what identity theft is? You don’t believe your customers when they tell you identity theft occurs?
Privacy Matters: It shows in our records that Elizabeth signed up through Bistec.
Me: I am telling you that if that is true, it was fraud. Does this happen often? Why would someone sign up with your company in my name? What would that person gain from doing that?
Privacy Matters: Nothing.
Me: So if I didn’t sign up for an account with you, and it is unlikely that someone would sign up under my name, the only person who is gaining anything out of this transaction is you because you won’t refund the charges you made to my account. I have never received a letter, or an email, or anything from your company. It seems like a scam.
Privacy Matters: It is not a scam sir.
Me: Then refund my money.
Privacy Matters: I can’t do that, sir.
Me: Let me talk to your manager.
Privacy Matters: He can’t help you, either.
Me: Either this was identity theft, or you are scamming me. Either way, I am going to report this to my bank, and they will investigate it. If I have to, I will file charges against you. Are you sure there is nothing you can do?
Privacy Matters: I will talk to my manager… [silence] …I explained the situation to my manager, and he authorized me to credit your account with the second charge. I have canceled your account. Is there anything else I can do for you?
Me: No. Thank you.
Privacy Matters did refund my money, but only after a great struggle. Later, I found out that Betsy made a purchase from vistaprint.com, but she never signed up for anything with Privacy Matters. I would suggest that you avoid both of these companies, just to be safe. If something like this happens to you, report it to your bank.