Human Services Spotlight Series #11
Complainant Gets His Money Back
In October 2018, the complainant made a $10,000 credit card payment to a business owner for a strategy methods presentation. The presentation was to be scheduled within a couple of weeks of the payment’s being made. The complainant requested a specific well-known and respected presenter with a high level of subject matter expertise. Because of internal conflicts within the business, the requested presenter left the company shortly afterwards. The new management offered a less experienced presenter to the complainant who refused and asked for a full refund.
The business owner (subject) explained to the complainant the financial difficulties they were currently experiencing and agreed to refund the full payment by Christmas. The subject asked the complainant not to dispute the charge with his credit card company because doing so would jeopardize the subject’s merchant account. The complainant agreed and decided to allow the subject until Christmas to refund the total payment. The complainant never received the promised refund.
The complainant and the subject remained in contact regarding the promised refund until October 2019. The subject would consistently promise to refund the money as soon as business improved. The complainant was willing to accept a payment plan but the subject never followed through with his promises. The time for the complainant to dispute the charge with his credit card company also passed. After losing patience with the subject and tiring of broken promises, the complainant contacted Pinellas County Consumer Protection.
The consumer protection investigator contacted the subject. The subject told the investigator the company was still experiencing financial difficulties. He also said he had a couple of services scheduled and hoped he would be able to refund the complainant soon. The subject said he would contact the complainant to set up a payment plan. Soon afterwards, the complainant contacted the investigator to say a payment plan was in place with payments beginning the next month. The parties were able to reach an agreement because of the investigator’s efforts.
Protect – Regulate – Investigate – Educate
Sometimes, it is hard to spot fraud when it is happening. Scams can be large or small, sophisticated or simple, but the people behind them have two things in common: They want to steal your money and avoid being caught. The reality is anyone could fall victim to a scam, no matter your age, intellect or economic status. Most consumer transactions are completed satisfactorily. On occasion, however, any consumer could experience unresolved problems such as defective products, erroneous bills or nondelivery of goods or services.
When you are confronted with such a situation, the dedicated employees of Pinellas County Consumer Protection are here to help you. Investigators are available to speak with you regarding a consumer transaction at (727) 464-6200 or email pinellascounty.org/consumer.