Entertainment Coupon Books. I'm sure all of us - of a certain age - remember them as staples of the 80s. Sold as fundraisers by the band, drama club, PTA, church groups - they were chockful of coupons entitling the holder to free food, BOGOs, hotel discounts, etc. The buyer of the book got boatloads of local deals, the seller got the kick back from the company.
Fast forward to 2011, they are still stuffed with bargains, covering more cities, areas, regions than ever before, and still being hawked by clubs in need of raising funds.
Personally, I have never bought one.
That doesn't mean I have not received one. Many. I am now up to 18.
None of which I ordered.
The latest batch showed up via UPS last night - 12 books covering Puget Sound (North AND South), Rochester, NYC, Austin, Buffalo, Seattle, Vancouver, Long Island, Albany, the and the Mid Hudson Valley.
Ordered by someone I do not know. Charged to someone's credit card I do not know. The invoice containing the phone number of a Linda Sharp in another part of Austin. (Thank you Google.)
I write this as a warning to everyone.
Three months ago, when I received the first shipment of 6, I also stumbled onto the fact that although I had not been charged for THOSE books, someone had used my credit card and rung up $630 in fraudulent charges for books sent elsewhere.
When I contacted the Entertainment Book company, they were less than helpful. Less than interested. Frankly could not have cared less that they were quite obviously a mechanism of fraud - and my guess is, a frequent one. In fact, the girl I spoke to said, "Oh yeah, we flagged that as a possible fraudulent order."
Yet they still took the money, shipped the books, and added to their bottom line.
So here we are three months later and the cycle continues. I have checked and it does not appear my cards have been used to buy this order, but my fear is that in the great circle of fraud that seems to be rampant, I will get hit again. Last time I had to cancel my card, have a new one reissued, and wait while Wells Fargo investigated. JUST LAST WEEK I finally received the letter that the claim had been settled in my favor.
Yes, I have attempted to contact the Entertainment Book company today - of course, they are closed for the holidays. I have emailed their Customer Service and will hopefully get further down the path on this on Monday.
I am angry. While I have not had money stolen this time, someone has. And some piece of shit out there - probably a whole human cesspool of shit - sits in a room with a list of stolen credit cards, names, and phone numbers and does this crap all day long.
Be warned. If you receive any of these books and have not ordered them, you are now most likely caught in the circle of fraud, along with your credit card #.
I am NOT Entertained.