Recently, we have received many comments from our users in India who regularly read our posts that for quite some time now, many are falling trap to TeleMarketing fraud and cheating being run by some companies who are having online stores as well as tele sales.
What exactly is this fraud / cheating?
Here is how the whole system works :
You buy something from their online store and one fine morning you receive a call from them : Sir / Madam – You have won our lucky draw contest and you are eligible for an amazing gift. They will send you a link to the items won and will also tell you that you can get all these items by just paying “shipping and handling charges”. Like they will say you have won items worth Rs. 20000 / 30000 / 40000 or any other amount. The amount is usually very huge. Then they will say you just need to pay “shipping and handling charges”, which they mention as anywhere from around Rs. 500 / 1000 / 2000 etc or any such small amount.
Once they convince you they say there are two options to pay either online link (where usually the full amount is mentioned). They say if you pay online, the full amount will first be charged to your credit card. After 72 hours, the amount will be refunded back to your credit card. Or you also have the option to pay via their IVR system. If you pay via IVR only the “shipping and handling charges” will be charged. Actually that does not happen. Even via IVR the full amount is deducted. When you confront the tele-sales executive, he/she will immediately say that the remaining amount will be refunded back within 72 hours and he/she will call you up till a point the amount has been refunded in to your account. They will call you a couple of times and say “this offer is only for a limited time” and you need to decide immediately.
Soon, you have fallen trap. They will say, once the amount is charged, you will receive a call from their “Verification Department”. The “Verification Department” is not aware of this contest and they will mention the full price for the product. You will need to say “Yes” to what the “Verification Department” says and once verified, the remaining amount charged to your credit card will be refunded back within 72 hours. Now there is no going back!!! Your money is now gone…
This is a clear case of cheating and fraud being run by this company. If you complaint soon after the “Verification Department” calls, they will coolly say that “Why did you verify if you were not sure of the transaction?”. When you say that this is what the marketing / sales executive had mentioned while calling you, they say there is no such “contest or lucky draw” and now you need to buy the products and once a verification is done you cant cancel the order nor is there a refund policy.
Now you are trapped! What next?
There is really no option. If you call them they will say nothing can be done. But soon one person will call you up and say the only option they can provide is that though no refund is possible you can buy any other products from them worth the amount charged.
This in reality is a marketing fraud being run by the telemarketing / online store. But you easily fall trap to them because it is associated with a very reputed company and you will never in your life imagine that this / these companies would be involved in such a fraud and cheating.
What precautions can I take?
- Most people are trapped because they believe something like this exists. You should refrain from such “luck draw / contest” calls in the first place.
- MOST IMPORTANT. Never share your credit card details. They will insist that you provide them with CVV number of your card while going via the IVR system. Say no to that.
- What many users have suggested and done is as soon as they call, start your mobile voice recorder. Record the entire conversation. Hence, even though the company can escape from the fact that once verification has been done from their end nothing can be done by them, you can register a case of Fraud and Cheating against the “Tele Marketing Executive” for false information provided by him / her. Once a case is registered and the voice recording is provided, the police / court would verify the voice recordings as well as may conduct voice verification with all employees. A case can be registered against the TeleMarketing Executive under various sections of Indian Penal Code and Indian Contract Act.
Spread the word. If for any reason you have fallen trap and are currently fighting – do share your experience under comments below and spread this link to everyone else. Also if you have taped / recorded the conversation upload it for others to hear how they trap un-suspecting people and take advantage of their parent company’s brand image.
Prevent others from falling trap and comment and spread the word to your friends circle.