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Amerimark “Passport to Health” Scam
At the beginning of January I ordered a seat cushion from a company called Amerimark. I got the cushion. It was fine. I'm sitting on it now. But a little over a month later I was looking at my credit card statement, and I noticed that in addition to the charge for the cushion, Amerimark had posted a second charge three weeks later for $3.99. I had no idea what the additional charge could be for. I asked my wife about it. She didn't know either. But I figured it must be postage, or something like that, so I didn't think any more about it. After all, it was only $3.99.

But today I was looking at my credit card statement online, and I noticed that Amerimark had recently posted a third charge to my account, this time for $29.99. Now I decided to call Amerimark to find out what these charges were for. I reached a customer service rep who told me I had subscribed to their "Passport to Health" program.

Suddenly I remember. I had received a sales call from Amerimark back in mid-January trying to get me to sign up for their "Passport to Health" program. I told them I wasn't interested and thought that was the end of it. But they had my credit card information since I bought the cushion from them, so apparently they signed me up for it anyway.

The customer rep told me that the charges were in error and that he would cancel them immediately.

But after I hung up with him, I decided to google Amerimark, and I discovered I'm not the only person who has been "mistakenly" signed up for the "Passport to Health" program. They're pulling this scam on a regular basis.

"Passport to Health" appears to be a program that offers no (or very few) benefits, except the benefit of getting charged $29.99 every month (the first month is only $3.99). The really slimy part is that many of their customers are elderly people who may be less likely to look carefully at their credit card statements, so they never notice they're being charged $29.99 every month.

For instance, 800notes.com has an entire message board full of people complaining that they were ripped off by Amerimark. One person describes how they've been "charging my 87-year old mother $29.99 a month for 'Passport To Health' that she supposedly signed up for in April '07 when they called to 'make sure her Amerimark mail order arrived safely.'"

In addition, Tom from California has posted a report on ripoffreport.com describing how he was subscribed to the "Passport to Health" program after his wife bought a pair of shoes from Amerimark.

I didn't trust Amerimark to actually credit back what they had billed me, so I called my credit card company (Bank of America) to contest the charges. While I was on the phone with the billing dispute department, I described how Amerimark was scamming elderly people, and I urged Bank of America to do something, like stop accepting charges from Amerimark. But the service rep just gave me the run-around and didn't promise to do anything.

So I'm posting about it here to help spread the word. Hopefully if someone is considering making a purchase from Amerimark, they might come across this post and decide to shop elsewhere.

In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out who else I can report Amerimark to. The FTC? Better Business Bureau? I want to bring this company down.

Update: I checked out AmeriMark's listing on the Better Business Bureau's site. It turns out that the BBB has already received a lot complaints about them (I filed one more), and particularly about their Passport to Health program. The BBB page about AmeriMark notes:

Many complaints processed by the BBB concern confusion over the company's membership renewal policy in the Passport to Savings program and the Passport to Health program (formerly known as Family Health Network program). Many consumers claim they are not aware that the company automatically bills their accounts for the renewal fee unless they notify them to cancel. Many of these consumers complain that they were not aware that they had been enrolled in the program. The company has responded to these complaints by canceling the membership and issuing refunds. In January 2005, the Cleveland BBB met with company representatives. The company has indicated its willingness to work to correct the cause of consumer misunderstanding concerning enrollment and cancellation of these programs.

Apparently AmeriMark's meeting with the BBB didn't have much impact on the company, because they're still working the same old scam.
Business/Finance
Posted by The Curator on Tue Feb 26, 2008


Thanks for the post. I always enjoy reading your blog.

Keep'em coming more frequently.

Best!
Posted by upload and earn  in  pakistan  on  Sun May 15, 2011  at  02:59 AM
Think about it Ameri-Mark, American Mark. Mark is a victim lol this is funny
Posted by Provailen  on  Thu Jul 14, 2011  at  12:22 PM
Do Not purchase from Dr. Leonard's Healthcare Corp. OR Carol Wright Gifts. Catalog OR web sites. They will use your contact information to contact you with offers for bullshit "programs". These "programs" are a rip off. You are told that you can cancel but they hope you forget about it and they can continue to charge your debit/credit card. They PREY upon the elderly and disabled.
Sales reps are hounded to use High pressure sales techniques to Badger customers to the point of anger before ending the call. The reps are threatened with losing their jobs if they don't make sales "Quotas".
This company makes MORE money from ripping people off with these "programs" than they do from catalog sales.
The products in the catalog can be found at most Dollar General, Dollar, and Wal-Mart stores for the same price! You pay LESS because you don't have to pay SHIPPING AND HANDLING.
The BIG BONUS is that these stores won't call you and try to sell you something you don't want or need.
Programs they push are : Passport to Health (Better and cheaper supplemental plans available from a licensed insurance agent)
ID Alert (Life Lock is cheaper and is TWICE the Coverage)
Why am I telling you this? I worked there. It challenged the ethics and morality my parents and grand parents raised me with and thoroughly disgusted me at the GREED that this company operates on.
Posted by Aone  on  Fri Sep 02, 2011  at  12:38 AM
Companies like this make my skin crawl. I received a phone call this evening trying to sell me their health insurance. I purchased earrings from them, which does not give them permission to solicit me for an insurance product. The person calling confirmed he was not a licensed insurance agent. I am pretty sure he wanted to crawl into his shoes when I informed him that I am an insurance agent. Needless to say, I will never purchase another item from an AmeriMark company. I have told them to remove me from any and all contact lists. It is business practices like that of AmeriMark that gives people like me a bad name. I can only hope they go out of business. They make it easy for companies like Amazon to dominate Internet business.
Posted by Alania Sheeley  in  Nashville, TN  on  Thu Mar 29, 2012  at  08:39 PM
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