Photo: katybate via flickr
Recent news of Discover’s shady marketing practices should make consumers wary of enrolling in a financial service by phone. According to the Consumer Financial Bureau, who ordered the bank to cough up $200 million in restitution to more than 3.5 million cardmembers, the bank allegedly sold payment protection, credit tracking and identity theft services without its customers’ consent.
Telemarketers allegedly followed shady scripts in which they breezed through terms of agreements and kept mum on product prices. The CFPB said some consumers weren’t even aware they were enrolled in these add-ons until they spotted a funny charge on their monthly bill.
To avoid a similar headache and safeguard your wallet, follow these tips from Bethy Hardeman, writer and spokesperson for CreditKarma:
1. Confirm that there is no monthly charge for the product, today or in the future.
2. Ask the agent for his or her name. Record this information along with the date and time of the phone call.
3. Get the program details in writing (via email or postal mail).
If you still aren’t sold on the product, then hang up the phone.
“Reiterate that you are only looking for information, and that you would like to either be sent information in the mail, or be directed to a webpage where you can read up on the services available to you,” says Odysseas Papadimitriou, credit expert and founder of Evolution Finance.
Sometimes it pays to read the fine print yourself.
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