'Passport to Fun' program not so fun for customers

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by Chris Nagus

KMOV.com

Posted on May 18, 2011 at 10:55 PM

Updated Thursday, May 19 at 11:07 AM

This next story will have you checking your credit card statement twice.
And it isn’t one of those “it can’t happen to me stories.”

If you have ever bought something online, off TV or the radio, you could be paying for something you don’t want. And it’s possible it started with a free trial membership.

Michelle Glaenzer of St. Charles had never heard of Passport to Fun until she discovered they were billing her $22.95 a month for something she didn’t want.

The company had been charging her since 2007 and almost a thousand dollars.

Kevin Jordan of St. Louis County also was also involuntarily signed up for Passport to Fun, a program that offers cash back on gift card purchases.

Jordan, who previously got ripped off by a company in Maine that was selling grocery coupons, says the same telemarketers signed him up for Passport to Fun, and it’s something he doesn’t want to pay for.

The Better Business Bureau in Nebraska has heard about the cash back reward program, which is owned by a company called Vertrue.

Even the Iowa Attorney General is familiar with Passport to Fun because his office sued the company for deceptive practices, and Vertrue was ordered to pay nearly 33 million dollars.

The company runs all kinds of promotional programs, but the one that is getting the most popularity is Passport to Fun.

After a News 4 Investigation, Glaenzer discovered she got signed up for the program after she purchased the Yoga Booty Ballet from an unrelated company that offered a free trial membership for Passport to Fun.

She was also issued a $971 refund.

As for Jordan’s experience with Passport to Fun, Vertrue says it has no affiliation with the Maine telemarketer who sold phony grocery cards.

The lesson from this News 4 Investigation: Check your credit card bills, and if you’re offered a free trial for something you really don’t want, decline because it could cost a whole lot of money in the long run.
 

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