Jacquelyn Lynn - Online Consumer Advice and Commentary

Jacquelyn Lynn is a business writer whose dynamic books and insightful articles have been helping business owners and managers work smarter and more profitably for more than two decades. She is the author of Entrepreneur’s Almanac, Online Shopper’s Survival Guide and co-author of Make Big Profits on eBay, as well as a regular contributor to Entrepreneur magazine. For more information and for the link to her business blog, visit www.jacquelynlynn.com.

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Location: Central Florida

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Consumer fraud tip: small recurring credit card charges

Here’s another reason for always examining your credit card statements completely and promptly: those small recurring credit card charges for products and/or services you may not even realize you’ve purchased.

These charges are easy to overlook because they’re small—typically $9.95, $14.95, $19.95. When the account is held by a couple, often the one who pays the bills just figures the spouse made the charge.

The charges may be the result of a pop-up offer on the internet, a telemarketing call, or what you may have thought was a free offer for something. Companies that do this often operate just barely within the law, or they are outright fraudsters. Though small, the charges can add up over time. If you don’t dispute them within the timeframe required by your credit card company, it’s likely that you won’t be able to get a refund.

What can you do? Review your credit card statements thoroughly as soon as they arrive. Better yet, check your statements online. If you see a charge you don’t recognize, don’t just assume someone else in your family authorized it—find out for sure. And if the charge is not correct, immediately dispute it. Beyond this, take care when accepting online offers and be sure you know exactly what you are agreeing to. Understand the company’s cancellation policies and be sure you follow their requirements precisely.

Jacquelyn Lynn


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