Complaint: I was looking for a pdf download of a Shimano Bicycle reference document, no longer available from Shimano’s website. A google search led me to the Mediaop website, which showed a preview of the document I was searching. This looked okay, as there was a resemblence to the document I wanted, so I chose to proceed. Clicking on the download button opened another page with a message stating: ‘You need to signup to read Please create a free account at Mediaop to access unlimited downloads and streaming’ Note the use of the word ‘FREE’ Next steps involved registering name, email address etc. and you are then told that you need to submit your credit card details for address verification. The next page that opens reveals that the site is not free, but you can have a free trial for a certain time period before your credit card will be debited. After choosing to proceed with the free trial, it is revealed that the pdf does not exist on their servers! It then became apparent that his site was deliberately and fraudulently mining searches to deceive people into registering and providing credit card details on their website. My next step was to cancel and close the account, so that my credit card would not be debited by these SCAMMERS. The cancellation page told me that my credit card would be debited $1 if I chose to do this online, or that I could telephone them on the number provided to cancel the account for free. Naturally I chose to phone them, as there was no way I was going to allow these SCAMMERS to receive any money for their fraudulent activity! The phone call went through, and I received an email from Mediaop confirming cancellation of the account, and contained the wording ‘You will receive no further charges’. Next day, I saw a debit on my CC statement for $1 – what the? Naturally, I telephoned my credit card company to block any further charges and to chargeback the $1. To clarify, at no point anywhere in the process did I authorise any payments of any amount to these SCAMMERS. On principle, I will not be allowing this outfit to deduct any funds from my CC account – everything about their conduct has been based on deceptive claims and practises. Why this is a scam: This company is conducting a deliberate and pre-meditated fraud by mining searches to make you think that you can download a document which they do not have available on their servers. They trick you into thinking it is a free service when it isn’t. They then make it inconvenient for you to cancel their service for free. This site is not about providing anything for free – it is a deliberate SCAM to harvest money from your credit card account if you (unwisely) choose not to cancel your account. How could this be corrected: Relevant authorites such as the Better Business Bureau in the US should investigate the operations of this outfit with a view to shutting them down. Failing 1. above, make it clear up front that the document requested is not provided by their service. Make it clear that this service is not free – it is a paid service. Make it clear up front that there is a cancellation charge. I live in Australia, and unfortunately, am unable to invoke the Fair Credit Billing Act against these SCAMMERS. Most folks would let a $1 go – but this is such a deliberate and pre-meditated SCAM which will likely harvest a lot of money over the long term for the SCAMMERS behind this operation.

Tags: Internet Fraud

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