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Dead Body of Loch Ness Monster Found, 1972
Samsung invents the on/off switch
Man flies by own lung power, 1934
war of the worlds
The night Martians invaded New Jersey, 1938
The Cottingley Fairies, 1917
Rare planetary alignment decreases gravity, 1976
The disumbrationist art hoax, 1924
The Cradle of the Deep, a literary hoax, 1929
Jernegan's Gold Accumulator Scam, 1898
The Stone-Age Tasaday Hoax, 1971
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.
Categories: Business/Finance
Posted by The Curator on Tue Feb 26, 2008
Comments (64)
I couldn't agree more. That's just what I was thinking.
Posted by yellow croaker  on  Mon Aug 04, 2008  at  10:52 PM
I wanted to buy from them. Thanks for the warning. Now I shall not be.
Posted by Bruce  in  US  on  Fri Aug 08, 2008  at  05:14 AM
What an awful company! As you say their biggest targets are probably old people and that is really sick. Those people are living off low pensions and can't afford to lose money to scammers. I can't believe even after you said "no" to their passport to health program, they still signed you up. Low lifes. I hope it's a good cushion! LOL
Posted by Catherine  in  Mosman, NSW, Australia  on  Wed Aug 13, 2008  at  04:14 AM
I just found this charge on my credit card statement. $29.99 has been charged to my account since June 2008. I do get almost all of the catalogs mentioned above. I have ordered from them, but did not know or talk to anyone about a membership of any kind (which I would have declined, of course). I had to call the company to find out who the charge was from. The recording said 'Passport to Health', so I started searching for it on the web. Not until I actually typed in AmeriMark did anything come up. That is how I found this site.

My question is how do we report it to the attorny general? I live in Colorado, but registered to vote in Texas. Which state do I use?
Posted by DRyan  in  Fort Carson, Colorado  on  Sat Sep 20, 2008  at  07:01 PM
DRyan -- I'm not sure what state you should use. Or whether it would fall under federal jurisdiction. I think this is how Amerimark continues to get away with what it's doing... because it's difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to challenge them in court.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Mon Sep 22, 2008  at  01:14 PM
Submit those guys to your attorney general, that is a total scam!
Posted by YOR Health  on  Mon Dec 22, 2008  at  07:33 PM
My mother's been victimized twice in as many years by this. The first time, we wrote to VISA about our findings of this scam, and she was credited with some of the money she lost.

Just yesterday, I discovered that she had, again, fallen victim to the AmeriMark jackasses. I instructed her to call them and dispute the charges (nearly $500 since it began again).

She said they were very polite and would refund $179.94, the last six charges. We'll see if that really happens, but in the meantime, we'll be sending VISA another letter, requesting they credit the remaining $213.92 she was charged.

The number she called is 866-345-4401.
Posted by RK  in  West Virigina  on  Fri Dec 26, 2008  at  11:26 AM
You should report them to your state Attorney General's office.

I second that motion!
Posted by shelly  on  Thu Jan 22, 2009  at  10:47 PM
I happen to be an employee that pitches the Passport to Health and Passport to Savings program. While I can see how some would not receive benefits from it. Our calls are monitored and we do state clearly that cards will be charged 29.99 a month with an automatic renewal and also must ask a consent question and receive a clear yes on the program. It is strictly monitored in my opinion and we also do in fact do our best to credit back refunds if a customer decides they do not want the program. I personally loathe having to pitch the program, but it is required for us to pitch and we are very clear about the program and the cost of it.
Posted by Annoyed  on  Fri Jan 23, 2009  at  09:32 PM
My 86 year old parents were also ripped off more than $800 by Amerimark. Thank you Cititbank for reimbursing them. PLEASE, if you were scammed, follow-up with the Ohio Attorney General's office. You can do it online, and here is the link:

http://www.ag4ohio.gov/Public/consumer.aspx?s=209

You will need to know this:

AmeriMark Direct, L.L.C.
Phone: 800-8000200

6864 Engle Road
Cleveland, Ohio, 44130
U.S.A.

I even got a call from the office. PLEASE DO IT!
Posted by Shammy  in  San Antonio  on  Fri May 08, 2009  at  06:58 PM
I agree with Elizabeth too.
Posted by Lida  on  Wed May 20, 2009  at  04:19 AM
I understand being upset when you are coerced and harassed. But I work for the company and there is a specific script we must follow, and the person must say yes or okay to our question specifically asking if they want it. And then they have to verify their credit card number. Most people just forget they agree to it because they only do to get us off of the phone.
Posted by Employee  on  Thu Jul 09, 2009  at  01:02 PM
Employee: I can assure you I clearly said no when asked if I wanted to enroll in the passport-to-health program. And yet, I was enrolled in it anyway.

However, the call began by asking me to "verify" my name and address, to which I said yes.

So they had me on tape saying yes to something, and apparently they figured that was good enough to warrant signing me up.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Thu Jul 09, 2009  at  01:20 PM
Ahhh somebody may get the PASSPORT to Health (^_^)...
Posted by Diet Plan  on  Fri Jul 24, 2009  at  07:25 AM
I just got a bill from AmeriMark Permier and I don't know what is the item i got in the first place. I am looking all over the net to get my statement online and the costomer service didn't take my information some about integer--what the hell is that. I will be calling them on Monday and figure all this out. Thank you all for the warning about there spam.
J. Gargano
Posted by Gargano1965  in  Connecticut  on  Sun Sep 13, 2009  at  10:06 AM
Attorney General's office for sure!
Posted by Lisp Speech  on  Sat Oct 03, 2009  at  12:12 PM
Amerimark is not scamming anyone. I work for this company and pitch this program all day long. They do pitch it to the elderly, but they dont target them. The elderly call us. We offer them $50 in FREE CATALOG COUPONS for trying the program. They are FREE TO CANCEL AT ANY TIME DURING THE FREE TRIAL and NEVER BE CHARGED! Just because people sign up for the program for the free coupons, does not mean we are scamming anyone. They should remeber to cancel it, they can even cancel right when they get it and STILL GET TO KEEP THE COUPONS! All calls are recorded and monitored by supervisors. If we fail to mention ANY legel issues or disclaimers we are punished, and punished very strickly. Just because we are offering a FREE TRIAL PROGRAM does not give them the right to forget about it, we tell them THEY HAVE TO CALL AND CANCEL IF THEY DONT WANT TO BE CHARGED. They could simply just say no and recieve nothing at all and would have never been signed up. Get your stories stright people!
Posted by Clint Curry  in  Lincoln, NE  on  Tue Nov 03, 2009  at  05:18 PM
today they got me as well i just notified my bank.im so confussed they dont send any information you're just someone giving them money.
Posted by SHARRON EDMONDS  in  georgia  on  Tue Dec 22, 2009  at  05:25 PM
I don't actually work FOR Amerimark,I take orders for Carol Wright Gifts and Dr. Leonard's Healthcare and I pitch the Passport to Health Program.
This is the thing, just like the other reps have said; we have a set of VERY strict guidelines that we MUST follow when making the coupon/program trial offer.-Statements in quotations have to be given verbatim otherwise even if our customer wants the program, we won't send it)
We have inform the customer that the program is only free for the first '45 days from today' (the day they accept the offer) and that after that, if they don't call to cancel, their debit or credit card is billed the program price which is '$29.99 each month with an automatic renewal'.
We also inform our customers that they are welcome and ENCOURAGED to 'call and cancel the program at ANY time within those first 45 days and never be billed.'
AND we give our customers the phone number to call and cancel as well as letting them know that it IS in the information packet in several places, and that they are welcome to call and cancel as soon as the same day that their information and coupons arrive if they want to.
After we go through ALL of that information, we MUST ask the customer if it's okay to send them the passport to health 'packet/program/membership' and coupons, and we have to get a clear 'yes', 'ok', 'that's fine', etc.
AND THEN we ask the customer to verify the last four digits of the card that they used for the order to remind them which card would be used if they kept the program. After that, we remind them AGAIN that 'the account will be charged monthly unless you call to cancel'. And let the customer know when they will get their packet and what it looks like.
If we don't obey the compliance guidelines, a.k.a. give those statements in quotations verbatim, they don't send the packet out, we don't get any credit for the sale, and if it happens more than a couple of times, we get fired.
The thing is that customers DON'T LISTEN, and I understand, it's a big, long, boring pitch, but Why on Earth would you agree to something involving your charge card if you don't understand/weren't paying attention.
And in the end, if a customer forgets to cancel or doesn't remember accepting it and ends up being charged, all they have to do is call us back and let Cust.Svc know that they didn't actually WANT the program, we'll happily refund the customer for each month they were charged and cancel the program so they don't get billed again.
So yeah...It's a stupid program, not everyone can use it, and it's really expensive to continue it after the trial, but we do let our customers everything they need to know about the program, we try to MAKE SURE that they comprehend and want the program. AND in the end we refund them if they forget to cancel and actually get billed!
There's no 'rip-off' on our part here, just inattention and over-reaction on some of our customers' part.
Posted by PayAttention  in  Nebraska Call Center  on  Tue Jan 19, 2010  at  03:36 AM
Keep in mind that the people on the other end of the phone are only as good as the ethic that manages them. We all seem to find fault in the process but we all fail to do due diligence on the job but love to point the finger elsewhere - the program is not a scam but most likely the person who took the call would be better off on welfare...oops that would put skill and conscience and other like kind attributes ahead of what you like to drink after hours and listen to on the radio
Posted by B Better  on  Mon Feb 08, 2010  at  09:48 PM
I also pitch the Passport to Health program. And would like to add to the comment about how the problem is that people just don't listen to us. Also when the charge comes up on their charge card, the 800 number to cancel is ON that statement. So how it gets past the first charge is again people not paying attention. And we do in fact credit back these charges if we are asked to do so!
Posted by Employee  on  Wed Feb 10, 2010  at  01:28 PM
if you are from a liberal state like NY with an "activist" Attorney General like Andrew Cuomo that's where to report it.
Posted by nedenleri  in  spain  on  Wed Feb 24, 2010  at  05:02 AM
Thanks for the information. It is necessary to take into consideration.
Posted by Leonid  in  Russia  on  Sat Feb 27, 2010  at  10:47 AM
Thanks for the information.
Posted by 3khomebase  on  Wed Mar 17, 2010  at  05:04 AM
Is their "Passport to Health" program works? How about results?
Posted by Dave  in  NY  on  Wed Mar 17, 2010  at  06:05 PM
Go to the press and reveal their hoax, people will notice and stop buying from Amerimark. With news out, All relevant authorities will jump to tackle this issue.
Posted by rickkgoh  on  Mon Mar 22, 2010  at  04:25 AM
the great post on Passport to Health program. The government is doing great job and hope they will continue.
Posted by Akash Patel  in  india  on  Mon Apr 05, 2010  at  02:08 PM
In solidarity with many here speak. With this kind of fraud must be combated by all possible methods and means. Otherwise, they will enjoy our inaction and to continue to deceive other people.
Posted by Merkuriya  in  Ukraine  on  Tue Apr 20, 2010  at  02:07 PM
Hopefully by posting about it here, more people will take note and realise whether this is happening to them or not. Many people probably wouldn't consider searching online and looking up all the forums and things.
Posted by Biber Hapi  in  Turkey  on  Fri Apr 23, 2010  at  06:58 AM
I ordered a pair of shoes from Amerimark. I noticed that 29.99 had been taken out of my checking account the last two months. I was told by Amerimark that a few days after my order was placed they called with the health care plan. I told them this never happened and I wanted my name removed and to put the money back into my checking account. That was yesterday. This morning the money has been returned.
Posted by Ron  in  Ohio  on  Wed Apr 28, 2010  at  09:31 AM
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