Personal Finance

How to Get Help if You’ve Been Scammed

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If you feel like a company you paid for a service that they did not deliver on, the best place to start to resolve the issue is to contact the company directly. If you’ve tried repeatedly to get your issue resolved by sending an email or leaving voicemail and that’s not getting any attention, send a letter by some traceable means that provides you with proof of delivery. A signature or name of who signed for it is even more beneficial.

Send your letter through the post office by certified mail, return receipt requested—that’s the least expensive method. When the letter is signed for, you will get back a green postcard showing when it was received and who signed for it. You may also decide to send your letter by FedEx or some other express mail service to get additional attention.

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Keep the delivered proof with a copy of the letter you sent in a safe place. You’ll probably need it later if you have to escalate your dispute.

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In your letter, give the company 14 days to respond, keep a friendly tone, and state what your issue is and the resolution you would like to receive. There is no need to be mean or nasty in this letter.

Let the company know that if they fail to respond, you will escalate the matter to state and federal officials but you want to come to a win-win outcome that is good for both you and reasonable for the company.

Sometimes a company will come back with a refund offer to help remedy the dispute. While the refund offer may not be for the full amount you feel you deserve, only you can determine if the partial refund provides you with a satisfactory outcome and not left feeling cheated.

You don’t have to accept less than what you are owed, but there must be a cost-benefit determination to figure out if more time, pressure, and escalation on your part is going to result in a better outcome for you.

If the company does not respond or you feel it is insufficient, you can escalate your claim to your State Attorney General, the Better Business Bureau, your local consumer affairs office or other enforcement office. You can find a listing of all consumer protection offices online here.

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If you’ve been ripped off or have a complaint about a company that has taken your money or made you promises for a loan or was selling you some money saving service, credit repair, or debt help and just hasn’t delivered—there are plenty of places to file a complaint in hopes of getting help.

But you may want to consider filing an online report using the scam report and consumer complaint submission form.

This free service is unique as compared to other online complaint portals in that if companies that are the subject of a filed complaint are contacted and asked to respond directly to your complaint.

The goal of a consumer complaint using this service is to create a conduit for a solution.

Without a doubt, the effective route to a resolution is to be levelheaded, persistent, and do what you can to work with the company first. Give them a chance to do the right thing. Your documentation that you tried and they did not want to assist you in resolving the dispute will come in handy if you later file your complaint elsewhere.

While this guide is written more for people that feel cheated by a debt relief company, the detailed step-by-step refund directions are still good for almost any dispute.

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This article was contributed by GetOutOfDebt.org, the original article can be found here: Have You Been Scammed or Ripped Off? How to Get Help and Get The Problem Resolved.

Image: resakse, via Flickr.com

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  • linda dugmore

    i applied for a loan in may iwas charged two amounts i did not expect i have not heard from them i have tried writing phoning and emailing them i have bad credit history so thought id try this company on the internet

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  • http://google mary sutliff

    Hi
    I am being called by a man named Allen Cooper of Benjamin and Assoc. He is a skammed artist and says I owe 895.00 on a loan in which I did not take out. American cash advance is the companys name his phone number is 5042982409 from New Orleans Louisiana. Beware people do not answer your ohone. He is on the internet as a fraud. What do I do. mary

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