Please do not buy anything from [this company] and if you do, be very careful. This is my story of a very frustrating day I had yesterday that included 3 hours on the phone.
Yesterday I sat down to do some online banking, update checkbook and pay bills. I receive most of my bills online instead of on paper, so I must admit I have neglected really looking at them in detail. Well, big mistake. I just happed to thoroughly check out the charges on my credit card. I came across this weird 9.99 charge from a company called smartsavingscenter.com. Upon a little more research I noticed that this company has been deducting this 9.99 from my account since Sept 2007. It was just such a small charge, I guess it never threw up a red flag.
I called the company and asked what the charge was and how they got my credit card information. The first 10 minutes of the call the representative kept avoiding my question and insisted in telling what a great service I was getting with my membership. I finally had to get very rude and yell at him to tell me how this charge got on my credit card. He finally told me that when I purchased a movie in Sept 2006 (yes I said 2006, 1 ½ years ago) from HotMovieSale it automatically signed me up for a membership at SmartSavingsCenter.
I was so mad I thought my head was going to explode. I told him (in a very loud voice) that I never gave them permission to change anything on my card. And most importantly WHY would they start this so called membership charges 1 year after my purchase. I am sure they do this so people like me miss the charge until it has already cycled on your account a few times.
He told me that he would refund $30 of the $80 dollars they have deducted from my account. I told them that I had already talked to my credit card company and they are ready to dispute the charges, I just need to say the word to get the ball rolling. In addition I told them I was going to report them to the BBB and find some federal department that I can file a fraud report.
The representative put me on hold for a second time, then came back on the line and told me he would refund my entire $80. I asked for a cancellation number and a refund confirmation. I was told it would be e-mail to me in 24-48 hours. As of 10pm tonight I have not received any e-mail. I will give them to Monday, and if I don’t hear from them then jump back into this horrible situation with both feed.
I know this is long winded, but I wanted to inform everyone I can about this scam and hope I can save someone the trouble I had to go through.
Like the other reviews of this company I have read, I too just had this same experience today (06/April/2010). When checking my bank account online I discovered a charge for $9.95 from HotMovieSale.com for both March and April and could not figure out what they were for as I have never made a purchase from that company. I called the company to first of all be thanked for being a loyal customer. I explained that I have never bought anything from them. I was then told that when I attempted to order a movie from them in February (an order which was never filled as they did not even have the movie that was advertised) I had enrolled in some sort of "club" and that this membership which cost $9.95 a month was clearly stated at the time I placed the unfilled order. In return for my membership I had saved $5 on that movie. The movie that I never got! While they agreed to cancel my "membership" they refused to refund any of the charges to my account. Stay away from this company... they pull you into their trap by offering new DVD's at prices lower than anywhere else. In the process of getting your "bargain" you inadvertently get signed up for a wonderful program that will give you even MORE super discounts for just $9.95 per month!
Reputable websites make you click in a box that you agree to the terms of the deal BEFORE you are allowed to proceed. The website at HotMovieSale.com contains a reduced sized window within the primary page and tells you that by clicking below you can become a member of their club and get super bargains. The fine print about paying for this membership has been placed so far below the "join" button that the construction of the window makes it invisible. The fine print can only be seen if you notice the scroll down slider off to the side and pull the screen down. VERY INTENTIONALLY DESIGNED TO DECIEVE.
On April 7th, I filed complaints with both The Florida Attorney Generals Office and The Better Business Bureau of West Palm Beach Florida as HotMovieSale.com is located in Boca Raton. You can do the same at: www.bbbsoutheastflorida.org
UPDATE: Just for the heck of it I called HotMovieSale.com one more time and explained that I had just spent 45 minutes reading consumer complaints about their company and that I was on to their scam. I then told them that although I had already filed the above described complaints I would be willing to cancel them if my money was promptly returned. After being on hold no more than 30 seconds the agent came back to inform me that I would have the $19.90 back in my account in 7-10 days. I thanked her and asked for an e-mail confirming this decision and one was received. I don't have the money yet but I have no reason to doubt that it will arrive as promised. Maybe this is a good tactic to used to cut to-the-chase and get your money back? Let them know you are wise to their tactics and that you WILL take action. Give a try!
I responded to an add on this company's website (hotmoviesale.com) in December 2009 due to their low discount prices. I ordered a DVD because I could not find it anywhere else for the price they were selling. It also included a $5 discount for being a "first-time" customer.
My billing information was submitted and I received a confirmation email stating that my order had been received with the price of the DVD. There was a note on the email stating that the DVD I ordered was out of stock and gave a specific date for shipment. It also contained a statement that my credit card would not be billed until the item was actually shipped.
About a week later I was doing my online banking and discovered that a charge for $9.95 had been deducted from my credit card from this company. I went to the company's website to verify that my DVD had not been shipped. I discovered that the only charge appearing on my page was a $1.00 processing fee and the cost of the DVD--which was not $9.95.
I immediately tried calling Hot Movie Sale at the numbers provided on my confirmation email to get an explanation of the $9.95 charge. I was literally trapped in a voice mail "jail" for 2 days. Each time I would get menu option choices and after making my selection, I would be greeted with loud background music for 10 or 15 minutes. I would call back and choose another option--the same thing. I would call a third time and select the "operator" choice. The message would say that there is a high volume of calls and that I may want to call back or select an option to leave a message. After selecting that option, another recorded message would say that the mailbox is full!
I went back to the website and sent them an email ("support ticket")about the $9.95 charge. After waiting 2 weeks, I finally received their response (generic of course):
When I placed my order with them I joined a Best Brand Value Club for $19.95 a month. My first month included a "special promotion" for becoming a new member and that is why it was only $9.95.
The terms of my order was clearly stated at the left of the checkout screen informing me that this charge was going to be deducted from my credit card each month for membership.
I had 3 days to cancel my membership and, since I did not cancel the membership within that time period, the amount was deducted from my account.
I received an email from Best Brand Value welcoming me to their club and providing information on my membership benefits.
Of course, most of the statements in their response were not true. Although there is a statement in very small print that informs customers about the club plan, there is also an option to "skip" that offer and proceed to the checkout. If a customer skips the offer, they are still billed for the club membership.
In the meantime, I received an email every week "reminding" me that my DVD was on back order and that it would be shipped soon. The original shipment date was pushed back 2 weeks by the time I received my 4th reminder email.
I contacted Hot Movie Sale again and told them that I had not agreed to join any club and that the charges to my card were unauthorized. I never received an email from the Best Brand Value and that I had only received a confirmation and emails reminding me of my back ordered DVD. I requested a refund of the $9.95 refund and to cancel everything that I had ever ordered from them because I was not willing to wait any longer. I also told them I would report them to BBB. I received a reply back that they were going to refund my charges but so far I have not received anything.
I have reported this company to the Better Business Bureau and my state's Attorney General's office. This is a scam company and I want to say to everyone to be careful of company's such as this one that offers discount prices for DVDs and other entertainment.
DO NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM HOT MOVIE SALE!
BOCA RATON -- After going through my bank statements, I realized that hotmoviesale.com has been making withdraws from my bank account:
I called the 1-866-566-8437 and spoke with a very rude representative. She told me that last year I purchased three movies over the Internet, and that, when I accept the "terms of shipping and handling" when checking out, I got automatically enrolled in a monthly payment for a membership.
I am totally disappointed, and I feel that I got robbed $129.60.
This web page is design to deceive, to make you fall in the trap.
I asked for my refund, with no success; they just show themselves rude and indifferent, telling me that I should have read the entire page of terms and conditions.
They wear distracting me by pointing to the fact that I noticed the recurrent charges just now, and to the fact that I didn't read the terms and conditions. In other words, If you are lazy to go through all the page of terms and conditions, you will be screwed up.
This would never happen on a serious page like Amazon.com.
I was also told to expect the employees of this company to, in a passive manner, attack the bad reviews for this company posted in the Internet, making you look like a distracted idiot who deserves to get screwed up.
Please, don't buy from this company, I was a victim of hotmoviesale.com because I blindly agreed to the terms of the "membership" . I was not aware of what I was signing for, and I acted in good faith.
Hotmoviesale.com is a scam, they rip off your bank account and laugh at you when you call them!
They also go by the name Bbvhotmoviesale.com, and to get money out of your bank account, they use different names. Other name they use is HMS.
I ordered a DVD from HotMovieSale.com in December 2009. It was for a Christmas present for my Son. According to the information listed, it wasn't due for release until December 23. I was enticed to buy from them because they offered a $5 discount and free-shipping for first time buyers. The following week I received an e-mail notice that the video hadn't been sent yet. I continued to receive these notices for about a month. Finally I checked my HotMovieSale.com account to see if I could find any additional information as to why there was a hold-up. The account information stated that the order had been cancelled. I never received an e-mail or any explanation for why the order was cancelled. I then checked my checking account and found that I had been charged two payments of $9.95. The original price of the DVD I never received was $14.95 and I was astounded that I had already been charged $19.90 for a DVD that I will never see. I thought a mistake must have been made by the company but was shocked when they sent me an e-mail explaining that I had signed up for Best Brand Values and had agreed to pay a monthly fee. This is a blatant scam. Have you ever heard the old adage "read the fine print"? Well, obviously HotMovieSale.com/Best Brand Values is taking advantage of consumers by making a blatantly deceptive offer in which somewhere there is wording to the effect that there is a monthly charge. Then they don't send you the movie you ordered and they pocket the monthly charge money. I was lucky that I noticed this charge was coming out of my account and after receiving this latest e-mail from HotMovieSale.com/Best Brand Values, I cancelled my membership. Honestly, I had never even heard of Best Brand Values until they told me I had signed up for a monthly membership. I certainly read things (I thought) very carefully before signing up for anything. Unfortunately, I wasn't expecting such a scam from a video retailer. The information is there. But it is not made obvious to the consumer. It is very deceptive. This is just a warning to anyone who is considering buying anything from this company. Read the fine print.
I ordered a movie in December 2010 and evidently accepted free shipping in exchange for the right to bill be $19.95 per month for the next year. I tried to call the company, HOT MOVIE SALE. COM and could not get past the "push 1 for English" section. No matter what I pushed, I could not get past this section to get a human. So, I called my credit card company, AMEX, who said they would dispute the charges. I did this every month for 5 months. After 5 months AMEX sent me a letter stating the company provided a contract saying that I agreed to pay $19.95 per month. so AMEX was going to return $100 to the company and put it on my bill. I called the company HOTMOVIESALE. COM and finally got through. They ABSOLUTELY said I could get none of my money back because I contacted the card company before I contacted them. Well, I had no idea who was billing me...I HAD to cantact the card company first to find out where I was getting billed from. So far I have paid $135 for one movie and it appears HOTMOVIESALE. COM offers no recourse. DO NOT DEAL WITH THIS COMPANY!!!!!!!!! Who would accept $5 saving on shipping for the right to pay $240 per year. It is obviously a HUGE ripoff! I never received ANY notification from the company that I was being billed.
BOCA RATON, FLORIDA -- Bought a DVD for $3.48 (includes the $5 discount) on April 2009. Unknowingly, I was signed up for their SMART SAVINGS CENTER membership and charged $12 per month until I noticed the charges on Sep 2010. Since I was not the primary person responsible for this account, I did not noticed it before. Called immediately and was offered a 2 month refund, and after continuing to request a full refund, they offered to send my case to their refund department, who issued me an additional month of refund a week later, but said I did not "qualify" for more. Even after membership cancellation, they continue to charge my account. They are total scammers!
What to do if you are scammed?
Step 1 - Call immediately and request the maximum refund (90 days)
Step 2 - Call your credit card company and request a stop of any charges coming from these scammers. These are considered disputes and will automatically be charge backs to the Company, which cost them $$$
Step 3 - File complaints to BBB in FL, FTC Consumer Protection, Attorney General Office in FL (look for the open case)
Step 4 - Lesson learned - buy from reputable merchants
I promised to tell as many people as I could about my experience, so here's a copy of the final email I sent to hotmoviesale.com:
On May 22, I was charged 1.00 to my account. On May 25, I was charged 13.54 - this I expected as it was the total cost of the DVD I had ordered. On May 28, I was charged 9.95. When I saw the charges on my account today, I called to inquire about the last. It was at that time that I learned that when I placed my order - I had begun a fee-based membership. I had received by email, both an order confirmation and a shipping confirmation, but never any correspondence regarding a fee-based membership. The representative on the phone stated that I had a week free trial and because I did not cancel, I was charged 9.95. First of all - a week did not pass between the 1.00 charge on the 22nd and the 9.95 on the 28th. Any math equation produces the same results = 6 days. If in fact, I had a week to cancel, why was I not offered that? Also - sneaking information in ultra tiny print on the checkout screen of the ordering process does not qualify for clear communication. Bad form. Secondly, what was the 1.00 fee? I received no explanation regarding that, either. Lastly - how can one possibly experience a free trial for anything in one week? If you are going to offer a fee trial for membership - make it a free month, but more importantly - COMMUNICATE your intentions. To be perfectly honest, this appears as a sneaky, underhanded, get-rich-quick scheme built on confusing and bilking the consumer. I ordered the DVD through you because it was a good deal. I will never purchase from you again because you deceived me and overcharged me. Instead of saving me money and building a relationship with a new customer (I purchase a large quantity of DVDs and CDs online), you've taken almost 25.00 from me and guaranteed that I will never shop with you again. I will also be certain to share this experience with as many people as possible, so that no one else is taken advantage of in this way. Thanks to advances in technology and social networking - it is very quick and very easy to get the word out quickly.
Well I will say that they give this big run around on how your order will be shipped as soon as it gets in but you will never get it. I even saw that my account got charged for a site that they decided to sign me up for so I called and complained. I don't think they were to happy with me because I told them that I did not sign up for the site and she tried to say other wise. I said no, you all signed me up for it just to get money. So I canceled the membership and then asked if I would still receive my item and she said yes. I said how do I know because there are so many people who canceled their membership to the site that you sign people up for and then all of a sudden about 3 weeks later they get a cancel order email from your company just because they don't want to be scammed. She pretty much said that they don't scam. Well guess what I was right and they were wrong. Here is my email that I received after 3 weeks when I canceled the membership for the one site:
Unfortunately, the item(s) that you have ordered is/are currently unavailable and we cannot guarantee that shipment will be made.
Any items remaining in your order will be shipped in the shipping period that you have selected.
If no items remain in your order, then it has been automatically canceled.
We apologize for any inconvenience.
Order Number: 513713
Transaction Date: 2/26/2010
Please note that we will not charge you for the following unavailable items:
You will not lose your welcome discount. Below you can find a discount code
that can be used towards your next order.
So please don't waste your time like I did. I will just go to eBay for now on. At least this way you get your money back if you get scammed.
Sometime in October 2009, I ordered for Michael Jackson and 2live Crews DVD and was told it was out of stock by email( One or more of the items you have ordered are not currently available.
We will do our best to ship the ordered item(s) to you as soon as possible.
You will be notified by email when the item(s) ship.
Item(s) to be sent later:
Item Description: 2 Live Crew-greatest Hits Video (DVD)
Item Number: KCH DLJR5D
Then in December I saw a bill on my Visa debit card so I thought this company has finally found my DVD and will soon ship it to me. I have already received the other copies which I paid for but as I am writing now, I have yet to receive that very DVD and I just saw this charge again on my card and I decided to find out about the company. Here and behold, people are already complaining about this company. I am someone who do not try any membership service either online or by mail, never. I made that decision over 10 years ago and I have never tried any membership service since then. They must have a fraudulent way of signing me up because I simply do not sign up for trial nothing. This is simple fraud.
I just spoke with someone in their customer service department and I was told that the membership has been cancelled and a refund will follow in 5 to 7 business days.