Cambridge Who's Who Complaint - Very expensive scam, but entirely possible to get a refund from them
NEW YORK -- In 2008, I had just graduated college and was trying to get my foot in the door of the corporate world. I received a notice from Cambridge claiming that I had been "nominated for inclusion" into their registry. I was flattered but was not sure who nominated me. I had been extremely active in college organizations and was well thought of by my professors, so I thought that one of them had nominated me. I filled out the form requesting more info and was soon contacted by a representative She started the phone call making everything sound exciting that I had the chance to be included in their registry. At the end of the call she hit me with the $1000 price tag. I about fell over. I said there was no way that I could afford that price. She kept lowering the price and then offered to throw in 2 free airline tickets. I said no to her. The next day she called again...and again...and again for several days. I finally got tired of the pressure and agreed to try their service for $189.00. I stupidly gave them my credit card number, which they immediately charged. A few weeks later I received a piece of paper saying I was a lifetime member. Great. About 2 months later, She called back and wanted to sell me a lifetime membership and a wooden plaque and a leather bound directory. I told her that I was told I was already a lifetime member. She said no. She convinced me that I should own the leather bound registry because I would have that and the plaque for my home and I could use the registry for networking and prestige purposes. I said no and she told me that "the registry is going to print this week and if you don't opt in to this you will have to wait a whole year to get into the registry again". Long story short, they charged my card $800.00 and never mentioned that everything was non-refundable. I was told that my purchases would arrive in the spring of 2009. They didn't. I called and they assured me that, "due to the large volume of registries being printed there is a delay and you will receive your registry in fall of 2009". By this time I was really mad and began to realize that this was a scam. I called Cambridge and as soon as I requested a refund they were hostile and told me that "due to the highly personalized nature of our services there is no refund option". I laughed and told them that I had been waiting 2 years for a registry and plaque that was paid for and probably never existed. I also said that the only thing that was personalized was a slip of paper saying I was a lifetime member, and if that piece of paper which was personalized for me was the only thing stopping me from my refund I would gladly rip it up or send it back to them so I could get my refund. They said no.
I am going to tell you right now that I was completely scammed by Cambridge but I am proud to say that, I received EVERY SINGLE PENNY of my money back from them, but it was a 1.5 year long process and I had to fight tooth and nail with them to get it. First, I took it upon myself to call Cambridge again and once again ask for a refund. They said no of course. I asked them to send me a detailed billing of the charges they had placed to my Visa card. They did. I wrote a detailed narrative of my experiences with Cambridge including the dates I called them and the names of the reps I spoke with. I then filed a complaint with the State Attorney General's Office of Consumer Protection. The form was easy to fill out. A few weeks later I received a letter from the Atty General's Office and a response from Cambridge. Cambridge basically said I was a liar and they followed all procedures, blah, blah. I wrote a rebuttal letter once again explaining my claim and its validity and then spent hours researching all the sites like this one detailing people's problems with Cambridge. In the end, I had 70 pages of material to send back to the Atty General's Office. I also called the investigator at the Atty General's office and spoke to her about the case. She had not received a complaint about Cambridge before and was not familiar with them. I could tell that at first she was skeptical of my claim and seemed to think Cambridge had a binding agreement. Once she received all my research and carefully written letters, she changed her mind. 3 weeks later I received a check from the attorney representing Cambridge and a nasty letter saying that they were still in the right and I was still in the wrong, but they were paying me in full anyways. Bottom line is this: Cambridge will NEVER EVER admit that they are wrong or that they scammed you, however; you CAN get your money back from them, just be persistent and don't back down against their threats or namecalling. Do your research and compose a well researched and well-documented letter to your Consumer Protection Office if you want to have a chance at a refund. Cambridge will fight you about it, but in the end they know that they cannot produce any documents binding you to their agreement and they have no valid excuse for taking your money and not providing services that you paid for. I know how devastating it is to find out you have been scammed, so I really hope this info helps others.