Do not buy your airline tickets from Air-Tran and Priceline.com – read why below. Last night, I got an email notification from my bank about some weird fee being charged to my account. I immediately logged into my account and saw this: “Miscellaneous Transaction – TLG*GREAT FUN 866-894-2721 CT – ($38.99)”
Wait a second…TLG Great Fun for $38.99? What a heck is that? I know for sure that I do not use my debit card for online purchases and I couldn’t understand where this charge was coming from. Lola was also clueless about this transaction and we both knew that we never authorized it.
I then picked up the phone and decided to call the listed 866 number. It was late at night and obviously the voice message said that I needed to call during normal hours. I then immediately called the credit card service number and blocked all debit cards, telling the service that my account has been compromised. When I brought up the fishy transaction, the guy on the phone told me that I would need to call my bank to dispute the transaction. Damn! Oh well, I decided to call my bank first thing in the morning and meanwhile decided to look up “Great Fun” in Google.
It wasn’t surprising to see that I was not the only person who got screwed by this company. Apparently, there are thousands of people who also had an authorized charge from this company and they had no idea why and how the company obtained their information and credit card numbers. Typing “TLG Great Fun Scam” in Google resulted in many pages of complaints from all kind of people and some claimed that they were ripped off with $150 and more in a similar way. I then noticed a message from one of the posters, who claimed that he has never used his credit card for anything but a one time purchase of an airline ticket from Air-Tran. Another claimed to have only used Priceline.com. And boom – it hit me right there and I realized that we also purchased an airline ticket through Air-Tran about a month ago. And I know for a fact that we didn’t sign up for any special memberships while buying the ticket, because we know these things too well!
So, this morning, I first called my bank and told him about what happened. They made me open a dispute claim that I have to fill out, sign and send back to them, which might take up to two or three weeks to be processed. I then called Great Fun’s 1-866-894-2721 number to see if I can find out where and how they got my credit card details. A lady picked up the phone and looked up my information. She then confirmed that my membership was activated through the Air-Tran website! She stated that I explicitly agreed to their terms to become a member (which I know for a fact is BS) and that once I made the payment, they obtained my credit card information and started my monthly subscription. I told her that I never subscribed to any memberships and never authorized any payments, to which she responded that she canceled my account and that I would no longer be billed for their services. When I asked her about the current charge, she stated that she would not be able to help me with that. I got pissed off and told her that if I did not get my money back within the next 24 hours, I would be writing a complaint to BBB and joining thousands of others in a class-action lawsuit. She then quickly transferred me to her supervisor. After listening to my brief story, the supervisor told me that I would get my money back within the next week or so (which I do not believe will happen).
The next thing I did, was call Air-Tran’s Customer Relations department to file a complaint. I told them about the “Great Fun” incident and they already knew about the company, telling me that they had “a partnership with them”. Excuse me? Since when did dealing with scammers become a partnership? The lady from the CR department was telling me that I had to explicitly agree to become a member of “Great Fun” and create an account on a redirected page in order to be billed for those services. I told her that I never created any member accounts anywhere and all I needed was a damn ticket! I asked to be transferred to the corporate office or someone higher up at Air Tran and she said that she would not be able to do that. She collected my contact information and told me that someone would get back to me soon.
I decided to share this story, because everybody should know that Air-Tran and some other large companies such as Priceline.com give away the private information of their customers to third parties, without getting their explicit consent. God knows how many customers have been ripped off like this and this is all happening through companies we thought we could TRUST.