Archive for June, 2010|Monthly archive page

Our fight against Metro Care Marketing Services comes to an end. And we have prevailed.

We have won! Metro Care Marketing Services no longer has a hold on us.

Here is what my girlfriend has to say.

METRO CARE PART 5 (Epilogue of the saga… hahaha!)

Last Friday, June 11, 2010, I received my billing statement for my Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) credit card. I was relieved to see there was no transaction posted by Metro Care Marketing Services in the amount of P5,850.

The only posted transaction is the replacement fee when I had my credit card blocked last May 12. As of today, I have fully paid the outstanding balance of my SCB credit card. And now, I intend to cancel the SCB credit card altogether, because I have lost trust in the credit security of SCB.

I have applied for my SCB credit card thru the phone. A telemarketer from SCB called me on September 2009 and offered a credit card. Since I had nothing to lose, I accepted the offer. I gave my personal details and in a matter of weeks, I got the SCB credit card. By October 2009, I activated the SCB credit card.

How funny it is that by May 12, 2010, I got scammed also thru the phone. Someone from Metro Care Marketing Services called me and said SCB recommended me for their privilege card. How in the world did Metro Care know of my SCB credit card? Unless someone in SCB with access to my personal information gave out my credit details, because I can not think of anything else.

I have four credit cards from major banks, including SCB. Of the four, the SCB credit card is the newest. And it is the only credit card that I applied for over the phone. For the other three, I applied directly to the bank. I got my first credit card last 2007 and I have no problems since.

Therefore, I can safely say that during the processing of my SCB credit card application, my credit card details leaked out. And I have heard of agents selling credit card information to interested establishments. This is a breach of the confidentiality policy of bank details, especially credit card details. I have called SCB and the SCB call center agent said that SCB does not disclose credit card information to non-affiliated establishments. So how did Metro Care get my SCB credit details if it claims that it is not affiliated with SCB?

This scam incident is a big eye-opener for me. I have learned to say ‘NO’ to aggressive telemarketers, and other sales persons I encounter who aggressively offer me products I don’t really need. If I am interested in any product, I will personally buy it without any sales agent coaxing me.

And I have also learned to directly apply to the bank for any product it offers, and not thru an agent. I do not trust those sales agents anymore. So to be safe, I will directly transact with the bank representatives only.

I am grateful to God that I got thru this ordeal. It has taught me so much about the real world out there: that this world is a safe place with patches of danger and I just have to be aware of those patches and avoid them.

And to my boyfriend who supported me throughout the ordeal, and taught me to stand up against those scammers. If it weren’t for him, I would just be another victim of Metro Care Marketing Services, who would just pay the amount of P5,850 without a fight, just to get it over with. But because of his support, I stood my ground and Metro Care did not get a single cent from me.

So to all of the victims of Metro Care Marketing Services, if there is still a chance to win against those scammers, “Huwag kayo magpapatalo!”

Despite this achievement, we will keep on helping others with their own fight against this scam. We hope that we have been of help to all of you.

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Metro Care Marketing Services claims another victim

For the past week, my girlfriend and I realized that METRO CARE MARKETING SERVICES has been a staple in our universe of existence. We have met a number of people who have been victimized by the same company and one those people turns out to be very much close with my girlfriend. She’s a good friend of my girlfriend from college and let’s call her Sofia.

Sofia works for a bank. YES, she works for a bank and this same bank is her credit card provider and truth be told, she was still deceived by a dirty and cunning METRO CARE MARKETING SERVICES call center agent.

Sofia furnished for us an account of how METRO CARE MARKETING SERVICES was able to fool her.

Last June 2, a guy named MIKE GOMEZ of METRO CARE called me. He started the conversation by confirming a couple of details about me (e.g. name, etc.). He also told me that our conversation is recorded. Then he told me that, because of my good credit standing, my bank recommended me to them to avail of their privilege card. This will give me 60% discount on bars, airlines, and every mall in the Philippines. Normally, if I will call them to avail of the privilege card, I have to pay P16,000. But since they called me, they will only charge me P3,000, which is payable in 24 months.

I already sensed that this is too good to be true, but for some reason, I took the bait and gave them the numbers found at the front and back of my credit card :’c What bothered me is that he knew the first 4 digits of my credit card and the identification number, and then made me finish dictating the numbers. It seemed like he knew the numbers all along and just wants me to confirm the numbers. He then gave me his office landline (since I have to contact him first to get discounts from airlines) and office address. He also told me that the package will be coming from Singapore so the package will arrive after 5-10 working days. Then, his female officer welcomed me and congratulated me for joining them. She talked soooo fast, leaving me no chance to butt in. The phone was then immediately transferred back to Mike Gomez.

As we were about to end the conversation, I told Mike ‘sir wait lang, ayoko na lang po pala i-avail ‘yung discount card nyo.’ Then he said ‘bakit naman? sayang naman ‘yun…’ and he again told me the perks of their card. Sabi ko na lang ‘sige na nga’ just so he won’t waste any more of my time.

Bigla akong kinabahan when I put the phone down. I dialled the landline number he gave me but it was always busy or unavailable!! I got so scared. We looked for them in the directory but they’re not there. I immediately called my bank’s hotline, told a summary of what happened and found out that there is already a floating P3,000 transaction from Metrocare! I asked the agent if they could cancel the transaction but they can’t since the transaction happened between me and Metrocare. Labas na ang banks doon. He suggested that I block my credit card instead, but this will still not guarantee me that I have evaded the charge. I told him I’ll try to call Metrocare first, and then call the hotline again once I’ve decided to block my credit card (which would cost me P400, huhu).

I still couldn’t get hold of Mike Gomez so I ended up calling my bank’s hotline again and blocked my card.

Nakakahiya pero umiyak talaga ako sa officemates ko. I pitied myself for being so helpless and stupid. Word spread out that I was crying and the next thing I know, alam na ng buong wing namin kung ano ang nangyari. Good thing I am working for a bank. I am veeeeeery lucky because one of the officers know someone from the credit cards group. I was then advised that I wait for the package to be delivered. Upon the arrival of the package, I am to NOT ACCEPT IT and NOT SIGN ANYTHING. He also told me that it is still likely that Metrocare will charge me P3,000 since, if I understand it correctly, they billed me via BDO (I don’t know what this means). Anyway, since BDO recognizes them as a legit company, we will also recognize Metrocare legit. If ever I will still be billed, I was advised to FILE A LETTER OF DISPUTE. He also encouraged me to try to contact the firm again and tell them to cancel the transaction.

Meanwhile, my boss went online and saw a lot of blogs about this scam. An officemate also got hold of another contact number of Metrocare through one of the bank’s department. The department also mentioned MONIQUE APACIBLE. From what my officemate understood, Monique is the head Metrocare’s consultants.

We called the number and I was finally able to talk to Mike Gomez again. I told him that I really want to cancel the transaction. Medyo nagtataray na ako. The conversation went something like this:
MIKE:’naku. bakit naman ma’am?’
AKO: hindi ko rin kasi magagamit talaga ‘yung card niyo e. sayang lang.
MIKE: …sige punta ako sa processing department namin, which is nasa……… 8th floor. tignan ko kung mahahabol ko pa.’
Ako: sige

Then the line suddenly went busy.
I called him again. This time, I used the phone number Mike gave me and it worked.

Ako: nagbusy yung line.
Mike: …ah nagbusy ba? ……..naputol ka kasi e… wireless kasi itong gamit ko…
Ako: Ibababa ba dapat yung fone?? ano ba, tatawag na lang ba ulit ako o maghihintay ako sa line?
Mike: tawag na lang po ulit kayo mam.
Ako: sige, gano katagal?
Mike (seemed to be stalling): well, pwede kong hintayin yung elevator… kung masyadong matagal pwede akong mag stairs…
Ako (cutting him): so I’ll call you in 5-10 mins.
Mike: sige mam. …mam gawin nyo nang 20 mins.

I called him after 10mins but the person who answered the phone said Mike was still in the processing department. Later, we got hold of WARREN LEGAZPI from Metrocare’s processing department called me. Medyo inaway-away pa siya ng mga officemate ko, telling him there’s no way they can’t cancel the transaction. Warren insisted on talking to me so they gave me the phone.
WARREN: Ma’am Sofia, I understand your officemate is concerned for you noh. …I know you’ve already talked to MIKE VILLANUEVA
Ako (cutting Warren): Villanueva??? Ang sabi niya sakin Mike Gomez siya.
WARREN: (pauses) … opo Mam. Mike Villanueva-Gomez
–what the. Hindi ba babae lang ang pwedeng magkaroon ng ganyang surname??–
WARREN: bakit niyo po ba gusto ipa-cancel yung transaction?
AKO: I realized I don’t need it. Hindi ko siya magagamit talaga. At nakita ko P3,000 kaagad yung floating charge sa akin. Hindi ba payable dapat yun in 24 months??
WARREN: yes mam. (then explains something na magiging payable in 24 months un..) Hindi na po kasi natin maccancel yung transaction kasi naka-package po yun.
–I didn’t understand the connection of the package to the cancellation of the transaction. Anyway,–
AKO: so pagdating dito ng package, hindi ko na lang siya irreceive.
WARREN: kelangan niyo po sha ireceive para maging staggard (staggered? Hehe) yung payment.
AKO: …sige, tatawag na lang ulit ako.
WARREN: sige mam, if u want mag usap muna kayo ng officemate nyo. I’ll be expecting a call from u tomorrow.
AKO: I’ll call u later.
WARREN: sige po. pero next shift na.
AKO: Ok, bye.

I didn’t call them again, thinking that talking to them over the phone won’t get me anywhere.

Then came Friday, June 4,2010. The package from Metrocare came! Ang bilis a! I asked an officemate and an officer to accompany me to the messenger.
OFFICER: employee po kayo ng metrocare?
MESSENGER: hindi mam. messenger lang.
OFFICER: kasi pinacancel na namin ito e. ibalik mo na lang sa kanila.
MESSENGER: a nagkausap na kayo? so balik ko na lang? cge po.
AKO: opo, nung isang araw ko pa yan pinapacancel.
MESSENGER: ah sige.

looking at me, the messenger said. Kayo po si Ms. Sofia?
Ako: Opo. Ako po.
MESSENGER: Ah, akala ko siya e. (pointing to the officer)

…That’s my experience so far and they still haven’t cancelled the P3,000 charged sa credit card ko.

==========

June 8, 2010

I checked my credit card balance online before lunch time and saw that the floating P3,000 from Metrocare was gone. I couldn’t believe it! again, a too-good-to-be-true scenario. Past lunch time, I called our hotline and confirmed if the floating P3,000 is gone. The agent told me that she wasn’t able to see any floating P3,000 in my account. It was quite weird, actually, because she sounded like the floating transaction didn’t even happen. She also told me that Metrocare probably didn’t settle the transaction; thus, the floating P3,000 disappeared. I was soooooo relieved and thought that I had ‘won the battle’.

Then, at around 4:15pm, WARREN LEGAZPI of METROCARE called. our conversation went something like this:
WARREN: Mam Sofia, ano po nangyari sa package niyo?
AKO: ewan ko
WARREN: hindi niyo po ni-receive
AKO: oo
WARREN: Mam, for sure alam niyo na may floating P5,850 pa rin kayo sa account niyo.
AKO: teka. P5,850??? hindi ba ang usapan ay P3,000 lang??
WARREN: ay oo nga pala, sorry mam. P3k lang nga pala sa inyo. Anyway Ma’am, kung gusto niyong mawala yung floating P3k sa account niyo, pwede kayong magbayad ng cancellation fee.
AKO: cancellation fee???? at bakit ako magbabayad???
WARREN: kasi mam nakapangalan na po sa inyo yung package. (he also said something like my bank also approved the identification number…?? can’t really remember). dapat mam binasa niyo yung papers na kasama sa package.
AKO: e sinabi ko nga kay Mike na gusto ko ipacancel yung transaction e. Tinawagan ko ulit siya, wala pang 1hr ang nakakalipas tapos may package na agad. ambilis naman. I’ve done some research and i read na ‘yung iba, wala namang binabayaran na cancellation fee.
WARREN: may instances mam na hindi kami nagpapabayad ng cancellation fee. case-to-case basis po ‘yun.
AKO: haay nakooooooo
WARREN: if u want mam, pwede kayong gumawa ng cancellation letter. ikwento niyo dun kung ano yung case nung sa inyo ni Mike Gomez. It would depend po on your reason why you want to cancel the transaction. Tapos titignan po namin kung sino yung may diperensya. Kung kayo po yung may diperensya, kelangan niyo magbayad ng cancellation fee.
AKO: e pano kung ang reason ko ay gusto ko lang ipacancel yung transaction? dahil na-realize kong hindi ko kailangan ng card niyo?
WARREN: edi isulat niyo po dun.

I ended up getting his fax number, but I don’t think I’ll be giving them a cancellation letter..

Ang mali ko dito ay hindi ko sinabing ‘e pwede palang i-cancel ‘yung transaction. Ang sabi niyo sa akin nung June 2 ay hindi na ‘yun pwedeng ma-cancel’

Ang labo nila ‘di ba? very inconsistent!!

You may say that Sofia is a bank employee and you may assume that she’s supposed to know scams about money and stuff but she, too, took the bait.

What does this incident tell us? That our banks are lax about keeping our credit card information confidential? Take Sofia, she already works for her bank but still METRO CARE MARKETING SERVICES was able to take hold of her credit card information. And the irony about it all is that even her employer’s credit department cannot do anything to cancel the transaction even though they already know that she does not want the transaction.

This issue with Sofia boils down to security and affiliation. She works for a bank that also happens to be her credit card provider. And the irony of it is that they cannot save her. But we must disregard these facts because we already know all too well that banks only operate in a set of rules that they are bound to.

After a month of analysis and introspection, I have come to realize is that in order to capture the monster, we have to set up more traps, strengthen our fortress and fill our armory with enough ammunition to kill anything that moves. What I’m driving at is that aside from being wary and alert for scammers, we also need to set up the right kind of protection from such threats. What we need in order to close down METRO CARE MARKETING SERVICES is not only to file protest and dispute cased to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) but also to strengthen the laws that govern and implement such transactions.

Filing cases is not enough to permanently close down METRO CARE MARKETING SERVICES. At the moment, they are free to do whatever kind of deception and thievery they can do because they are permitted to. When caught, they can change their company’s name and do their same modus operandi again.

At this time, what we need is putting more teeth to the law. We should not only be filing cases against METRO CARE MARKETING SERVICES to the DTI, the trade department should also file laws and administrative rules that can sanction erring corporations.

What we can also do is to contact our newly elected congressmen and have them do something about this.

If you have also been victimized like us, help us. If you know somebody or anything that can help, please do reach out to us. We need all the help we can get.

METRO CARE MARKETING SERVICES tries to bargain it out!!!

NEWSFLASH victims of METRO CARE MARKETING SERVICES (SMD MARKETING CORP.), the notorious telemarketing company that sells the CITY LIMIT PRIVILEGE CARD! The company called us again and this time, they wanted to bargain out on us in putting down this video clip.

The video clip generally just shows how we questioned the courier’s identity and affiliation with METRO CARE MARKETING SERVICES. He also said plainly that if the receipt form of the package of the privilege card was not signed, the victim would not be billed. The courier also said that he will not get paid, if the package is not received and signed.

For those not in the know, my girlfriend was deceived by this telemarketing company’s devious business venture. They offer privilege cards that enable the user to have discounts to various business establishments with no annual fees. What they do is that they say that the would-be victim’s credit card provider/bank has recommended them to offer the would-be victim to their privilege card. METRO CARE MARKETING SERVICES’ agent will then rattle off the victim’s credit card details and have him/her confirm this and the transaction is settled. They already have charged the victim via his credit card. Vicious and cunning eh? Yes, it is.

To read how our battle with this scam started, do read these posts.

1. Credit Card SCAM!!! Metro Care Marketing Services Credit Card SCAM (UPDATED)
2. And they were still not done with us. METRO CARE MARKETING SERVICES SCAM CALLS AGAIN
3. And the package from METRO CARE MARKETING SERVICES SCAM arrives

Now, here’s the catch. Since we have a video online, METRO CARE MARKETING SERVICES tried to bargain with my girlfriend to put down the video upload. Good luck to them and their venture.

Here’s how my girlfriend tells it.

METRO CARE ENCOUNTER 4 (And so the saga continues hahaha!)

Today, Thursday, June 3, at around 1:50 p.m., a woman from Metro Care Marketing Services called my office landline phone, looking for me. She asked if I received the package containing the privilege discount card. I said that I did not receive any. Truth be told, their courier came to our office and I met him but I did not accept the package. Please read the details here.

The Metro Care Marketing Services woman also asked if I was billed for the discount card they were offering. I said I had not received my billing statement yet. Since I did not receive the package, I was not charged P5,850 for the discount card.

She then asked if I uploaded a video on Youtube. I said “No.”

“Who then?” she asked.

“My friend.” I answered.

She then said that since I was not billed for their discount card, then I was requested to remove the video from the internet.

I asked why.

It was for their Company’s image.

I said “No.”

“Why?” she asked.

I did not trust them. So I was not inclined in removing the video from the internet.

She then named someone, a guy, and asked if I know him.

“No. Sino siya? Ano Kinalaman ko dun?” I told her.

She said he also cancelled his transaction with Metro Care Marketing Services. And he happened to be from the same Company as I am.

“So? Ano kinalaman ko dun?” I asked.

Baka daw sundin ng ibang tao ang ginawa namin.

“Ano? Ano ngayon? Choice nila yun. Wala na akong kinalaman dun.”

But it was for the Metro Care Marketing Services and the courier’s protection, she said.

Protection from what? I asked.

She evaded my question and went on saying they were protecting their Company image. And their couriers were given Metro Care IDs for identification purposes only when entering the building and delivering the packages to their clients. If that was true, I asked why the courier didn’t give his Metro Care ID when he entered our company premises. She went on saying that the courier had other IDs, like SSS, that he could have given. And the couriers were not compensated when they fail to deliver the packages, blah blah blah.

I just said, “No. Di ko tatanggalin ang video sa internet. Kung wala kayong tinatago, ano ang kinatatakutan ninyo?”

And I asked her again what they were too paranoid for Metro Care Marketing Services.

I was not finished talking and she just said, “Sige, Ma’am, para di na humaba pa usapan natin.” And she hung up. Bastos di ba?

Analyzing the situation, Metro Care Marketing Services may have found threatening to their company image to ask me to put down the video. And to think all the video shows and proves is that the courier is a regular employee of Metro Care Marketing Services. It also shows his ID. My conversation with the caller from Metro Care Marketing Services did not even deny the facts that the video stated.

So what’s wrong with the video? It is not malicious. No one bad-mouthed the Metro Care Marketing Services or put the company in bad light. The video did not even malign the courier in the video. No malice was intended when the video was taken. It was taken for my protection and as proof that I did not receive the package and that I did not sign any documents.

I do not see anything wrong with the video. It just shows what happened when the courier delivered the package. The courier was just asked if he was a regular employee of Metro Care and was asked for his ID as proof. And it was true.

So why do they want me to remove the video? Unless they may be officially stating that the couriers are not regular employees of their Company. Now this is the problem I see.

Even if Metro Care already cancelled the floating transaction, I do not see any reason why they want me to remove the video from the internet. Para quits kami? I don’t think so.

Even before Metro Care called today to inform me that I was not charged of the discount card worth P5,850, I already know that the floating transaction was cancelled.

Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) called me thru my mobile phone a week before to confirm that I did not receive any package and that I did not sign any document. SCB then informed me that the floating transaction with Metro Care Marketing Services was already cancelled.

“Hay, buti naman” sabi ko.

Earlier last week, I already filed an official dispute to SCB even when I had not received my billing statement yet. They permitted me because, when Metro Care duped me, I right away submitted to SCB my testimonial complaining that Metro Care said I was recommended by SCB for the discount card. I asked SCB how Metro Care knew I had a SCB credit card in the first place, unless SCB referred me. And I was stupid to believe that SCB did indeed recommend me.

It’s just funny how our fight has reached them. And we shall still continue until their fooling, deceiving and victimizing people is put to an end.