DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have been trying to contact Oodles of Mags because of a recurring charge on my debit card of $24.95. When I call, all I get are recorded messages.

In order to cancel, I have to give my phone number to identify my membership. The recording says the number is incorrect, and the call goes no further.

I need to talk to a live person to discover where those magazines are going and who used my card and to get the charges reimbursed and canceled.

Because I have been remiss about checking item by item on my statement, the charges go back to November 2011. (Lesson learned the hard way!)

This is my first experience with Sun Spots; I read it every day. Can you help me? — No Name via email

ANSWER: If online posts are any way to judge, you are not the only one who has been hit by that $24.95 charge, although whether it is a scam as some charge or just aggressive marketing, Sun Spots cannot say.

As for stopping the charges, the first thing Sun Spots recommends is to visit your bank and put a stop payment on those charges. You might have to close your account and open another, depending on your bank’s policies and procedures, but it should be able to help you.

As for Oodles of Mags, the phone number Sun Spots found online is 1-800-796-2479. When she called it, the first option was to push “1” if you are calling about a $24.95 charge, but Sun Spots did not have all your personal information, so she could not proceed.

If you call and are still not successful, you can try emailing [email protected]

The next step after that would be to send them a letter via certified mail (costs about $5) telling them that you want an immediate refund. Use your computer and make the letter as professional as possible. The mailing address is Oodles of Mags, 1408 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316.

Be sure to include your full name, mailing address, phone number, and the number of the card they charged.

Sun Spots cannot stress strongly enough to her readers to be careful with debit cards. If No Name had used a credit card instead, she could have filed a dispute with her credit card company, which would have gone after Oodles of Mags for the refund.

The following comparison of debit versus credit cards appeared at nytimes.com on Jan. 6, 2009:

“(Credit cards) provide more protection if someone steals your card or bank information. If you notice a fraudulent charge on your credit card account, you can call the card issuer, make a dispute claim, and the charge should be removed from your balance. But if thieves steal your debit card information and use it, it may take weeks for the bank to investigate your claim and replace the lost funds. In the meantime, you may have to deal with a dwindling bank balance or bounced checks.

“Federal law also protects you if you need to dispute charges on a credit card, but not if you use a debit card or other forms of payment. If you paid cash or used a debit card, the retailer already has your money. So you have a lot less leverage, and there’s no guarantee you’ll get that money back. But if you pay for something with your credit card and aren’t happy with the purchase, your card issuer can legally withhold payment from the retailer until they resolves the dispute, and you won’t be charged.”

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Thank you so much for getting the word out on the River Valley Animal Advocates plant and bake sale and raffle on June 2 and 3 by printing my May 19 letter. Due to the construction in Dixfield we have had to change our fundraiser’s location to Riverside Realty on Route 2, in Mexico.

Thanks so much for the public service that your column makes possible! — Becky, [email protected], 597-2323

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected]


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