Beware Financial Come-On by ‘Union Workers Credit Services’

Beware Financial Come-On by ‘Union Workers Credit Services’

The labor movement isn’t totally unanimous on many things, but I’ve never heard any dissent from the proposition that we hate scam operations that trade on our goodwill, such as fake “union” publications.

Texas AFL-CIO Director of Field Education & Research Joe Arabie recently received a variation on this theme. It was an offer from an outfit called “Union Workers Credit Services” carrying a Dallas address.

The letter struck Joe as suspect from the start because it was addressed to his long-deceased mother-in-law, who was an active member of the United Food & Commercial Workers.

The letter said that for $37, Ms. Betty Millard was eligible for a “pre-approved…Platinum Card membership” with a guaranteed $10,000 limit and a 5 percent interest rate. The $37 “is fully refundable with your first purchase using your $10,000.00 credit limit.” And – sound the alarms again – the letter states, “You don’t have to worry if you have been denied access to a VISA® or MasterCard®.”

You have to go to the fine print to see what’s really going on. First, if you can believe it, the offer is not actually for a credit card: “Credit amount referenced herein shall not be construed to function as any type of multi-purpose credit card.” Then comes the kicker: “…and is exclusively applicable for credit purchases from UWCS.”

In other words, “Union Workers Credit Services” is selling merchandise, and the $37 would be a down payment on that merchandise.

Doing some due diligence on Google, we learned the New York attorney general has sued this outfit and found that people who requested a refund of the $37 were unable to obtain it despite the letter’s assurances:

The state attorney general’s office filed a lawsuit Monday against a company that targeted union workers in a credit-card scam.

The company, Union Workers Credit Services, Inc., advertised to labor union employees what they presented to be a multi-purpose “Platinum” credit card.

After paying an upfront fee of either $37 or $95, the consumers found that the card could be used to purchase only items from a limited catalog of merchandise. Some consumers paid the fee and never received a card from the company at all.

Union workers throughout the state received the solicitations, including those in Buffalo, Rochester, Ithaca and on Long Island.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued the Dallas-based company and its president, Joe Malazzo, for false advertising and deceptive business practices, and his office is seeking full restitution for any New Yorker who paid the upfront fees.

Schneiderman is also seeking a court order prohibiting the company from engaging in false advertising and deceptive business practices, as well as penalties and fees. For every deceptive solicitation the company sent to a prospective customer, the potential penalty is $5,000.

“Targeting and ripping off workers through deceptive advertising is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in the State of New York,” Schneiderman said in a statement Monday. “This company will now pay the price for preying on consumers who were duped into signing up for credit cards that were essentially worthless.”

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  You can Google “Union Workers Credit Services” and find many more allegations of bad behavior by Union Workers Credit Services. Texas AFL-CIO President Becky Moeller and Secretary-Treasurer John Patrick want every union member in Texas to know that Union Workers Credit Services is not affiliated in any way with the Texas AFL-CIO or, to our knowledge, any actual labor organization. If you receive a solicitation from them, our considered advice is to toss it in the trash.

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