Woman gets trapped in Genesis scheme

July 10, 2009 1:18:40 PM PDT
The Indiana Attorney General on Thursday slapped a lawsuit on a San Francisco-based company accused of preying on consumers drowning in credit card debt. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all get our credit card interest rates lowered? That's what Genesis Capital Management said it would do for a Millbrae woman.

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Alice Stern's story is like so many these days. She's buried in credit card debt and paying 29 percent in interest. Then she got a call from Genesis Capital Management offering to help get her Chase credit card rate reduced.

"It just sounded like a good opportunity to me, to have this interest rate brought down because I'm paying, you know, quite a high payment and the interest rate I know was high," says Stern.

Genesis even put her on a three-way conference call with someone they said was with Chase Bank. However, Stern says when she checked later, Chase told her it had no record of such a call. On Thursday the Indiana Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Genesis accusing it of among other things, deceptive sales practices.

"They're charging nearly $1,000 a pop and then they don't do what they say they're going to do. In other words, the interest rates are not lowered and then when the person complains and wants their money back, it's not being returned," says Abby Kuzma from the Indiana State Attorney General's Office.

Genesis' website lists a mail box service on Market Street in San Francisco as its address. 7 On Your Side reached the company's attorney by phone and he said he would have no comment until he could thoroughly review the charges.

As for Stern, she tried canceling her service, but the company refused. She called 7 On Your Side who advised her to challenge the charge with her credit card company. She did and Chase Bank agreed to credit back the $995.

"It makes me feel really good. I'm glad I pursued it. I realize I got caught up in a fraudulent trap. They caught me off guard and it's a real wake up call," says Stern.

If you find yourself in big credit card debt, 7 On Your Side urges you to contact a non-profit consumer credit counselor. Below is a list of such counselors.

Links:
Finding an accredited Non-profit credit counselor
Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco
Consumer Credit Counseling Services of East Bay

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