It was Valentine's Day when Stuart Turney of Laurel received a sweetheart of an offer.
Turney was the target of a phone solicitation for a credit program called Dollars & Sense marketed by Capitol Financial Group out of Dallas.
Turney said a fast-talking salesman told him the program guaranteed he would get a Visa or MasterCard plus financial advice materials. At one point during the 15-minute pitch, the salesman said the cost was $120 and asked for his checking account number, which Turney gave them.
"It was my stupidity," Turney commented.
"They don't give you a chance to say no. At the end when I hesitated, they just hung up," Turney said.
He said it wasn't until the next day that he realized the call was going to cost him money.
"They had mentioned the $120," Turney continued. "It hit me the next day. I realized I had given them my [account] number."
Turney called back at once -- on Feb. 15 -- to say he didn't want the package. But several days later he received a Western Union Priority Letter thanking him for his order, saying that his checking account would be debited directly and asking him to sign and return an acknowledgment in order to activate his money-back guarantee that he would receive a credit card.
Turney said returned the letter with a notice restating that he did not want the package. But on Feb. 22 his checking account at Laurel Federal Savings Bank was debited for the $120 anyway, although neither he nor his wife ever signed an authorization.
Dolores Duck, a vice president at Laurel, said her bank's checks are processed by the Federal Home Loan Bank in Atlanta.
"We can't control that from this end," she said.
Capitol Financial refused a request to credit the Turneys' account for $120 and was vague when asked how it could debit an account for $120 but not credit it. The company told the Turneys to send a copy of the debit and it would send a check. When an immediate credit was insisted upon, the person at Capitol Financial said the bank would have to do a chargeback.
In the end, the bank rejected the transaction and the Turneys' account was credited for $120.