Ask Andy: Wrong number

By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – "U-Promise, Incorporated" gives millions of people a way to earn money for college just by shopping. But now the nationally known company had some explaining to do after it gave out bad information. 

The mistake is a phone number in a letter mailed to thousands of 'U-Promise' shoppers. We learned about the company's error from a viewer, who suspected the letter was an attempt to get her personal information. 

Hundreds of big name businesses from McDonalds, to Target, to Martin's - formerly known as Ukrop's, are partners in 'U-Promise'; a rewards system that pays money back to shoppers, and saves it in an account for college or anything else. The letter is a legitimate attempt to reach all those customers with dormant accounts. It requests a mailing address where 'U-Promise' can send the customer their money that's just been sitting for 3 years or more. 

The problem though is an incorrect phone number. That wrong number connects to an adult sex talk line. The sex talk line gives a second number, and that's when the caller is instructed to give credit card information -- something our viewer did not do. 

''The consumer was correct in being cautious. I think that's the key word, just to be cautious when you get a letter like that. Even though they are not asking for a lot of information," said Barbara Homiller with the Better Business Bureau. 

NBC12 told 'U-Promise, Incorporated' about the mistake. It apologized for the wrong number and does not plan to resend the letter. It says to get a check for the unused balance or to reactivate a dormant account all it needs is an address to send it. The company also has contact information online; a resource to check when in doubt. 

"You certainly don't want to give that information out without doing more checking. Is this a legitimate communication that you received and is it really from the company that they're saying it's from?" said Homiller. 

The 'U-Promise' letter is legitimate. The number should have been, 888 and 'not' 800. Those with dormant accounts have until June 1, to contact the company. After that, the unused balances will go to the state's unclaimed property division.

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