Tales from the Sith Witch - The Official Blog of Julie Ann Dawson

You have got to be kidding me

February 23, 2012

National Association of Professional Women

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This article is a repost. The original article was first posted in 2009 at gather.com. In the event Gather.com changes their mind and decided to delete the article, I am reposting here on my own blog.


Original Article from 2009:


I got this lovely letter in the mail today from NAPW that said:


“It is my pleasure to inform you, that your 2009/2010 membership has been approved for the National Association of Professional Women.”


Um, which is great, I suppose. Except I NEVER APPLIED FOR ANY MEMBERSHIP!


It included a little membership card which I am suppose to fill out. It’s a post card…no envelope. Which means my name, address, phone number, business info, e-mail address and signature would all be exposed for the world to see.


Odd, for a “professional” organization, that didn’t seem that professional.


So then I did what I always do when I get suspicious (which is often these days). I went to my pal Google.


===


First, I found there site to see what they were actually about.


http://www.napw.com/


OK, there was no membership fee. To me, it looked more like one of those discount club things, but maybe geared at business women. Maybe it was a spammer, not necessarily a scammer. If you join, you end up on a lot of mailing lists and get a lot of junk mail. But it seemed harmless on the surface.


http://womenworksmart.blogspot.com/2008/08/watch-out-for-scams-attacking-new.html


http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/0/364/RipOff0364787.htm


http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/napw-national-association-of-professional-women-c168573.html


http://www.scam.com/showthread.php?p=445882


Bottom line is they lure you in with a “free” membership and a lot of promises. Then try to sell you a premiere membership for hundreds of dollars. The “benefits” aren’t anything you can’t get yourself with a Google search for no money.


My “invitation” was addressed to my Bards and Sages address, which tells me they must be targeting women writers currently. So ladies, if you get your “free” membership from these people, please recycle it. Don’t mail it in.


End of original post


On February 23, I got an email from Gather.com informing me that NAPW’s legal counsel was demanding that the article be removed because the original headline said National Association of Professional Women Scam. They didn’t actually question any of the content of my article. They simply accused me of libel for using the word “scam” because they said it implied I was accusing them of illegal activity. Gather.com, to their credit, simply asked that I change the headline. Which I did.


Now, to the NAPW, I would like to PUBLICLY APOLOGIZE if you felt that I was implying that you were engaging in illegal activity. That was not my intention. I am fully aware that it is not illegal to send unsolicited mail offering a free membership, and then try to upsell women to an overpriced, useless service. There is nothing illegal about telling women that they have been accepted for membership to an organization they never applied to. As a writer, I am embarassed that I used a word that might have been interpreted to imply that I was accusing you of illegal activity. That was not my intention.


I simply wanted to share my opinion that your organization was engaging in what I believe to be unscrupulous, unethical, immoral, and shady behavior that I believe takes advantage of women who are seeking affirmation of their value, and that charging hundreds of dollars for a membership of what I consider to be of questionable value is not the actions I would personally expect out of a professional organization.


I hope you accept my apology and we can both move beyond an article that was written THREE YEARS AGO and until today only had around 4,000 pageviews. I mean, we’re talking about approximately 1333 page views a year. Just over a 100 a month. In the grand scheme of the internet, that isn’t all that much. Though I suppose I should be flattered. Not only do you hold me in such high esteem that you approved my membership without me even applying, but you feel that my ancient articles somehow have a real influence on the internet.


Really, I am not that important.


And in my opinion, neither are you.

  1. Gee, I wonder if I commented on it back in 2009.

    Comment by Rogue Mutt — February 24, 2012 @ 6:39 pm
  2. Thank you so much for posting this. Apparently it’s still going on ! I also got a nice postcard in the mail but instead of sending in the reply card (only because I was out of stamps) I went to the site and it seemed to be somewhat legit… as stated above… maybe it was just a discount group. I didn’t initially see anything about a membership fee and figured maybe this would, at the very least, be a resume booster, so I filled in my info online. This was about 3 weeks ago. Today I received a phone call around 10am on my cell (an odd time to be calling during the work day) I took the call since I happened to be home sick and spent about 20 minutes on the phone with a gal named Joyce- who was stroking my ego telling me how great I was- this reminded me of the Whos Who scam I almost fell for about 2 years ago. What struck me was the East Coast accent- totally sounded just like the Whos Who lady! That’s honestly what gave me a red flag to this woman. Since I am home sick and a bit bored, I let her ramble on and objected to each of her attempts to sell me on an outrageous annual price… first she told me the elite membership was $649 a year and the premium was ONLY $449… then after that it would only be $99… Of course every time I said no she continued to drop the price $289, $189, then down to $89 for a trial year..but promised the same benefits. The funny thing is she promised all these seminars and webinars and networking… she really didn’t have anything that would be worth what she was asking. I told her if I wanted to attend a webinar I could just google it and find one for free and networking on Linked In and Facebook happens for free… I honestly did not see the benefit of this paid membership. After I got her off the phone (without giving her my credit card info- but bless her heart she tried) I looked up NAPW scam and this blog and several others came up. Ladies do not Fall for this scam. No membership should be $649 annually.
    Thanks for posting this blog!!! Also she gave me a number I didn’t call it but maybe anyone who is trying to get their money back can give it a shot: 866-540-6279 her name was Joyce and her extension was 108. Maybe she can get you in touch with someone to give you a refund! Good luck!
    Thanks again for posting this vital information! People need to know about these scams!!

    Comment by April — September 4, 2012 @ 5:20 pm
  3. I experienced the same unscrupulous and entirely deceptive sales techniques by a NAPW representative on the phone today! I asked for information and after an interview I was congratulated and informed that I was “accepted” as a member. Given my good fortune, she offered me a membership first for $989 then $789. The more I refused, the more the price came down. I requested some more information to review and stated that there was no way I was going to give some unknown caller my credit card information. The price then dropped to $249.
    I felt as though I was being “handled” by a timeshare sales person or particularly obnoxious car sales person.

    She began to talk over me and when I finally told her that she wouldn’t being getting my credit card information for $800, $500 or even $1 – she hung up on me.

    It is so disappointing that an organization purporting to serve women would conduct their sales in such a shabby and unprofessional manner.

    Comment by Veronica Boaz — October 12, 2012 @ 7:10 pm
  4. I started a non profit organization and as of yet, have not really done anything yet. so they must have gotten my corp name via some state association.
    Start Up and Growth Education Center and I, too, have just received the ‘free’ membership. Glad to read they are just going to send me unwanted crap.
    Thanks,
    Julie

    Comment by Julie — December 4, 2012 @ 11:19 am
  5. Thank you for posting this. I received and sent in the postcard application. They called back, leaving a message that they needed to ask additional questions to process my app. I called their main number to find out their political affiliation- you know, it’s a good idea to make sure anyone you claim affiliation with should have the same basic views. I got passed around like a hot potato. Finally I was told that by a customer service representative that “Even if I knew that information I wouldn’t share it openly”. Apparently they want me to answer their questions, but are not willing to answer one very important question. Enough said.

    Comment by Amy — February 13, 2013 @ 9:33 am
  6. this is a money grabbing scam!!!! no one should be asked to pay upward of $700(or even $1) to get a job….I let their representative give me the whole speil and after she qouted the cost I continued to act as if I was interested, they would give no specifics as to how they would assist me in my job search other than repeating generalities like “webinars and seminars” DO NOT give these people your $ taking advantage of women while giving the impression of being there to help women professionals

    Comment by alice — March 20, 2013 @ 11:34 am
  7. Alice, what I find so amazing is that they seem to constantly change their asking price based on who they are talking to. The whole thing is just bizarre.

    Comment by Julie Dawson — March 21, 2013 @ 1:59 pm

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