Don’t get suckered: National Association of Professional Women

This started out as a post to the EFA members’ discussion list, where we’ve recently discussed a couple of scams, but it got a little long so I’m posting it here. I also gave out my URL and was promised it’d be linked to my member profile, so in case that actually does get published anywhere, I want to emphasize here that I am not affiliated with the National Association of Professional Women. Which should also be clear from the rest of the post.

I come with a word of warning about the National Association of Professional Women. They’re advertising heavily on LinkedIn, I hear, and targeting new business owners whose bullshit detectors might not be finely tuned yet. (That would include me, I’m sorry to say.) The organization seems reputable but they’ll use flattery and high-pressure tactics to upsell you on anything they can.

A week or two ago, I got a postcard in the mail offering membership and providing a preapproved membership code. I thought about it, went and checked out the org’s website, and decided it looked legitimate and possibly useful to me. The site said that every woman who applies (should have been red flag #0) gets a complimentary basic membership but that there were many membership levels. I entered the code from the mailing, filled out a form, and figured I’d check it out at the free level.

A few days later, I got a phone call from Savina (at a blocked number; red flag #1) wanting to interview me before my membership was approved and leaving the number 866-540-6279, extension 270. I called back today, and the given extension was Pamela Caldwell’s voice mailbox. I left a message anyway, and Savina called me back an hour or so later. (Red flag #2 — there was no mention of “oops, I gave you the wrong extension” or “Pamela gave me your message” or anything like that.)

Savina seemed friendly, but I could also tell she was reading from a script at points. I answered questions about my work experience, my education, my business, where I see myself in five years, what I hoped to get from the organization, what I was most looking forward to, etc. At the end of the interview she said she was pleased to offer me membership. I thanked her, thinking I’d passed some test or received some honor, and we proceeded with the paperwork process. She said there was the Elite membership level, which cost $900-something, or the Premium level, which cost $700-something but didn’t have quite so many benefits, so which did I want to sign up for?

WHOA THERE. I don’t want to sign up for either! However, we’d now spent about 15 minutes talking about me and what I wanted from the organization, so I didn’t want to feel foolish by saying “no thanks, never mind” at this point. (Red flag #3, in retrospect.) Savina said she could offer me a trial membership at $99. I said, didn’t I see something on the website about a free level? She said that was a listing only and didn’t include all the networking and seminars and other benefits I’d just said I wanted. So would that be American Express, Visa, Mastercard…?

At this point I felt trapped enough to give up my credit card information. I wish I’d come up with some other excuse: I wanted to review the welcome packet she promised to send; I wanted to run it by an accountant or a mentor; I wanted an invoice or an online form instead of giving my card info over the phone. (I later found out that others who’d said things like these were told the offer of membership was a now-or-never thing, or that welcome packets or requested invoices never came.)

So once Savina had my card info and enough information to create my member profile, she then offered to sell me a very nice plaque commemorating my acceptance into membership. She read off what the plaque would say and said that they only reserve two plaques for each member, so did I want to buy one or two for $99 each? That, I managed to turn down. To finish the signup process, Savina told me I’d get an email with my member ID and website login, told me I could download the organization’s logo and put it on my own site and business cards and wherever else, and described what would be in the welcome packet

When we ended the call, I felt swindled. I’d had no intention of spending a dime on membership, but because I’d been enthusiastic about membership for most of the call, I felt pressure not to backtrack. The more I thought about the whole thing, the more red flags started to appear, and I did what I should have done in the first place: researched the organization. My phone even offered “national association of professional women scam” when I started to type in the search box. Uh-oh.

I found blog posts and comments from 2007 through January of this year, all telling pretty much the same story, with some of the same names and phone numbers, though the exact dollar amounts changed from year to year. A post, Women Work Smart: Watch Out for Scams Attacking New Business Owners, and comments that echoed the experience I’d just had. An unfavorable article from 2009 that NAPW wanted taken down in 2012. A speaker who’d been offered a complimentary membership, then asked to pay for memberships and awards. A Ripoff Report article that had a fluffy, glowing “special update” at the top and a name removed from the original, critical report. Even negative Yelp reviews of the organization.

The more I read, the more infuriated I got. I called the number back and pressed 0 for “immediate assistance.” An operator transferred me to the Finance division, where I left a stern message saying I did not want membership, do not charge my card, and call me back to tell me there will be no charges. I read more stories of people getting the runaround and called the number again, this time dialing the extension Savina had given me, which again directed me to Pamela’s voice mailbox — only this time, her last name was something like Jean-Michel, not Caldwell (another red flag!). I left another stern message saying not to charge my card.

I expected I’d have to fight a little harder to avoid charges, since Savina had said that all membership orders were final. But an hour after I left the first message, I got a call from Ben (blocked number) from the Finance division. He asked me to confirm that I’d purchased a membership today. I said instead that I’d done a little more research on the organization and decided not to proceed with membership. He said, “So you looked at the website?” I said that I’d looked at the website and some other recommendations online, and I no longer wanted to be a member of NAPW. Ben offered no other resistance and said that he’d reverse the charges, which could take up to 24 hours. And that was that.

My bank account doesn’t show a pending charge yet, so I can’t say what amount they charged or refunded. If anything does come through, I’ll update the post.

ETA, 3/29/13: I think it’s safe to say now that no charges came through at all. It looks like I changed my mind quickly enough that NAPW really didn’t charge my card, instead of completing the transaction and then reversing the charges.

Update, 2/4/14: There have been so many more comments on this post than I ever expected (almost 200 as of this morning)! If you did purchase a membership at any level in the National Association of Professional Women, I can’t offer specific advice beyond what I’d recommend for any other purchase: contact NAPW for a refund and to cancel your membership. Contact your bank or credit card company and ask to stop the charge if it hasn’t gone through yet, or if it has, ask the customer service rep what your options are. Several readers have mentioned automatic renewals without clear notice — commenter Kim Hales said in December 2013 that text authorizing the renewals is hidden in new/updated terms and conditions that NAPW members must accept in order to login to the members-only area of the website, where you’d need to uncheck a renewal option — so if you’re already on the phone with your bank or credit card issuer, ask if you can prevent that specific renewal charge. NAPW may also have a policy disallowing cancellation within 30 days of the membership’s renewal date.

Many readers have mentioned the misleading ads NAPW has placed on LinkedIn. Yesterday, commenter Karin posted the text of the support ticket she submitted to LinkedIn and the reply she received, in which an Ads Support Specialist promised to “investigate the advertiser in question.” LinkedIn’s advertising guidelines prohibit deception or lying. Since NAPW does have a free membership level, I don’t think advertising a free membership is lying per se, but I do think this tactic is deceptive. If you’re on LinkedIn, you can submit a support ticket here.

Other readers have mentioned NAPW’s Better Business Bureau rating, which seems to have tanked over time. Commenter Glenda said in August 2013 that the LinkedIn ads touted NAPW’s A rating but that, according to the BBB, NAPW was not an accredited business. As of October 2013, NAPW still had a high rating, but commenter Lil W. said in December 2013 that NAPW had an F rating then. Last week, commenter Gabby said that NAPW’s Wikipedia page had a “Controversy” section that mentioned a C rating from the BBB. Here’s the text of that Controversy section as it appears today:

As of January 2014, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) reported 256 customer complaints against NAPW since 2011. Based on these complaints, the Bureau issued the company a C rating (on a scale of A+ to F) for its “failure to resolve underlying cause(s) of a pattern of complaints”, among other factors cited in their review of the company.[10] Dozens of consumer complaints were also filed against NAPW with other complaint bureaus, reporting fraudulent practices. In response to BBB’s inquiry regarding what measures the company was taking to resolve “underlying issues”, NAPW reported that the “trend” of complaints reported to BBB was heavily due to online “negative PR” rather than customer experience.[11]

My post here tends to rank highly in Google searches for the National Association of Professional Women, with or without the word “scam” included. NAPW has not contacted me about my experience (or for any other reason). I don’t think I or my blog really register with them.

The BBB gives NAPW a D rating today, for reasons that match my experience and those of almost all the commenters below: “Many consumers tell BBB that they are misled regarding membership prices, membership levels, and additional fees for processing and set-up. For example, consumers reported seeing an ad for free membership for NAPW on LinkedIn. However, these consumers claim that when they contact NAPW to take advantage of that offer, they find out that joining is not free. Some consumers also allege that they were subjected to high pressure sales tactics by company representatives to join the organization even before they understood the costs or benefits. Other consumers that originally agreed to join the organization but opted afterward to cancel the membership say that they have difficulty reaching any company representatives to seek a refund.”

I’ll continue to update this post with more news as it develops.

Update, 11/13/15: There are more than 550 comments on this post, which is about 500 more than I ever expected! I’m amazed that new people continue to comment that NAPW is doing the same old song and dance. Unfortunately, however, it appears to be working for them. This week, journalist Nikki Gloudemann published Anatomy of a Scam: National Association of Professional Women, a deep dive into the experiences of former members of NAPW, who’s running the organization, what it’s like to work in the call centers, and what the future looks like. (NB: This post is linked in the article and I was contacted for an interview. I wish I’d said yes.)

668 thoughts on “Don’t get suckered: National Association of Professional Women”

  1. Thanks for this very informative post! I’ve been seeing those ads on LinkedIn lately and was thinking about checking them out when I had the time. You saved me some time–and maybe some money.

  2. You did what is necessary to back out within the legal time limit. If they don’t follow through, your bank will be able to deal with them.

  3. I’m right there with you, sister. Couldn’t believe I fell for it. My own personal Red Flag #0 should have been that Star Jones is the leader of the NAPW. (I can’t put my finger on why, but I’ve never felt she’s trustworthy.) And I’m ashamed that I didn’t call back to immediately cancel, even though–like you–I knew as soon as I hung up that I’d been swindled. I did cancel before my membership auto-renewed. I chalk up the $99 loss to punishment for being gullible.

    Regarding those membership materials you were promised, mine only further convinced me that I’d thrown my money away. The short booklet I received was even misprinted, with missing pages and duplicate pages! Unless those missing pages held the key to all my NAPW success, there was nothing in that booklet to indicate how membership would enhance my business. However, I enhanced Star Jones’s business.

  4. Isn’t there a 3-day cancellation date to all purchases you make? Just in case “Ben” doesn’t perform due diligence. Personally, I think all these sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are a waste of time. I’m thinking of getting off the first two and have not joined the third.

  5. Thank you for this information. I just got stuck on the phone with one of their representatives and could not get her off the phone (at least it gave me time to research them!) — I finally just had to say, “Thank you for your efforts, I’m not interested — I’m hanging up now.” And then I hung up. [Feel free to use this tactic — it’s gracious but firm.] There was no way I was going to pay for their membership or give them my credit card information. Be aware of people who have to use high-pressure tactics.

  6. Mauro R. Harrington

    Same thing happened to me too TODAY..I just got off the phone with a NAPW Account Director earlier. Everything the other comments have said is completely true.After my “personal interview”, I was offered either “elite” or “preferred” membership at $689 or $489, respectively. I almost laughed. After significant, but polite, back and forth of exchanged information, she then went down to the price offered to non-profits which was $289. I still didn’t feel right about it so I paused. At that point she offered me the $189 introductory rate. I still felt that was too steep and said as much, to which she then offered an $89 trial membership. I was thinking that why didn’t you offer the $89 package in the beginning, my conscientious was telling me no. So I told her I would give her a call back. And after reading I am glad I did not accept. I will not be calling back, no way, no how, I’m not calling them.

  7. Oh my! Just got off the phone with Renee. So glad I googled them and scam while she was talking. Really, 470,000 members? I am now one of those…she gave me a complimentary listing before I hung up. I paid nothing. Thank you for your post

  8. Just had the fun of dealing with this organization today after clicking an ad on LinkedIn. When I asked them to please mail me information about the various membership levels for review, and the woman on the other end said, “We don’t give out that information,” I knew there was something fishy. Also did some Googling while still on the line and found so many reports of bad experiences. The most irritating was when I said I wasn’t interested and she said, “Oh, are you having financial difficulties?” Like she wanted me to sign up for a membership just to prove I could afford it. I sent an email to LinkedIn saying that the ad was misleading – it claimed membership was complimentary – and suggesting that they review their affiliation with the organization.

  9. I wonder if enough of us say something to LinkedIn if they will refuse to allow this organization to advertise on the LinkedIn site? Think I’ll write a letter to LinkedIn as well.

  10. I just had the same experience. Big sales call, I could tell from the beginning, though when she mentioned $900+ bucks I was pretty pissed. I hung up on her. So irritating, especially since the mailer made it seem like it was free.

  11. Shavon Reed, @shavonluv

    Thank you soooo much for this! I just spoke with a representative from there and based on the “scripted” tone I immeidately asked them to take me off of their contact list. Your article reaffirmed my gut feeling! THANK YOU!

  12. I can add another affirmation on this group as a scam. People like Star are giving professional women a bad name! As I spent time talking to my representative who said she was interviewing me for membership I started re-searching the group as a scam. With each of my declines to pay a membership she kept coming down in price which was my red flag. I too had to finally just say “No, I’m not interested” and hang up.

  13. I just went through the whole phone call thing today. Anytime someone wants that much money and wants an immediate answer it sends a red flag. I told her that what she was telling me was against what the web site stated (free membership) and that I would be checking them out further and hung up. My guess is that they won’t be calling me again.

  14. I did not have access to my computer when I got the call and got suckered into a $99 intro offer because they used the “it’s now or never” approach and I thought the use of their logo may be worth the $99. After finding negative information all over the web, and checking the BBB to find that, according to their site, NAPW is NOT Rated, while the LinkedIn Ad said rated “A”…I proceeded to file my own BBB complaint (among many others). I now feel that adding their logo would have a negative impact versus adding any sort of credibility to my website and printed business materials. I am hoping to stop them from billing the $99 which has not shown up on my card yet. Maybe if the BBB got flooded with complaints, they would have to stop these practices.

  15. Update: I received this information from the BBB in regards to my complaint so I do want to correct my earlier post.
    NAPW does have an A rating with the BBB. However they are not an accredited business with the BBB. A firm does not have to be an accredited business to have an A rating. Check the firm’s report on our website.

    I apologize for my misinterpretation of the phrase “not an accredited business”..

  16. I also got a call from this company a while back and was flattered when they told me they wanted to interview me to see if I qualify to be listed among such an elite group of professional women. I was excited about it at first until after they interviewed me and blew up my head a bit, that they wanted me to pay a huge fee for membership. Said the same thing about ‘financial difficulties’ to try and make me feel like I couldn’t afford such a prestigious group. Luckily I went with my intuition and didn’t sign up. I felt like they were trying to manipulate me and it was not authentic.

    Thanks for posting this, funny I only just thought about checking the reviews for this business because I keep getting emails from them. Although, I felt back then that it might be a scam.

  17. Thanks for this post! I just went through the same thing, but I didn’t give her my credit card number, luckily. I told her I needed to look up more information on it first to see if it would be useful. The whole call was definitely scripted, and I could tell I was being sold something I probably didn’t want in the first place.

    Honestly, professional women don’t need to be bolstered by ridiculously expensive ‘organizations’ that promise to help with networking. Most professional organizations offer plenty of networking opportunities! But a women’s-only group should be more reasonable in terms of cost, I’d think!

  18. Wow. I literally just opened a letter from them and of course when you read the letter you’re excited! It sounds prestigious: National Association of Professional Women. We’ve all worked hard in our respective fields, so to be recognized feels awesome. After the gleam in my eye wore out a bit, I decided to do some research. I am so glad I came across this post. I thank you all so much for your honesty about each of your individual experiences. I am glad to say I will not be joining NAPW!!!

  19. Same here. I just received the letter. It seems a big campaign going on since Meagan also mentioned she received it today. Thank you for your post. Very helpful!! I am also glad that I will not be joining NAPW!

  20. I just received one today also! Thank you for posting this information so more of us don’t have to go through the sales scam.

  21. Thanks for posting this! I got a letter from them, too. I thought it looked a little suspicious especially since they obviously just scraped my name from the web.

    I don’t know if they’re a scam or not. Their lack of transparency in terms of membership fees is concerning. However, it looks like the organization pretty active across the county with chapters in a lot of states.

    I think probably the best way to judge an organization is to ask when their next local networking event is in your area and then see if you can attend for free as a first timer. Then you can ask the members face to face about the benefits of joining rather then just depending on a salesperson with a script.

  22. Thank you for posting this informative blog. It is a nice idea to be apart of something to connect and promote women. Yet this is a scam and likely set up by a man or a group of men to profit. I am so glad I did a little bit of research…because nothing is ever free that has a stamp on it.

  23. Thank you for posting this. I just received a letter of acceptance from NAPW and decided to research before signing up. I’m very appreciative of everyone who posting their experience and helping others and me not get scammed. Now the NAPW letter is in my trash can where it belongs.

  24. Just got my letter today. I think they got my info from Linkedin as I just got more active with my account and started linking to additional people, etc. Thank you for this service, so glad I did not waste my time!

  25. The same thing JUST happened to me! I wasn’t even going to answer the call. Then next thing I know she’s sucking me in. In the end I did exactly what you did (I should have googled first) and I hope they do not charge my card. I may call my credit card company and report it just in case. This is awful. I really thought they were a reputable organization.

  26. Thank you for posting these comments! I saw the ad on LinkedIn and believed them to be a professional organization. I signed on for the “free” membership, and expected to get a member number in my email. When the phone call came through, I Googled it (which I do for numbers not recognized by my phone) and saw the word “scam” written all over the pages of my search. I suspected they had been calling since I signed up, so I googled another number in my inbounds and came across this site! Thankfully I had not picked up the phone and talked to their agent who left the message saying “I was just reviewing your resume and had a few questions. Please call me at 860-632-0061.” This is a Connecticut exchange with ties to Texas??
    Again ladies, thanks for posting!

  27. I am so glad that I did some more checking on this illustrious “group”, namely, the National Association of Professional Women. I spoke with someone named “Jackie” today. She gave me the entire sales pitch that you described and while speaking with her, I got the distinct impression that vast amounts of smoke was being blown clear up my arse! Especially when she got to the part where she tried to sell me either a gold or platinum membership. She told me that the gold membership was $600.00, while the platinum membership was $800.00. I gasped, and asked her what was going on, because I had read that membership was “free”. Then she tells me that she has the ability to give me everything for just $99.00. So, I am thinking to myself: What a crock of crap! How did we go from $800.00 to $600.00 down to $99.00 in the span of 2 minutes? She tried her best to get some money out of me, but I put her off and told her to call me back in two weeks! I knew that everything sounded way too good to be true and now I know for sure that it is. I had pretty much already decided to blow her off in two weeks but after reading all of these other posts, I think that I will give her an ear full first. I really do not like having my time wasted like this. As far as I am concerned, they are falsely advertising their “free” membership, in that all they really want to do is up-sale. And yes, they most certainly do use all forms of flattery in order to sucker you in. She was laying in on rather thick and that was what initially caught my attention. Secondly, she was also reading from a script (at various times) throughout our conversation and I picked up on that as well. But when she started to talk prices, that is exactly when I began to lose all interest and knew that it was all a bunch of malarkey! So, beware professional ladies everywhere—LinkedIn seems to be their most favorite spot to lure in suckers. Thank you for posting all of this, Rachel.

  28. Thanks for posting this. I too have been hit hard with their marketing, and being back new into the job market, I’m marketing and sales non the less, I felt it would be a good thing to at least look into the group. I only wish I had read this about a half hour earlier, before I sent them my contact info online, because now I know they will be relentless in trying to get my moola. Thankfully I don’t have enough right now to give them, but I really don’t have the time either! OY!!!

  29. I am having trouble getting my money refunded….months to respond to my email…and only with apparently repeated blocked calls and generic toll free calls with no messages to rectify my elimination of my membership. Now they say; it’s running out and it’s only been six months

  30. Hello Ladies,

    I would like to share with all the women who had a rather unfortunate encounterment with NAPW. I first would like to say that yes they used a hard strong sells pitich like any association and most associations. With that been said what association do not use a hard pitch? I am affilated with other associations and they too used a firm sells pitches this is a business with an intention and purpose to help women of all walkso of life . Ladies please re-evaluate your purpose and cause for having a reasonand considering to become a part of ainy association. They all have issues so don’t compare yourself to another women’s experience. I have been a member now for two years going on three and this was a good support to me when needed. I’m sure we all have had a bad experience with some type of business or organization so pick your venues carefully and be led in a positive way to join any association or women’s organization. There are so many negative things going on around us so let’s just do our part and share encouragement to all the woment around the world.

    Yvonne Jackson
    Manassas, VA – Chapter

  31. I unfortunately got suckered into paying for membership a year ago and have not used it. I got a call today from a blocked number with the info that I’ve been nominated for a professional woman of the year award and would be highlighted in the next newsletter and where did they want to send my award. She then proceeded to tell me about all these “free” seminars and webinars that I would be able to attend, confirmed that I did in fact have a master card on file and she would be charging my card for $900. Shocked, I said, “wait, you’re charging my card right now?!” And she then started lecturing me about how I should jump on this and how big the organization was. When I said no, after she slashed the price in half to give me the “non-profit rate”, I said no again and she said I would not be receiving anything in the mail and to have a nice day. Please don’t let yourself or anyone else waste a dime with this organization–it is a total scam and I felt like I was being bullied by this woman Patricia.

  32. Yes, for a seasoned professional and retired military person who should KNOW BETTER, I fell prey to this “pitch” last year when I wanted to switch from my specialty professional organization (very above board) to a more broad organization as I geared myself to move into my second retirement – though was considering foray into small business (retire when I’m dead) . So, I did join for the year and found nothing of value in the membership and had all of my E-mails go to my Junk folder (and they were copious)…only to have them AUTOMATICALLY renew my membership. How did I find out since the renewal notice went into junk mail….I saw the charge on my credit card, which I TOLD THEM in no uncertain terms was not for re-use. At any rate, after filing a dispute with my credit card company AND atempting to call them numerous times, I sent a few E-mails that got their attention and they “deigned” to offer me $99 of my $199 renewal fee back since “I was told that renewal was automatic during my recruitment, and in my membership info (long since submitted for recycle) and they sent me an E-mail.” My credit card company wanted me to continue with my dispute. I figured that it was shame on them for their recruitment practices for my joining in the first place and shame on me for not paying attention for the automatic renewal Alhtough I did do due dilligence researching them initially, I didn’t find the informative posts that others found and were forewarned. So, I’m going to get my $100s worth by posting my experience on as many sites as I can so others can be forewarned – don’t fall for these deceitful practices….it is tantamount to using boilerroom practices..only it is women taking advantage of other women. Yes, and we do so like to talk about ourselves! Lesson Learned.

  33. I wonder if we should start a grassroots effort to alert other women by posting our experience on Facebook? (I’m guessing it’s not libel if we just state our own facts?)

  34. Yes, I thought it was an honor also but didn’t realize there was an automatic renewal until they sent an email indicating that they would send me another email when it was due should I not wish to continue. I’ve been looking for that email and it has never arrived. Didn’t want to call them as they’d lower the price and make it very difficult. Therefore, I sent a letter asking them to remove me from their membership and requested a confirmation. I’ve not seen a charge on my bills but will look very closely for one and fight it. It was a learning experience, an expensive one, but hopefully it will not happen to others. Women should support one another and not take advantage of them.

  35. I just got off the phone with one of their salespeople. Very nice woman but the number was also blocked on both my cell phone and home phone. Same deal with the elite membership and eventually getting down to $199. I don’t do business via telephone and was uncomfortable having to make my decision then and there. I told her I needed to go and she could call back later. I then researched the organization online. More negative feedback than positive. I made the decision not to join based on what I found online.

  36. I went through all the same you mention on the article but I managed to say NO at the end. At that time, the lady got very upset and said that I was wasting a great opportunity and that she wasn’t going to waste any more time on me, that she would sign me up for the FREE enewsletter, the only free thing… for people of MY PROFILE!

    How rude! I can understand she hates her job… Being a scammer is stressing. But I’ve never felt so infuriated before. I was starting to feel guilty about it when I found your post.

    Glad to know I’m not the only one!

  37. I fell for this exactly the way that you did, Rachel! And I am sad to say that I did not think to call and cancel the membership right away, even though I immediately felt swindled after the phone call. Perhaps it was the sense of shame I felt about being gracious and interested in membership throughout the 15 minute in depth interview, and letting myself feel flattered to be accepted. Perhaps it was because it was a nice old lady interviewing me. However, I was shocked at the $999 introductory membership offer, when I thought I was signing up for something for FREE from a Non-Profit!!!! I too settled for the $99 rate after asking why I wasn’t getting this for free as the linkedin add had suggested.

    Well beware. Once you’re a member it DOESN’T END. I just got a phone call two months after joining. This time it was to tell me I had been selected as a VIP to represent my industry in my state. I told the woman on the phone that I had no idea what that means. She tells me it’s a big “to do!” And after another 15 minutes of questions and flattery she asks me to confirm my mailing address and say I’ll get a plaque from them in 6-8 weeks. She goes on to say that I will have “free and unlimited access” to services, seminars, events, and more that are all worth more than $2000-$3000!!! But only if I pay them a one time fee of $999. Without giving me a moment to stop her, the woman on the phone begins confirming my billing details. (Oh dear, they have my Credit Card info on file!) I have to interrupt her to tell her that on no uncertain terms is she to charge my credit card $999. I asked if she could email me the information and she said no.

    It took me about 10 or 15 more minutes to end the phone call, a time during which I had to repeatedly tell her in very clear terms that she was not to charge my credit card again. I am now going to call my bank to make sure that no charges go through. I don’t trust the NAPW at all. The woman was talked so much that I have a feeling that there could have been any number of moments when by appearing to “agree to receive the plaque” or something like that, I implicitly agreed to let them charge me for something. DISGUSTED.

  38. Thank you so much for this post – I researched the organization just now after putting them off yesterday, and was expecting a phone call this morning to finalize my VIP selection as an artist. All of the previous post’s details apply to me, and I now know what to do and say when and if the call comes… I can ill-afford the N-P rate, which she offered to break into 2 payments. You have saved me so much grief!!

  39. I got the same call today and I had actually forgotten that I had replied to the “Free Membership” on LinkedIn. When the caller mentioned $900 (after 15 minutes of talk), I was stunned. I told her right away that I wasn’t interested. She then went from the “Elite Package” down to the “Preferred Package” and then down to the lowest priced “Standard Package” for $199. Finally I told her I didn’t want to waste any more of her time, and hung up the phone. How can they get away with offering a “free” membership when it doesn’t exist? This is what the BBB website says:

    “On May 30, 2012, the Better Business Bureau raised concerns about this firm’s advertisement on and requested that this firm substantiate their claims regarding their Better Business Bureau endorsement. As of June 5, 2012, the business has modified their advertisements and is in compliance with the BBB Code of Advertising.”

    I don’t get it.

  40. I to fell prey and felt like a SUCKER! They really try to hold on tight to your money when you call to cancel. But don’t let them pull you in, if they were as wonderful as they appear it wouldn’t be such a fight to keep you as a member in the first place. Terrible and to think this is women doing this to other women. Star Jones and any other celebrity should be ashamed for allowing them to use your name. I now lump you into the same category as them and would run from anything you put your name on in the future. What a shame!

    Thank you so much for this POST, this is a positive way to help your fellow women! They should be a little less greedy and learn from your example.

  41. Thank you for this post! I received the letter at work today and admit I was flattered. I went online to find out more about the organization and found this post. I will not be sending in the card, or calling them thanks to you!

  42. Thanks so much I am so glad I looked around re this organization. As a consultant re export and imports, I depend entirely on word of mouth. Again…Thanks. cd

  43. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And, thanks to the numerous women who’ve commented. What’s that quote? “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.” —Groucho Marx.. haha, not entirely true, but mostly true. I have just shredded the invitation I received in the mail offering, you guessed it, a FREE membership.

  44. Thanks so much for your post! I recently received a call from the NAPW and was swindled out of $99. I sent customer service an email and have not heard back. Not sure if I will be sucessful at obtaining a refund but a few have gone the BBB route and that seems to have done the trick. Hope they respond! I’m not looking forward to calling them and having them go through every trick in the book to change my mind. Any suggestions?

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