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. I got mine today as well, and I had to look it up further before I pursued anything. Im so glad I did!!!! Thank you so much for posting this for any of us who have questions that BBB and the NAPW seem to gloss over a little too cleanly. The troubling part is that when I typed in the organizations name it looked good, until I added scams to the end of my Google search. Creepy. These guys NEED to be put out of business!!!!

  2. This just happened to me this morning. Luckily, as soon as she started talking about money, I asked her for literature. She said that the purpose of her call was to “answer any questions” I had. RED FLAG. I asked her, “well, as a BUSINESS WOMAN, I never make an investment without researching it first, which means I will need to see some literature.” She claimed all the information about them was on their site, and then proceeded to tell me that Star Jones and Martha Stewart were active in their group. So, I said, “well, that makes sense. I mean Martha Stewart is so well known for her honest financial practices”. And then I hung up. I decided to Google what appeared to be a scam to me, and found your post. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  3. I just got off the phone with Anna Rose Cameron and she was anything but professional. I explained I was at work but obviously on deaf ears. She glossed up all the “benefits” of membership and kept throwing my daughter’s ability to use the benefits too. Far too personal for me. Then the sales pitch came. Starting at $989/yr for elite, $789 for preferred and $489 for standard. When I told her I had to get back to work after 15 mins she was like a dog with a bone and would not let me go graciously. Then she comes up a $99/ 6 month plan and 6 months free. What? Maybe I should have kept her on long enought to get it for $10 ha ha. I finally had to become rude myself to match her rudeness and said my boss was signalling to me and she said “Well how much did you think a professional membership would cost??” at this point I hung up. Shame shame NAPW.

  4. Ditto Tara— thanks so much for the morality tale, Rachel. Hard enough to be a woman in business without being a rip-off target. You should have charged them your usual hourly rate!

  5. Shame Shame Shame! This “organization” of professional women should be ashamed of their on-going scam. Like the posts above, I too received an invitation to “free” membership in the mail and immediately decided to do extensive research on this company before making any investment, because that is just good business to research first, so thank you for exposing all of us business women to this sophisticated scam.. NO THANKS NAPW

  6. I found your post today after my experience on the phone with NAPW. yesterday. I too was called during my work day. Not one was I asked if it was a good time to talk. I let the caller know she was contacting me during my work day. She sounded scripted like we were going through her guide page by page. Then she congratulated me on my “Acceptance”. Really? You have to be accepted? i guess so if you’re going to drop $1000.00 for an elite membership. I told I dont do business like that but I would look over the information she was sending. She alluded to the fact that if I did not give up a credit card number I wouldnt get a member packet. Huh? So she went to the lower cost memberships and I continued to say no. I told her I wouldnt be making any other financial invenstments concerning my business until after the first of the year. She kept talking…………… Finally getting to the free, basic membership albiet witht he warning that I wouldnt be able to take advantage of all NAPW has to offer for a woman with my interests in networking and seminars. Now my patience for her had been all used up and it was time to go. She wanted to keep talking about all the things I ws going to miss out on so I hung up. Her name was Jane Hader at (866) 540-6279. I began to think about how tough it is for workers at this time to get and keep a job and the abundance of lousy job prospects like NAPW telesales. Let’s hope this economy improves so women have better opportunities than this. NAPW scams from both sides I’m sure. Im also sure these women hate it too but its work for now.

  7. Thanks for the info- I was curious enough to go to their site from Likedin, but luckily decided to do a little research first. (pretty standard practice for me at this point on just about everything!) You just saved me and quite a few other women a load of hassle!

  8. I just received my Acceptance Letter in the mail. Sure glad I decided to research before sending it back or going to their web site!! I have enough to worry about running my Company without having to deal with scammers! Thank you!

  9. I too received a letter today, stating you have been”accepted” as a member of NAPW. Red Flag, I never applied! So as many of you before me, who have some business savvy I started the research, and found THIS!!!!
    Thank you Lord, and THANK YOU LADIES! Saving me a whole lot of hassle and a whole lot of money! United we stand. My letter, trash can…

  10. I just got my letter today. Amazing how they think my company, which I finally llc’d in June, has been around for a long time and is a leader in my area of expertise. I laughed when I saw that. Yes, I am an expert but that letter made its way over to the shredder in my office. I decided to look it up and this was the first posting I saw. Let me tell you, if flags go up and people are asking for credit cards, just say no. Do not feel guilty.

  11. Okay Ladies, so I too received the dreaded call from NAPW today. Geez. It just felt wrong from the start with all of their intrusive questions. When I alluded to this, I was told that they were just creating a “profile” for me. No thanks, I’d rather do that myself!! We didn’t even get to the money part yet, because I had expressed my feelings regarding all of the questions so far. I simply told them, I needed to think about whether or not I wanted to become a member and that I’d get back to them. Translation…Don’t call me, I’ll call you (NOT)!! Beware Ladies!

  12. just got scammed out of $199. Called back and left the identical stern message for Talia in finance – hoping that I don’t have to fight as hard, either.
    I knew I should have trusted my gut – the fact that it sounded like a call center in the background, but “we receive tens of thousands of applications and choose only the most promising” should have been the giant red flag that made me hang up. Shameful organization!

  13. Wow. This happened to me, and thankfully I found this blog while she was on hold on my work phone. I quickly returned to the call and declined. Yikes. Thanks for this blog.

  14. I just for a phone call from this company. I thought it was weird that they needed “more information” after filling out the application. So I went online to look them up. Thank goodness I didn’t answer the call! Thanks for this information. Is there a way to be removed from their call lost without having to hear the sales pitch?

  15. I received something in the mail and got a phone call just today. I went through the whole telephone interview and then was asked what major credit cared I wanted to use to pay the $789 membership fee. At that time I politely declined and hung up. Needless to say, the called me back a couple of time. I really hope these people go away.

  16. Thanks for sharing your experience. As a new business owner, I was researching NAPW to gain membership. Thanks for saving from the headache!

  17. There are lots of women blogging about the NAPW and their scam. That’s because we have all had the pleasure of that wonderful ego-boosting, manipulation, “interview” that ended with the hard-sell sales pitch, after which we Googled “NAPW Scams” and found this blog! They’ have been at this for several years and they haven’t changed their game much at all. Hey, if you’ve got a successful model, why change it?

    For me it went like this: A few weeks ago I received an email that said I had been accepted for membership to the National Association of Professional Women, an invitation-only membership of successful professional women “like you.” I bit. I thought, hey if it doesn’t cost anything, why not? I filled out their online application and a week later, I got the call. The ‘nice’ woman on the phone told me that she needed to conduct an interview to see if she could confirm my membership because, ” unfortunately, not all who apply are able to accepted into this elite and accomplished group of women. Well, as you might imagine, even being considered gave me the feeling that I was being recognized, in a potentially very public way, for my years of dedication to my profession. They’re very good at stroking your ego without you even realizing it. After the 20 minute interview she told me, “in recognition of your success, and in light of the contribution that you make every day to your profession, it is my honor to inform you that your application for membership has been approved!” She went on to tell me about all the benefits of membership; free webinars, networking, ability to affix the NAPW logo on my website and business cards, and on, and on, and on. “So tell me, which of these benefits are you most excited about?” HUH? Now for the best part. “I am prepared to offer you the very special price of just $989 for the Elite membership. WHAT? No!! “Okay, I can offer you the very special rate for the Premium membership for just $750. No! “Is it a financial concern?” Duh! I don’t give my credit card over the phone and I don’t sign up for something that expensive without looking into it in detail first. “Well, I’ve just told you all of the benefits…” No, I’m not going to do it. “Well, I am authorized to offer you the very special rate of just $499 for a standard membership and you still get all of the benefits of membership.” HUH? Okay, now. Something smells mighty funny. NO! I’m not going to do it!!! “I am prepared to offer you the very special introductory membership of just $199. NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just as I was hanging up the phone I could hear her offering me yet another “deal.”

    Tell your friends! DON’T BE FOOLED BY THESE SCAM ARTISTS!!

    P.S. Since the beginning of the “interview” entailed my giving them my work, personal email, and my cell number, I have a feeling that I haven’t heard the last of them!

  18. I know this is an old post but thank you for posting it! I’m a copywriter, too, and casually applied to the NAPW while searching jobs on LinkedIn. I didn’t think too much about it but they have been phone-stalking me for the past few days from blocked numbers. I had no idea the scam ran this deep!

  19. Wow! I got a card in the mail a few weeks ago and sent it on as well. I literally just got a call about 5 minutes ago from a blocked number. They left a message, Sandra(I believe), about wanting to talk about my membership. I figured I’d do some research before I called back. All I’ve read only confirms my suspicions and I will NOT be calling though I’m too much of a you know what and I’ll deny a membership quick, fast and in a hurry before I pay for it. Thanks for the heads up!!!!!

  20. I also was contacted at work and eventually was talked into the $99 special. I was hoping it was well worth it to get rid of the lady. Then, last month I was called again (at work) and told that I had been chosen as the Professional Woman of the Year in my state and they were going to give me an award and plaque and all those fancy things – for only (I can’t remember – a few hundred). Has anyone tried to leave this organization after a couple of months in? I have no desire for any of what they offer.

  21. I thought this would be a great organization because I am a small business owner and didn’t think it would have much of a cost. But they offered me the lowest cost of $599 and that is way more than I would want to spend. When I didn’t even know what being a member was going to do for me. Not only is this company bothering me but the BBB is also after me to join and I told them that I couldn’t afford there costs and that know of my competition was paying them either. Now they have sent me a form to fill out wanting to know how much money I make and other things that is know of their business. And then there are the marketing people who don’t stop calling. Ok I am done ranting. Thanks for letting me have a place to do it!!!!

  22. Thank you for posting this. In the middle of what can only be described as a pressure-filled sales pitch from Laverne after the most uncomfortable “interview” ever, I googled the organization and your post came up. I knew it sounded fishy when she wouldn’t send me any literature to read about the different levels of membership offered. Who spends almost $1000 without looking at what you get first?! I stopped the call and told her if I was interested I would call her back, she basically told me this one a one time deal and I didn’t accept her “offer”, I needn’t call the number she gave me. Terrific. What a scam.

  23. Thank you, thank you! I got the NAPW letter in the mail at work today. I was like that’s interesting. I didn’t apply for membership. I looked them up and initially they seemed legit. Even their “Rip Off Report” says in big red letters they “have implemented a program of awareness, training and oversight to guarantee positive interaction with all prospective members.” But I searched a little deeper and found your blog along with a few other stories. I will not be returning the membership card. You saved me.

  24. Just got suckered out of $99. I want to join a professional organization with the opportunity for networking but like all the other posts suggests, my experience with this organization so far has been high pressure sales. I understand they need membership fees to keep the organization afloat. Had I read this blog beforehand, I would have just hung up on the rep calling me for money. I will see if there are any benefits to being a part of this organization. If so, then spending $99 may be worth it. If not, I will have learned a valuable lesson.

  25. The woman who called me talked about 500 mph and wouldn’t STOP. I finally told her that if she couldn’t send me something I could read over when my shop wasn’t open then I definitely wasn’t interested. Thanks for your post, I hope everyone does their research before joining this ‘professional’ group. Hah.

  26. I had the same experience. Same organization and woman’s name was Lauren Quinn. I insisted on receiving an invoice first and she then lowered the price from $900 to 400. When I insisted on an invoice she said they don’t do that and she proceeded to get nasty with me. I told her that we could revisit the issue of payment and she said, “We don’t negotiate.” I had no intention of paying a dime, let alone over the phone, but I wanted to see if it was reputable and got my answer! I hung up. What a waste of 20 min of my life.

  27. I got suckered out of the $99 on Nov 30th 2012. Trick me once, shame on me. I decided to investigate the program further for a few months after I got suckered to give it a shot. Ultimately I have used ZERO of the so called “Perks”. This company is a SHAM!

    In January of 2013 I called to cancel my membership. At that time they assured me that everything is fine and that I’m removed from their list. Great.

    Fast forward to today– I’m sitting here trying to dispute the $199 these people charged me for my membership renewal over the weekend. The company says they have no record of me cancelling my membership or speaking to anyone this year. They have offered to call me back to discuss, but I have a feeling I’m never going to see that $199 again. The kicker is that I never got an email or anything warning me that payment was coming soon, like every truly reputable company out there.

    I called my bank to see what we could do about filing a claim to get my money back. I have to completely cancel my debit card in order to do so, which is a huge pain with all of the autopay accounts I have set up for other things I actually want to pay for.

    On top of that, I lost my job several months ago and that $199 they stole from me is $199 I need to feed myself and keep the power on! Terrible. I’m so irritated. I just know I’m not going to see my money again because they have “no record” of my call to cancel. Time to dig up my old phone records.

    DON’T DO IT.

  28. Received my letter today and will look no further than this post and its accompanying comments: fragments of the hand-shredded letter are in the recycle bin. Thank you for your words of warning.

  29. My response was pretty much identical to Valerie’s above. I thought a silly (free) affiliation couldn’t hurt, so I sent the postcard back in the mail. Then came the non-stop phone calls – which should have been clue #1 – because if membership were so elite, they wouldn’t be pursuing me like a dog chases a bone. When I finally did have time to answer the call, I too was flattered by the ego stroking (not a bad way to spend a Monday noon-hour), but when she told me how LUCKY I was to qualify to the nearly $1000 membership, well – in the words of my seventh grade math teacher: “Ding ding flash flash” – there’s a problem here.

    When I repeatedly told her that I wouldn’t pay such exorbitant costs for a membership, she kept offering me better deals – much like the auto-renew magazine robo-dialer does after your free subscriptions end. And it was ridiculously transparent that her script organized the conversation: “If she says X, you say>>>>>>>” Go to section 2 paragraph 1. It was like a “Build your own adventure” book, but not nearly as much fun.

    While she rambled on and on, I googled the organization and came across your site, which reinforced what I already deduced. I refused to purchase any membership without receiving actual material in the mail such that I could evaluate its worth in relation to my needs and possible benefits, but apparently that’s not a trait appreciated by the NAPW. And repeatedly citing Star Jones as their ambassador? Really? That’s supposed to be a selling point to professional women? I can recognize shilling when I see it, girlfriend. Plus, since when has Arianna Huffington been Arena Huffington? Ding ding flash flash yet again.

    When I said (fourth time’s the charm) that the $99 membership would only be considered if I received a mailed explanation of benefits and services prior to any financial transaction, she curtly told me to enjoy my complimentary membership and ended the call.

  30. I received this in the mail today. i will be mailing the postcard back with no information on it. If they want to scam people I’ll charge them postage to scam me! :) Thanks for all the info.

  31. I think, if you ladies haven’t done so already, is to write on the BBB board and complain to high holy heck about them. That is one way to help get it in control. Just copy and paste what you put here.

  32. Much thanks for the post. I just got my postcard and almost signed up online, but luckily held off and did a quick Google before submitting. Your post saved me from a lot of headache!

  33. Sigh, I was just swindled out of freaking $489. Has anyone else been given a refund? Of course I found this AFTER I got off the phone with Linda McKenzie. This is pure BS. I am embarrassed that I gave up my information so easily when I am normally so diligent. Jeez. Pay me a compliment and I’ll just roll right over. I am going to dispute the charges now. Hopefully save myself somewhat of a headache.

  34. I knew it was a scam! so glad I followed my instinct and threw their membership offer away. Thanks for your post,I hope others who recieve their membership offer will check them out first.

  35. Your entry is verbatim what happened to me and how I reacted – except for the part at the end when I called back for my money. I immediately got caught up in my work day and forgot to call back the number listed. Oh well lesson learned. :(

  36. Damn, I just got duped into paying $199.00 prior to doing research. I hope I get my money back. I called and left a voicemail and also sent an email. :(

  37. I did the same exact thing yesterday. I had to call the 1-888 number provided in the ‘Welcome’ email and ask to speak with Finance. A very RUDE woman answered my call and proceeded to spout off for over 10 minutes how she just couldn’t allow me to cancel my membership without attending one meeting, blah blah, etc etc. I ended up threatening to call the BBB, my credit card company and the Ohio Atty General’s office before she would agree to refund my money. Not sure if the charge has been reversed yet. Will check tomorrow. Good luck ladies! Wish I had stopped by here first. =(

  38. I just received a postcard yesterday also. I did this research and I thank you for posting your story, Rachel Lee. I thought it suspicious receiving a pre- approved invitation. I checked the website but did not find any names of professionals. One would think there would be testimonials especially from names you might know? It did not seem very professional to me so when I looked further I saw your post.
    I believe we women need to practice saying NO more often. We do have that right. So ask yourself what do I get out of this? That is not a selfish question if you are purchasing something. And ask is this item(s) worth this price? We need to take care of ourselves and our money.
    If you belong to any social group post your story there also to warn others.

  39. Thanks for your post. I just responded to an invitation but have not yet given anything other than my phone number and email address. I will not pursue this any further. Thank you.

  40. Dang it. I found THEM about a month or two ago and thought I joined something that would be good for my career. I managed to only get suckered for the $99 membership. Then yesterday (I was informed that I was to be featured in their dec newsletter and they needed to confirm info…after rattling on and on about this benefit and that and asking for info but not really seeming to care about the details…I was asked if my cc on file would suffice to pay for the plaque that would sit on my desk, etc. etc. I finally said, look, you’ve dumped a whole pile of info on me and I don’t even know what you’re selling me right now. Send me an email simplifying what it is you want me to know and do and I will let you know. No email. But the whole thing was sooo aggressive and deceptive that I started looking online for some info on napw and here I am. Enveloped in scam remarks all over the place. Thanks for posting!!!

  41. Thank you for making this post! I just received an invite to NAPW and at first glance, I thought that the organization sounded great, so I went to the site and decided to sift through it. However, the more time I spent on the site, the more I felt this gut feeling twisting and turning, telling me something wasn’t right. I don’t know what it was, except that I simply wasn’t getting a good feeling off of the site. Now, I classify myself as a feminist in that I seek total equality for all human beings, however I am blindingly aware of the need for support for female professionals, considering the fact that I am one and its easy to spot little differences in how you are treated in comparison to your male coworkers (not to mention all of the other inequalities we face). So you’d think this great association about amazing ladies in the professional world would be right up my street. And yet, it just seems off and completely insincere.
    So then I googled. And then it all started to make sense. Its a massive scam! This association is just a money making machine with the facade of female empowerment thrown over it. Its a brilliant idea and I appreciate that aspect of it – but from what I have read, these people essentially trick you into joining and paying absurd fees. That’s not right at all. The website doesn’t say anything about prices on it nor does it elaborate on its membership options. And why should they? If people knew their prices up front, no one would step any further and they’d never see another sale again.

  42. Hi,

    Yes, this just happened to me as well. But I did apply to the organization online – I think I saw an ad on linked-in, and I’ve been wanting to do some more networking and professional development. I had no idea there was a membership fee, so after they called me in response to my application and after 20 minutes of chatting, I was “approved” and then hit with the choice of either $799 or $999 – membership option. I was so caught off guard, but thought perhaps the events and seminar’s included might be worth the price? I went ahead, but then immediately went online to do more research – and found dozens of “beware” postings about the organization. I immediately called back and changed my membership to the $99.00 level – it was very easy and they did not give me a hard time. I guess I will find out if even that $$ was worth it. It may (or may not) turn out this organization has some worthwhile things to offer, but they need to change their membership sales approach ASAP.

  43. I cannot thank you enough for this post! Your description matched my experience perfectly. I called 45min after I signed up and cancelled my membership but it wasn’t until after they tried to make several offers of a reduced fee that would save me several hundred dollars. This is such a scam! Again…THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

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