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.)

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

  1. We are obviously all women who are interested in expanding our professional networks, so perhaps we should just create our own! I’m open to an online networking/support group, anyway. :)

  2. Thank you! I was just “interviewed” and “accepted” when she told me the price of $989 or $789. I immediately got online to research this company, and your post came up. I just read it to myself while she continued the same negotiation you described. I’m so glad! I can see how $99 would have seemed like a bargain in the end. I decided to tell her I was not prepared to provide her any form of payment. She thanked me for my time and hung up on me.

    I suspect, however, that LinkedIn will not do anything– clearly this association is a paying advertiser. I also doubt that what they are doing is illegal (though definitely unethical). When I told her that I was unwilling to pay any kind of money before researching an organization I knew nothing about (which a professional woman might be know to do), she got aggressive. Clearly, she gets a commission if she gets the money while on the phone– which is why she is NOT a professional woman, but a woman who has a job as a telemarketer.

    Thank you for posting this so that more women will know what they are in for!

  3. Thank you so much…they keep calling me and I keep denying their phone call. I even sent an email to remove me from the call list and email notifications and received another two calls in the process.

    Ill have to call and tell them to remove me from their phone calls.

  4. Thanks for your post……i had signed up for the “free membership” in hopes of connecting with a mentor and networking as i am returning to corporate from owning my own business. after reading your post, i remember several years ago experiencing the same thing and realized this is the same organization that called before. Nice save!!!

  5. Thank you so much. Once I got the expensive offer to join I immediately googled them while on the phone and found your blog. I let the caller know that I was getting red flags from the hard sell and the fact that I was told if I did not join today I could not join. You just saved me some money and hassle.

  6. I came across the website just a couple of days ago, just recieved the call and interview today and got the same little scerario going on. After I told her I wasn’t able to give her a payment she told me that it was now or never and that I couldn’t apply again. I knew something was up when she said that because if they truly about helping women network she could told me to call back or worked out a payment plan or something. Thank God I did my research too. They said the exact same thing to me. I’m look to network with other women but I want to be a part of a legit association. Does anyone have any ideas of any???

  7. I am very thankful that I read this blog. I first heard of them while on LinkedIn, and filled out a form of interest with my contact information. Ever since, I have been bombarded with calls from restricted and unlisted phone numbers at all hours of the day; on both my personal and work numbers. Since I do not answer restricted calls, I did not get to the step of being quizzed and offered an outrageous membership fee. I will definitely be passing this around to my friends warning them also. Thank you!

  8. Thank you thank you thank you soooo much for your honesty about your experience. I just saw them on FB & LinkedIn. I sent the prelim info w my number. I’m glad I came across your post so I don’t need to get involved in this. It’s unfortunate that women who want to excel in their profession and be with like people meet up with issues such as this. Maybe we should start our own group. I live in Nyack, New York Very grateful to have seen your post and get an honest message.

  9. I just got off the phone with Tamika, same exact scenario, but she said all the seminars and webinars where free and 20% discount from the Retailers. So I want to know if anyone has paid that and joined and gotten anything usefull from this or not. I am so disappointed because I was feeling so good about myself. After struggling for almost 2 years with Fibromyalgia I am starting with a great company website and was really looking forward to being part of something important. well I thought it was!
    If anyone has anything good to say about this, say it, was the free membership offering anything at all of use??

  10. Wow–reading all of the comments above I just wanted to chime in that I just got off the phone with someone named Sherry who gave me the same sales pitch–starting at $989.00 for full membership and working her way down to $99. I refused all of it (even after answering her questions) and she quickly got off the phone. The red flag for me was that during her “spiel” she constantly mispronounced common words like “expertise”–at least 3 times she called it “expectise”–if she was reading from a typo in a script she wasn’t bright enough to figure out that “expectise” is not a word. There were a couple of other words she continually misread and at that point I had a pretty good idea of what was going on. Very disappointed in the whole sales pitch but glad I didn’t end up joining.

  11. Ladies, just an idea, but why not check out Score (http://www.score.org/) if you’re looking for mentoring, small business advice, networking, etc. They are an established, well-known, professional group and, most importantly, honest! They provide a huge amount of free information for small business entrepreneurs (though I found they were a great resource no matter what your professional set up is).

    They also run a wide range of workshops, most of which are free. I found them when I was looking at setting up my own business several years ago and their help was invaluable.

    Good luck, everyone!

  12. I just had a very similar call and situation this morning. I told the person I was talking to that it was obvious that she was reading from a script and that before I made any decision I wanted to see the options in writing. She refused to email me information and insisted that they would only send me information in my welcome pack based on which option I told. After going round and round with her, I finally said if she insisted on only sharing additional information with me if and when I purchased a membership that NAPW must be a scam and at that point, hung up on her.

    Good luck to others.

  13. I got this article in a Google search about the organization. I initially became concerned when I asked for more information to be sent to me and there was a hesitant reply. Needless to say, I told her I refused to give my CC to any organization who cannot provide me with a written accounting of benefits prior to purchase. My red flags were going off just like yours and thank you for this article confirming them!

  14. I went through this same “interviewing” experience in November 2011. Luckily my spidey senses kicked in and I told them that I would rather think about joining. I never followed through with signing up for a membership. Thanks for this blog post!

  15. Thanks for sharing your experience! I just got one of these letters and I wanted to see what other women thought of it. I really appreciate your sharing your experience.

  16. I agree. Do not sign up for this bogus organization. It was founder by a con artist who was a so-called direct marketing executive. In other words, he is using the same hard-core marketing tactics that a typical “boiler room” operation would use. Stay away at all costs.

  17. I appreciate your blog! I received their “welcome membership” letter. I completed the online registration, but decided to do a bit of research BEFORE hitting the submit button. I’m so glad that I did! I quickly went back and deleted my information from their form! Thank you so very much!

  18. Thanks from me too! I just got my letter in the mail and was very happy to have found your information before I did anything else. Thanks, thanks, thanks!

  19. I received an offer in the mail yesterday. I was about to sign up online and decided to google the organization. It seemed very professional, however when I saw your blog in the google search I was curious and read it. Thanks to you and the other women who posted their stories. It has saved me a bunch of hassle. Thanks a lot to Cate for posting information on Score http://www.score.org/

  20. I received information in the mail from this BS company today, and the first red flag I encountered was the part where the letter states that I was “considered for this honor because of my outstanding leadership, commitment within my profession and employment at my company”- I just registered my trade name and LLC last week!!! I have not even opened the doors to my business yet! So, I read no further, but I did go online and found this site. I’m sorry for those of you who fell for it. I understand personally how excited many of us are to be moving forward with our businesses, wanting to make something of ourselves, or whatever else our story may be. Best of everything to you all.

  21. Thanks for this well written article. I received an invite both at my business and home address on the same day. I decided to Google and research right away. I’m glad I did. Thank you, small business owner.

  22. Like so many of the earlier posters, I also received a mailing recently with the “special” membership offer. Thank goodness the Google search listed this blog within the first 3 or 4 results because, after reading it, about the last thing I was interested in doing was giving these legal crooks any of my personal information!

    For those of you interested in finding a legitimate women’s business group, you might want to check out the Women’s Business Enterprise Network Council (WEBNC) at http://www.webnc.org. I recently retired from a Fortune 100 company, and I can attest to WEBNC being the go-to organization for certifying and supporting women owned businesses. Their annual conference is always a great place to make contacts with other women, and many Fortune 500 companies have a booth on the exhibitor floor to explore opportunities with business owned by women.

    Thank you, Rachel, for taking the time to help so many of us steer clear of NAPW!

  23. Thank you for all your comments. Like so many others, I gave name and phone number via LinkedIn. I was also called and interviewed and offered the 2 levels of membership. I told caller that I would prefer to review materials she said she’d send before committing to anything. She then offered a lower cost membership. I also said I would review when it arrived in mail. I am so glad I read the comments above. Pat

  24. I have had a similar encounter with NAPW, got the phone call “congratulating” me on being accepted, even though I never went to their website. (red flag) Went through the interview, and then comes the sales pitch. I immediately declined their initial offer, and the young lady on the phone kept persisting in describing all the wonderful benefits I would receive for my $900 membership – networking opportunities, directory listing, travel and other discounts. I continued to refuse her offer, and she persisted with describing “lesser” membership levels for $700, or $500, but these aren’t as good of course as the $900 membership level. (red flag) I told her that I had never heard of the organization and wanted to do some research first before I decided whether to accept their offer. I was also given the “now only” option (major red flag). I then began to describe to the woman on the phone all of the red flags that had come up during our conversation which indicated that the organization was a scam, which she of course denied. Any legitimate organization will allow you to research them prior to making any type of commitment. Professional organizations don’t cold call. High pressure sales tactics aren’t used by professional organizations. Sorry, this organization is a major scam.

  25. Few days ago it happend to me..however it was me who apply directly from little add on Linken? I don’t know what was thinking ..some nice benefits and prestige …. I suppose. Whoever caled me the next day, was nice at the beginning and professional and after the interview, while I was approved obviously ..we started talking about all kinds of fees….I don’t know how it i managed to refuse all these different fees,starting from $900 and up and then we went down to free membership.!! Miracle! !!!!!! . Te woman was upset but very pushy and while she was going down with the fee for lower or rather limited memberhip benefits type she was more aggressive …. Finaly, I did not pay…and I was happy I won!! I am also happy I did not lost my money and I won’t be angry and dissapointed.
    Then I found your web few day later ..so identical situation I went through,,,!!!! ! Unbelievable…
    Thanks for the warring !! Not for me but for others…unfortunately some ladies may be supprised by the phone call and will no have enough power to refuse payment for the membership !!! The way how it goes…it’s not easy to refuse…I felt little umbarased and placed at difficult position…..like an offer you can not refused!!! Don’t be ashamed …just say NO!!!
    Barbara

  26. Thanks so much for your post. I got the same stuff in the mail – I just started my own bisiness – and wondered about the “free membership”. Unfortunately if it sounds to good to be true it probably is. I thought it would be great to get to connect with other small business owner women in my area, but think I will look elsewhere.

  27. I wish I found this post before i got “swindled”! Now i have the joy of trying to cancel my membership before it renews… Any suggestions?

  28. Terri W. — you can always dispute the charge on your credit card and tell the card issuer that the charge isn’t authorized. In fact, you might even want to be proactive and contact the card issuer before the charge shows up, tell them this organization isn’t legitimate, and you specifically want to block any charge they try to make.

    Good luck!

  29. I got the same letter in my mail today. I am a plexus ambassador & making 800$-900$ a month but i figured great way to expand my bussiness. .. i figured i should read reviews first & am sheering the letter ASAP.. thank you soo much & i hope they do not charge you anything.

  30. I also wish I found this post before I was so foolish to agree to this useless membership. I had the same situation happen to me where the original amount was around $700-$800 that they wanted me to fork over. When I declined they offered me a deal of around $100 or so and I foolishly agreed thinking the coupons I would have access too would end up covering most of the cost but then they informed me in order to create my website profile it would cost me an additional $200! I should have just hung up on them at that point but I too felt bad that I had gone through this whole interview. Boy they sure know how to get people suckered in! Since they I have grown a back bone and NOBODY gets anything from me that I don’t want to do 100%. I tried to contact them via their email addresses on the website to shut off the automatic renewal because like heck will I pay for this useless membership again (and did I mention the coupons suck and I didn’t use ANY) and all the email addresses came back as undeliverable. I called the 1-800 number and was connected to a lady who said she would take me off automatic status but questioned why. I thought enough is enough and was up front and honest and said it was because it was a complete waste of money and we will just leave it at that. Worst mistake ever!!! Thank you for all your info in this post though. I’m glad it wasn’t just me who was taken advantage of, it does make me feel better but shame on this company for doing this to people!

  31. Thank you so much for your thorough and well-written post. I just got off the phone with one of these pushy sales people after going through the exact same interview process. At first, I was intrigued by the potential benefits such an organization could offer. And their membership numbers seemed rather impressive. But when the representative started spewing off membership levels with exorbitant price tags, I asked to see a written description of each of the levels and what was included at each level. I was informed that there wasn’t anything I could see in advance but that all the information would be in my “packet” once I paid for it. Nope. Not gonna fall for that! Any legitimate organization will allow you to visit one of their meetings or pay to go as a guest if they want to win your loyalty and membership. These gals just want your money up front. I do not have a need to place their logo on my business card or on my website. I don’t need their marketing to get more business. I simply wanted to network with like-minded business women. I can do that on my own.
    Thanks again for the post. I am glad that they did not charge you. I am hoping that others whom have paid for their memberships are able to get some good use out of them. Best of luck.

  32. So very very glad I decided to search this organization before accepting their seemingly innocent “free” membership. Unfortunately I’ve fallen for scams before so the whole “pre-approved”, “limited enrollment”, and glowing compliments of all my outstanding work (who are you people and how do you know about my work??) were little red flags that caused me to search them on google. I am just awful at holding my ground against pushy sales people. I’ve made up the most elaborate excuses for those door-to-door people but after reading your blog I think I may have done the same thing you did. $99 seems like nothing after being proposed $700-$900, not to mention all the “wonderful” networking benefits, seminars, etc. Thanks for the honest review and boy am I glad I didn’t waste my time (or money!) trying to deal with this organization.

  33. Good save! glad i read this. I missed a call from the number and googled it and got your site. I too received a letter but i should have known that it said a company name that i havent registered yet but use it online but its not official. After reading i realize i use it on linkedin and thats where i was found.
    i too saw the code for the free membership and went ahead and put in my info online. They called me today and i declined when she called me back. I will say the first call i missed i picked up and didnt speak as it was an 866 number so i heard in the background some lady talking real grimey like she didnt know i picked up. I tend to do that for telemarketers which is what they are.

    Linkedin sucks for this. Shame on me.

  34. Also, if you look them up on Wikipedia there is a section at the bottom entitled “Controversy” where it states that the BBB gave them a “C” rating due to complaints. Thank you for the original post!

  35. Received my phone call today and yes, I was accepted also. When she got to the point of how much the membership was, I stopped her and told her I wanted to see all of the options she was speaking about in writing so I could decide. She said they would come in my welcome package AFTER I paid for a membership. I told her I do not spend my hard-earned dollars on anything without evaluating it first. She did not have anything she could send me. I told her, “no thank you”. She then offered me the “free, trial” membership and told me if I am happy with it, I can call her back and let her know that I now wanted to join. I told her that would be impossible since her number came up on my phone as “Blocked/Unknown”. She said you can call the 866 number but never gave it to me. I am glad my instincts took over and I didn’t get drawn in. After my experience, I did a search for “National Association of Professional Women Scam” and I found this article. Thanks for confirming my doubts.

  36. I just got a call from them as well. I was actually excited at first because I’ve always wanted to professionally network with other women, but once she started mentioning the $$$$$$ I said no. My membership dues for other organizations aren’t even this much. Thank you for your posting, I’m glad I trusted my instinct as a professional woman and turned down the offer.

  37. Wow. I cannot believe how many other women were put in the same position. I literally just hung up the phone with “Victoria” who also tried to pressure me into buying a membership. This organization is something else, and I’m so glad this blog/other posts exist to let others know what a scam this is.

  38. I wish I had read this post before I gave up my cc info! I called back and asked them not to process payment. The woman who picked up told me their billing department will be calling me back to confirm the stop payment request. I am going to cover myself and call Amex and ask them not process payment. Ugh! Sometimes bright women do not so bright things…THANKS for posting!

  39. I received a card in the USPS saying I had a free membership. I filled out the online application. I received a call a few days later from an unknown number. I usually don’t answer these, but considering I have a teenager who was not at home at the time, I answered. I immediately knew it was from a boiler room type of atmosphere of telemarketers (you could hear other workers in the background). I answered a few questions & as all others above was offered a $985 membership. I told the caller the card said free. Then I was offered the $785 membership. I told her no way was I paying that kind of money. Then it went down to $199. I never got to the $99. rate. Everytime I asked about the free membership I was ignored & more hard pushing sales tactics were used. I HATE this kind of thing, so when the telemarketer kept refusing to answer my questions, I just hung up. Haven’t heard from them since.

  40. Thank you for this post! It answered a lot of my concerns about this organization which I just declined. I just completed my “interview” with “Nancy” and was a bit upset (politely speaking) to get through the discussion of who I am, what I do, where I see myself yadda, yadda, yadda only to have her try to hook me in for a ridiculous membership fee. I don’t have an issue with paying an acceptable membership fee for a legitimate professional society, but NAPW’s fee is excessive. I’d gone through their website after recieving my card w/ “free” membership code in the mail at my office and didn’t see anything that made me run for the hills. In hindsight, I should have done some additional research before filling out the application and saved myself the wasted phone call and heartburn of the situation. This post took away the guilt of having to say no to “Nancy” when I declined membership since I wasn’t going to let them charge me for anything.

  41. Thank you so much for this. I found the organization on linkedin and they have been calling me at work every day for the past 2 weeks. I googled the phone number and your post came up. I had no idea it was such a scam.

  42. Thank you for post, I wish I had seen your post before I gave my cc. I received the same membership information. I got the $99.00 package. This company need to be reported to the Better Business Bureau. How can we put them out of business?

  43. I just submitted a support ticket to LinkedIn about NAPW’s fraudulent business practices. Here’s what it said:
    ______________________________________________

    The National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) is a heavy advertiser on LinkedIn. However, they are a fraudulent company, and LinkedIn should NOT be giving them a platform to reach unsuspecting businesswomen.

    Fortunately, before responding to an “invitation” received in the mail, or clicking on the NAPW link that seems to be ever present on nearly all LinkedIn screens, I looked online for feedback (good or bad) about this organization. I was completely shocked by what I found:

    http://www.lastsyllable.net/2013/03/15/dont-get-suckered-national-association-of-professional-women/

    Needless to say, after spending 30 mins. reading about other women’s experiences and how completely unethical NAPW is, the membership “invitation” had been ripped up and was in the recycle container.

    One interesting point is that I shared my own experience on this blog about 2 weeks ago. Since my post, there have been other women sharing their negative experiences with NAPW daily, sometimes with posts by multiple women in a single day. Like me, most of these women fortunately found the site — and learned the truth about NAPW — before handing over their credit card information. But how many other women have been taken in by NAPW’s marketing tactics and been ripped off?

    I have yet to find even one positive piece of feedback about NAPW.

    What I don’t understand is why LinkedIn would allow its brand to be associated with such a fraudulent organization. It seems like the right thing for LinkedIn to do would be to cancel its business arrangement with NAPW and disassociate its brand from this bogus organization.
    ______________________________________________

    I think that if LinkedIn starts to get a lot of feedback from people who have discovered NAPW’s real mission — which is to scam as much money as it can while providing minimal to no value in return — LinkedIn will realize the damage being done to its brand and no longer allow NAPW to have an advertising presence on its site. But that means they (LinkedIn) need to receive enough communications on this matter so they can’t dismiss it as a few disgruntled individuals.

    If you haven’t already done so, please submit a support ticket on LinkedIn and tell them about your experiences with NAPW. To do so, go to the Help Center (hover your cursor over your picture in the upper right corner — Help Center is the last option on the Account & Settings drop down). You have to do a search in their Help Center before the Contact Us option becomes available. Once you can click on it, there’ll be a screen with a form you can fill in to provide your feedback about NAPW.

    It may take some time but, with enough negative feedback from members, we can help LinkedIn see it’s in their best interest to kick NAPW to the curb.

  44. Took only 2 hours to get a response from LinkedIn (sent by Adrienne, an Ads Support Specialist). Here’s what she said:
    __________________________________________

    Thanks for contacting us regarding an advertiser on LinkedIn.

    LinkedIn is committed to presenting only professional and legitimate advertisements to its members. We’ll investigate the advertiser in question using the information you provided, and will take appropriate action.

    Thanks again for bringing this advertiser to our attention.
    __________________________________________

    Again, it would be great if LinkedIn heard from other professional women who also feel strongly about LinkedIn severing ties with – and no longer accepting advertising from — NAPW.

  45. Unfortunately I was sucked in as well. Has anyone joined with the $99 “intro” fee and got their money back? I joined in January. Can anyone offer suggestions for a refund?

  46. Thank you very much for your post! I work on a team with a large number of female engineers and I’ve passed your link to all of them.

    Just a reminder. This group is now making big bucks off every person that goes through the interview. All that information is now in their database and they’ll make more than that $989 from each of you by selling it. Don’t be surprised to see more junk email a few weeks to months later. Please, remember, DO NOT GIVE ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION OUT AT ALL to anyone unless it’s a known quantity.

  47. Thank you for posting your experience with NAPW. I received an invitation/acceptance letter for a free membership from them today. The card asked some basic contact information, but I thought I should look them up online before filling it out and sending it in.

    THANK you for your blog; you saved me time and hassles. I will not be returning the card.

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