With the unemployment rate above 10 percent, it makes sense to freshen up your resume now. But before you do, beware of what some have called the BLD Resume scam, which my son fell for and which ended up costing me almost $500.
I use the term BLD Resume scam because this company appears to have a long track record of questionable practices that the average reader would conclude is a scam. But since there’s technically nothing illegal about it — at least not yet — I might just call it an ethically-challenged business.
I’m writing about this embarrassing and costly error because it’s filled with important lessons. They include strategies you should adopt right now, such as monitoring your credit card and vetting any company you do business with, especially at a time like this.
And my biggest takeaway: Never, ever, believe a company when it says something is “free.”
How we got scammed by BLD Resume
In February 2019, my then 14-year-old son was working on a project for one of his business classes at his community college. He found a site called Live Career, which allowed him to create a resume for “free.”
There was a catch. To download the resume, it would cost $1.45. When he did that, he glossed over the fine print in the terms, which said that by downloading the resume, he was also agreeing to pay $24.95 per month for the service after the first month.
And since March 2019, LiveCareer.com has been billing my credit card $24.95 per month. The charges showed up on my credit card as BLD Resume.
Why I didn’t notice these charges on my credit card
So why didn’t I notice these charges from BLD Resume on my credit card statement? It’s complicated.
I remember noticing the $1.45 fee and the subsequent $24.95 fee, because I had a conversation with my accountant about it. I recall talking to my son about it and getting his assurances that he would take care of it.
Here’s where things get sticky. The name BLD Resume had nothing to do with the service my son had signed up for, Live Career. That was a little confusing.
I monitor my credit card statement by category, and because the BLD Resume charges were never the same — $1, $1.45 and then $24.95 — my personal finance program had no idea what they were. The algorithm categorized it as “parking,” “restaurants,” “fast food,” and “UNCATEGORIZED.”
Result: I would review my credit card statement and assume that we ate at a restaurant called BLD Resume. Or that I parked somewhere called BLD Resume.
I also have an extremely complicated credit card statement because of my extensive travels. I see a lot of charges that I don’t immediately recognize, and I try to clarify. But it appears that these charges were somehow spread out evenly on my son’s debit card and on my credit card.
It’s very odd. It feels almost as if BLD Resume is trying to avoid detection.
In the end, though, there was no excuse for missing 21 charges from BLD Resume. As some of my dear readers will no doubt say, the $500 is tuition that I deserve to pay. I hear you.
How I tried to resolve this
As soon as I discovered these charges distributed in various categories and on two cards, I put on my consumer advocate hat. Using all of my own problem-solving guidance that I offer consumers, I contacted BLD Resume. Apparently, seeing questionable charges from BLD is such a common issue that another resume company with a similar name created a special landing page to redirect all the queries.
A company called Resume Now, which identified itself the “sister” company of Live Career, handled my questions via chat. I should note that its representatives were quick to answer, which I appreciated.
After some back-and-forth, we figured out what had happened. My son had created an account and agreed to the terms so that he could download his resume for the class.
One resume. That’s all.
I reviewed the Live Career site to see what had gone wrong. My son thought the site would help him create a resume at no cost.
“Make a persuasive resume in just minutes,” it says. “Start today for free!”
There’s no notification on the page that the service costs anything. I tried searching the site for pricing information and couldn’t find any disclosure of the $24.95 monthly fee.
My online chat with Resume Now, the “sister” company, did not go well. Although it readily allowed me to cancel my son’s account, my requests for a refund were met with polite but firm denials.
Resume Now says it had “no record” of a cancellation. (My son says he did indeed cancel the service as he promised but deleted the confirmation email.)
Me: My son says he signed up for a trial account under his student credit card. Then he canceled a few weeks later.
Resume Now: Please keep in mind this information about the recurring charge is provided in four different pages when you are signing up for the trial period I have just resent the email that was sent to you when you purchased the trial period as well, and our records indicate you did view the sales page where this information is provided.
Me: I have $454.85 in erroneous charges. I would like to kindly ask for a refund.
Resume Now: I do apologize but this was agreed to when your son signed up for the trial period.
At that point, I discontinued the chat. I saw no point in giving Resume Now a piece of my mind. Besides, I didn’t know who I was madder at: the company, my son — or myself.
What went wrong?
This is a train wreck. So many things went wrong, it’s hard to know where to start.
Before you tell me I shouldn’t have given a 14-year-old a credit card, let me assure you — I didn’t give him my credit card. He has a student debit card with a strict spending limit. We believe he had previously purchased something on the computer and my credit card information auto-filled.
And yes, I absolutely should have monitored my credit card statement more closely. Much more closely. The complexity of my finances and the quirks of my personal finance software are no excuses. I can’t say that enough times.
But we were also dealing with a business that appears to be preying on some of the most desperate people in America: the unemployed.
The company seems to be luring consumers on to its site with a promise of a “free” resume. Then it charges them a nominal fee to download the resume. And then, buried in the fine print, it forces you to agree to a $24.95 monthly charge.
And what do you get for $24.95 per month? The ability to create more resumes. That’s vastly overpriced.
Is BLD resume a scam?
I tend to agree with those who would call BLD Resume a scam. For 18 months, my son didn’t receive a single email from Live Career. Normally, if you’re a customer, you can expect to get instructions on how to make the most of your $24.95 monthly subscription, right? (Here’s what you need to know about travel and money.)
But only after he canceled did he start receiving emails from the company begging him to come back. Maybe Live Career understood, based on his usage patterns, that he didn’t know he had an active account. Emailing him would have tipped him off and possibly initiated a cancellation.
Interestingly, Live Career lowered its price to $4.95 per month after I canceled. That’s a little bit more reasonable, but the product is still vague, beyond offering the ability to create a basic resume. In the email offer, it says Live Career also offers a “Resume Matching Score,” an “Instant Cover Letter,” a “Job Apply Tool,” and “Job Alerts.” I’m not sure what those are, but they are not worth $4.95 a month to my college-age son, and at $24.95 a month, they are absurdly, unconscionably overpriced.
This looks like a textbook case of unfair and deceptive advertising. Yet it is also perfectly legal.
It shouldn’t be. Someone should stop BLD Resume, Bold LLC and its companies Live Career and Resume Now from luring in students and unemployed people with a promise of a “free” resume. It’s wrong.
Essential lessons from the BLD Resume scam
I told you there were a lot of lessons for the rest of us. And here they are:
- Read the fine print very carefully. My son is a responsible young man, but when he signed up to download his resume he was in a rush to meet a class deadline. Based on what I know about BLD Resume and Resume Now, they are counting on you glossing over the fine print.
- Always, always monitor your credit card statements. I now get text messages for every charge on my credit card, and so does my son for his debit card. We have regular appointments to review our charges together to ensure this will never happen again. Also, beware of autofills on your computer.
- Free is a lie. If a company offers something for free, don’t walk away — run! That’s true for a resume building site, a hotel giving you “free” points or a timeshare offering you a “free” dinner if you attend a presentation. None of this is free. There’s always a catch. Always!
I contacted Bold LLC with some questions about its business practices. It did not respond.
I called my bank and a representative recommended that I file a credit card chargeback. My bank agreed to dispute five charges worth $124. Separately, I received a message from BLD Resume offering to refund three charges “as a courtesy to you.” (Rejected: Money talks: How one small change in my personal finance led to a big discovery.)
My bank rejected the dispute.
I would like it all back, of course. My son’s BLD Resume account at Live Career has been inactive since February 2019. Their representatives could have seen that we were paying for something we didn’t use and issued a quick refund. But I guess that’s how money can be made these days — through weasel words, empty promises and outright deception.
I may never get my money back, but at least I can warn others of the BLD Resume scam. Don’t fall for it.
Or, as this Reddit reviewer so eloquently put it, “stay the f**k away from this one.”