It seems Barnes & Noble is in the final stages of shutting down Fictionwise, the ebookstore they acquired in 2009 and then closed in December 2012, and as part of settling outstanding debts B&N has decided to offer refunds to ex-Fictionwise customers who still had a store credit or time left on their Buywise Club membership.
The email comes via a company called PenChecks.com, and after looking into them I am pretty sure that they are legit. A google search did not show any signs of questionable activity, the reimbursement process did not raise any red flags, and this firm was even mentioned on the Fictionwise website.
If you haven't gotten one, the email says that I have about a week to sign up with PenChecks in order to get a "cash reimbursement" from Fictionwise. They ask me to go to a website, enter the code, and fill out a form.
I'm sure everyone reading this is as concerned as I was about being scammed, so I went ahead and completed the process. PenChecks already had nearly all of my contact info (email, street address, name, phone number), so all I had to do was check a few boxes, confirm that I wanted to get my check, and I was done.
Note: I was not asked for credit card info, bank account routing details, or any other personal info that a scammer would want. I was as concerned as you are, so I want to make that point clear.
According to PenChecks, I'm getting about $45 back as a check. That was a surprise; I didn't think my membership was still valid when Fictiownise shut down. I was under the impression it had expired, but I guess I was wrong.
This is going to make a nice little bonus to go along with all the Fictionwise ebooks which were transferred to my B&N account in early 2012. I was luckier than most; B&N managed to get my entire library transferred. Many former Fictionwise customers (who aren't visible ebook bloggers) weren't so lucky - and don't get me started on Fictionwise's international customers, who were shafted.
RE: Fictionwise Buywise Club Membership
Dear Fictionwise Buywise Club Account Holder,
This email is to inform you that Fictionwise.com will be providing you with a cash reimbursement of the Buywise Club Membership that you enrolled in at Fictionwise.com. This reimbursement has been prorated based on the end of sales at Fictionwise.com in December 2012. Fictionwise has contracted with PenChecks, the nation’s largest independent distribution processor, to facilitate this distribution.
To complete the distribution process, please update your information as prompted in the mailing address update form at https://pm2.PenChecks.com . Please note that all updates must be confirmed by 2/5/2014.