In an effort to keep the media and public informed, the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina offers monthly BBB Consumer Alerts as potential story or interview ideas. Readers should take into consideration the importance of the practice in question and the total performance of a company. This list is current as of release date. Information regarding business or consumer topics reported here can be obtained through the BBB office by contacting email@example.com.
APX Alarm Security Solutions Inc. is based in Utah, but operates locally from a residential address in Raleigh. This company sells home security systems door-to-door. Complaints and inquiries regarding APX Alarm Security Solutions Inc. claim the company’s marketing practices are misleading and the quality of the security system is poor or not properly installed. APX Alarm Solutions Inc. was one of BBB’s 25 most inquired about companies in May, June and July of 2009. A total of 1557 complaints have been processed by BBB on this company in the past 36 months. City and state governments in Louisiana, Utah, Maryland and Wisconsin have taken action against APX Alarm Security Solutions Inc. Consumers are encouraged to exercise caution and warned to not be pressured into buying something that isn’t wanted or needed by a door-to-door salesperson. APX Alarm Solutions Inc. currently has a BBB rating of D-.
Great Fun is a buying club and group purchasing service that operates under the name Affinion Group Inc. The business is based in Connecticut and contacts consumers who have purchased products they have seen in magazines or on television ads, including the wearable blanket called a Snuggie or the Aqua Globe plant watering bulbs. After purchasing products like those described above, consumers receive a rebate check for $8.95 from Great Fun. On the back of the check is a disclaimer that is easy to overlook before cashing that authorizes Great Fun to charge a membership fee to the credit card on file from the product purchase. By cashing this check, consumers are inadvertently agreeing to membership funds of $149.99 annually. Consumers are given a trial period of thirty days, but if they do not cancel the membership they will continue to be charged. BBB warns consumers to be weary of unsolicited checks from unfamiliar sources.
AutoVantage Enhanced is a buying club and group purchasing service that also operates under the name Affinion Group Inc. This company contacts consumers who purchase items from “Catalog Favorites, A Showcase of Catalog Best-Sellers.” They mail legitimate checks for $10.00 to the consumer with a disclaimer on the back that is easy to overlook when cashing. Once the check is cashed, consumers’ accounts will be charged a monthly fee of $15.99 to the credit card on file from the Catalog Favorites’ records. If the membership is not canceled, the consumer will continue to be charged and the monthly fee will increase to $16.99 each month after the first year. Similar to caution issued with the related company of AutoVantage Enhanced, Great Fun, BBB cautions consumers to be weary of unsolicited checks and encourages consumers to read the fine print that accompanies any checks.
Flatiron Financial Services Inc., doing business under the name of Peak5, was based in Colorado and ceased operations July 10, 2009. According to information found on the Peak5 Web site, the loans previously under their management have been transferred to new loan servicers. The majority of loans were transferred to Systems & Services Technologies Inc. and Auto Portfolio Services Inc. BBB has seen an increase in inquiries and complaints from consumers trying to reach their new servicers and getting discouraged when they cannot reach the new providers to make last-minute payments. Consumers with loans provided through Peak5 are advised to contact each of the servicers mentioned above to determine how to follow through with their terms and agreements.
Compliance Services has mailed solicitations to small businesses offering to process corporate meeting minutes. For a fee of $125, this organization claims they will maintain “required” records and meeting minutes from small business board meetings. BBB urges extreme caution. Despite what the letters marked “Annual Minutes Requirement Statement” may imply, North Carolina business entities are not required by law to file corporate meeting minutes with the N.C. Secretary of State’s office. This company has targeted small businesses in other states and is not associated with any state or federal government agency. Companies are not required, as implied in the solicitation, to submit the information requested, or pay any money to retain their corporate status. Careful reading of the notice will reveal the true nature of the offer. The text ahead of the disclaimer describes this company as a “service that assists corporations to avoid possible penalties and fines with state and government agencies." Compliance Services currently has an “F” rating with BBB.
Advantage Lending Services is an alleged insurance provider claiming to operate from 6032 Creedmoor Road in Raleigh, but this address does not exist. This business is a scam and is not to be confused with Advantage Lending LLC, which is a legitimate company operating from a location at 6030 Creedmoor Road in Raleigh. Scammers using Advantage Lending's name are calling consumers, telling them they have been approved for a large loan, and requesting several deposits and fees to secure the loan. After repeated calls and requests for refunds, consumers have not been reimbursed. Advantage Lending Services has an “F” rating with BBB. BBB warns consumers to be cautious of businesses and charities with names that may sound similar to reputable names and brands.