RALEIGH, N.C. (September 22, 2009) ― Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina (www.bbb.org) warns consumers to beware of bogus work at home offers that are internet-based. Complaints have been filed nationwide against two internet companies highlighted in the BBB Consumer Alerts for September 2009.
“At a time when many people are looking for employment, the internet can be very useful for job searches and applications,” said Beverly Baskin, President and CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina. “It is important for consumers to remember that not all job offers on the internet can be trusted and online work at home offers may sound like an easy option but they often result in people losing hundreds of dollars.”
3HourProfits.com of Minnesota charged one Wilson consumer to begin applying their internet marketing concepts and claimed the consumer would start making a profit within the first three hours of work. After paying, the consumer was re-routed through PayDotCom.com to set up an account for the commissions she would make. The site would not let her log-in to set up, and after contacting 3HourProfits.com multiple times she has yet to receive a response or reimbursement for the $39 start up fee. 3HourProfits.com is also operating under the name of Force One Events, Inc. and they claim to be ‘ranked #1 on BBBReviews.org.’ BBBReviews.org is in no way associated with the Better Business Bureau. The name is misleading, but neither 3HourProfits.com nor Force One Events, Inc. is a BBB Accredited Business. Force One Events, Inc. has failed to respond to several complaints and has an “F” rating with BBB.
iJango is a Texas based, multi-level marketing company claiming consumers can pay an upfront fee of $50 to join the program, but recommends purchasing a package for $149.95 and a monthly maintenance fee of $19.95. More than 3,400 people nationwide have contacted BBB to inquire about iJango since August 1, 2009. The site is being marketed heavily on Web sites, including YouTube and Twitter, through spam e-mail campaigns and at in-person sales presentations across the country. The company further claims that consumers participating in the program will earn income by recruiting other individuals and commissions that are generated by traffic and purchases on their Web site. BBB has recently received complaints concerning the ease of use of the iJango portal, delayed availability of materials and alleged difficulty in canceling membership. The company has responded to some consumers by stating that they have issued, or will issue a refund. iJango has earned a BBB rating of “F.”
BBB recommends consumers exercise extreme caution when evaluating any business opportunity and consider the following advice in order to make an informed decision:
• Avoid any work plan that places primary emphasis on commissions for recruiting additional distributors. It may be an illegal pyramid scheme.
• Beware of plans that require purchase of expensive products and marketing materials upfront. These plans may be pyramid schemes in disguise.
• Beware of plans that claim to sell miracle products or promise enormous earnings.
• Don't pay or sign any contracts in an "opportunity meeting" or any other pressure-filled situation without first taking time to think over the decision. Talk it over with a family member, friend, accountant or lawyer.
• Remember that no matter how good a product may be or how solid a multi-level marketing plan appears, an investment of time, as well as dollars, may be needed for your investment to pay off. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
For more advice you can trust from BBB on how to avoid common scams, visit www.bbb.org.
About BBB serving Eastern North Carolina:
The Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina is a 501 (c)(6) not-for-profit corporation serving 33 counties in Eastern North Carolina. The organization is funded primarily by BBB Accredited Business fees from more than 2,900 local businesses and professional firms. The BBB promotes integrity, consumer confidence and business ethics through business self-regulation in the local marketplace. Services provided by the BBB include, reports on companies and charitable organizations, general monitoring of advertising in the marketplace, dispute resolution services, and consumer/business education programs. All services are provided at no cost to the public, with the occasional exception of mediation and arbitration. Visit www.bbb.org.
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Consumer Alerts for September 2009
In an effort to keep the media and public informed, the Better Business Bureau serving 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kitchen Gadgetry is based in Cary and claims to be a kitchenware and restaurant equipment distributor on their website. BBB has noticed a pattern of complaints against this business concerning delivery and refund issues. On August 4, 2009 the company was invited to meet with the BBB to discuss ways to correct the underlying cause of the complaints. The company has failed to respond to our request. Due to issues including Kitchen Gadgetry’s failure to respond to complaints filed against them and a lack of sufficient background information on this business, this company has an “F” rating with BBB.
UPS Tracking Scam emails are circulating to business and residential email boxes locally. The emails provide a tracking number of letters and numbers, along with a short message saying the package was not able to be delivered because the recipient’s address is not correct. The email requests the recipient to open the attachment to find an invoice copy that must be brought into the Post Office to collect the package. Consumers who have opened the attachments on these emails have found the attachment to automatically download a banking Trojan Virus to their computer. This Trojan Virus disables firewalls, steals sensitive financial data (credit card numbers, online banking login details), makes screen snapshots, downloads additional components, and provides a hacker with unauthorized, remote access to the compromised system. BBB reminds consumers to be wary of email attachments from an unknown source.
Resort Equity Marketing is a Florida-based advertising company that offers to list timeshares for sale or rent on the Internet, shows, and events in a "for sale by owner" medium. The company charges an advance fee based upon number of units through various sources. A Raleigh consumer called BBB to inquire about the company after receiving a call offering to help them sell back a timeshare. BBB has given Resort Equity Marketing an “F” rating for a pattern of complaints concerning misrepresentation in selling practices. According to complainants, company representatives distorted the length of time it would take for the timeshare to sell and failed to respond to phone calls. If you have been contacted by a company offering to sell or rent your timeshare the BBB advises using caution, especially if an advance fee is involved.
Unsolicited and scam spam can be annoying and at times take over in your email inbox. Email provides a way for marketers to reach more people quickly, but also provides an opportunity for more scammers to cheat consumers out of their money. If you receive spam email that you think is deceiving, you can forward it to email@example.com. The FTC uses the spam stored in this database to pursue law enforcement actions against people who send misleading email.
The Pharmacy Technician Education & Training Institute is based in Durham and claims to be the “Home Of The Accelerated Pharmacy Tech Course” on their Web site. They offer a Pharmacy Technician certificate in as little as four months, but according to the North Carolina Community College System, Government Boards and Commissions, this firm has refused to complete a preliminary application in order to determine the status of the organization. BBB suggests students make sure the college or university they are enrolling in is accredited from one of the six regional accreditation boards. The U.S. Department of Education has a searchable database of accredited post-secondary schools at: http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation.
3HourProfits.com, also known as Force One Events, Inc., is a work-at-home company that claims on their website to produce profit for consumers working from home within the first three hours of work. This Minnesota-based company claims that you are able to earn up to $15,000 per month with just a computer and the internet. 3HourProfits.com is not a BBB Accredited Business, but on the company’s website says they are “rated number one with the BBB.” This company currently has an “F” rating with BBB because BBB due to the industry in which this business operates, a lack of background information on this company, and failure to respond to three complaints.
iJango is offering seemingly lucrative opportunities for current job seekers. According to the website of the Austin, Texas based company, iJango is a multi-level marketing company claiming consumers can pay an upfront fee of $50 to join the program, but recommends purchasing a package for $149.95 and a monthly maintenance fee of $19.95. The company further claims that consumers participating in the program will earn income in two ways: the recruitment of other individuals to purchase the opportunity and the recruitment of registered customers in addition to commission on iJango’s commissions that are generated by Web site traffic and purchases through iJango Web site “portals.” However, complaints received by BBB allege concerns with the delayed availability or use of the iJango portal. This company has an “F” rating from the BBB. BBB warns consumers to be exercise extreme caution when considering tempting work-at-home promotions that offer "easy money."
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