As part of its November 2008 Consumer Alerts, The Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina is warning consumers to be cautious of a new telephone scam targeting individuals with the offer of a free gift.
[USPRwire, Fri Nov 14 2008] The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Eastern North Carolina (www.bbb.org) warns consumers and businesses to be cautious when dealing with companies calling them to offer free gifts. Complaints are being filed throughout the country regarding a telephone scam being carried out.
Highlighted in the November 2008 BBB Consumer Alerts, Indiana-based Lighting Products Company is offering a free gift to consumers after they verify their name and phone number. Once they receive the information, the company usually sends two boxes of light bulbs with two invoices amounting to $600-$700, whether the light bulbs were requested or not. If consumers refuse to pay, a 25 percent restocking fee is charged, plus shipping and handling. Consumers and business owners also report that they did not received the free gift. This company has the BBB’s lowest rating.
“Consumers and business owners should use caution when providing information to an unknown or unverified caller,” says Beverly Baskin, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina. “Scammers may use even simple verification of phone number or name to justify acceptance of their offer.”
For more information on how to protect against fraudulent callers, visit www.bbb.org.
About BBB of Eastern North Carolina:
The Better Business Bureau of 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 3,200 local business 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 NOVEMBER 2008
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.
The Tax Club offers tax preparation software ($150 to $1,500) and assistance to help to set up a consumer’s own corporation. However, consumers allege the company makes them do all the work without any assistance from the company. And, in some cases, the consumer was required to purchase additional software, although the membership package stated that everything was included. More than 120 complaints have been filed against this New York company, and they have an unsatisfactory rating with the BBB.
DirecTV, Inc. has 22,010 complaints filed against them, generally alleging problems relating to billing disputes and discrepancies concerning pre-paid programming, introductory specials, or late statements resulting in late fees. Other complainants report inadequate customer service and inability to contact the company. The majority of their complaints have been resolved.
Gas Card Con Men are calling consumers offering free gas, but there is a $1.97 shipping fee. The caller just needs your credit card number. The caller ID shows up as “Unknown Caller.” They’re probably calling from another country using a disposable cell phone. All the caller wants is your credit card number. Don’t give it to them; it’s a scam.
Imperial Majestic Cruise/Plaza Resorts is contacting consumers across the country about a vacation they have “won.” According to an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance signed with the Florida Attorney General’s Office (2006), the company agrees to give the actual company name, disclose any additional fees, advise if fees are non-refundable, and inform consumers that one of the conditions is a “guided tour of a vacation ownership resort.” More than 1,220 complaints have been filed against this Florida company, and they have the BBB’s lowest rating.
Lighting Products Company, an Indiana company, is calling consumers and businesses. In order to receive a free gift, consumers are asked to verify their phone number, and then their name. Then, the consumer is usually sent 2 boxes of light bulbs with 2 invoices amounting to $600-$700, whether the light bulbs were requested or not. If the consumer refuses to pay, a 25% restocking fee is charged, plus shipping and handling. Consumers and business owners also report that they did not receive the free gift. Complaints are being filed from consumers all over the country. This company has the BBB’s lowest rating.
Consumer Resource Network/Kohl Group sells publications containing information on foreclosures and auctions of personal property. The BBB has found the information can be found in local newspapers. One consumer thought he was buying a single book. He was debited $39.95 a month for a year before he discovered the problem. Complainants allege unauthorized charges and difficulty in obtaining refunds. This California company has the BBB’s lowest rating.
Union Workers Credit Services is mailing a solicitation offering a credit card; but after paying $37, consumers are surprised to find they can only use the cardboard card to buy items from the company’s catalogue. More than 360 complaints have been filed against this Texas company, and they have an unsatisfactory rating.