BBB Business Review
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Direct Marketer of electronic goods. Advertising development, media placement and sales/marketing of consumer goods, seller of the Senior Mobile phone which they began to sell in 2013 and Clear Cast product, and the Web Grabber, a Wi-Fi signal booster, which they began to sell in April 2014.
This business is not BBB accredited.
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Reason for Rating
BBB rating is based on 16 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.
Factors that lowered the rating for Universal Commerce LLC include:
- 37 serious complaints filed against business
- Advertising issue(s) found by BBB
- Business has failed to resolve underlying cause(s) of a pattern of complaints
BBB is in the process of reviewing all aspects of company file to make sure rating is correct.
Customer Complaints Summary Read complaint details
|Complaint Type||Total Closed Complaints|
|Problems with Product/Service||82|
|Total Closed Complaints||217|
Additional Complaint Information
May of 2013, BBB began receiving several calls regarding the company's product called Senior Mobile. Calls have indicated consumer confusion as to what is being offered. BBB investigation revealed that the company is selling a phone designed to appeal to Senior Citizens that comes with minutes. The phone's main feature is highlighted due to its one touch safety button designed to instantly contact emergency medical, police, fire and rescue. The company highlights this service will be provided for free. Consumers should be aware that the FCC’s basic 911 rules require wireless service providers to transmit all 911 calls to a PSAP, regardless of whether the caller subscribes to the provider’s service or not. Consumers need to understand this service is essentially always free. BBB investigations have found that the offer being presented is a prepaid service, and consumers have the option of obtaining additional minutes at cost. Additional advertising concerns are documented in the advertising section of this report.
The company met with the BBB on January 24, 2012 and again on April 4, 2012 to discuss additional changes and/or provide substantiation regarding the ClearCast Digital HDTV . The company provided the BBB with ClearCast Digital HDTVs antennas to be tested by BBB staff. The BBB found that the product does provide some channels without cable or satellite connections. However after testing, the BBB found that the product did not perform as it is claimed in their ad. Additionally, BBB inquiries indicate that because the headline claims that consumers can get rid of cable or satellite bills, consumers are under the impression they will receive the same type of channeling as with their current provider, which the BBB found is not the case. Consumers continue to contact the BBB and state they are confused as to what they are actually getting. As of August 9, 2012 the company has changed their advertising to reflect the accurate number of channels consumers can possibly receive. The number of channels available is determined geographically but can be up to 53 channels. The company has added disclosures that outline and explain what the consumers are actually getting, however the overall impression of the ad has a different implication. The basic principles of the BBB Code of Advertising states "An advertisement as a whole may be misleading although every sentence separately considered is literally true". Consumers are encouraged to read the ad in its entirety and despite deadlines and restrictions, to make sure the company and product is researched prior to purchase in order to make an educated buying decision Consumers should understand that Clear Cast is a digital indoor antenna. The company claims this product can increase VHF and UHF band transmission. According to the company the function of Clear Cast is to utilize digital broadcasting technology for digitally equipped televisions. In order for consumers to receive "over the air" broadcasting and for those who are not equipped the company offers a converter box at a separate cost. Consumers should not compare the Clear Cast antenna to cable or satellite because it is not a cable or satellite service. Since June 12, 2009, full-power television stations nationwide have been broadcasting exclusively in a digital format. Consumers may find additional information about digital broadcast and their options at DTV.gov or by calling 1-888-CALLFCC.
BBB has contacted Universal Commerce, LLC on several occasions concerning a pattern of complaints indicating the HDTV Antenna does not perform as advertised and refunds not being received in a timely manner on the antenna.
Customer Reviews Summary Read customer reviews
|Customer Experience||Total Customer Reviews|
|Total Customer Reviews||0|
Related BusinessesUniversal Media Syndicate, Inc. Heat Surge LLC World Reserve Monetary Exchange
PRODUCT SALES - GENERAL
Products & Services
Universal Commerce LLC offers the following product(s): Clear Cast HDTV Antenna, Senior Mobile Phone, Web Grabber
Alternate Business NamesClear Cast HDTV Antenna Comptek-Senior Mobile Telephone Web Grabber
Universal Commerce is also identified in BBB files as an affiliate of Arthur Middleton Capital Holdings, Inc. as the Parent Company, Universal Media Syndicate, Inc, Heat Surge LLC, Universal Commerce, Inc. and World Reserve Monetary Exchange. A separate report is available for these companies upon request.
On November 17, 2014, the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has recommended that Universal Commerce modify certain advertising claims for Senior Mobile, a cell phone designed for Seniors, to better disclose that the free phone carries a $97 activation fee.
ERSP is an investigative unit of the advertising industry's system of self-regulation and is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. The marketer's advertising came to the attention of ERSP pursuant to its ongoing monitoring program.
ERSP reviewed print advertising claims for Senior Mobile, including:
- "Public set to get easy to use cell phones free"
- "New cell phones aimed at keeping Texas residents safe are being given away free to everyone who beats the 48 hour deadline to cover just the one-time activation fee, but only those Texas area residents who call are also getting nationwide coverage with no long distance charges, no contracts, no deposits and no monthly bills."
- "The only thing residents need to do is call the Toll Fee Hotline before the 48-hour order deadline ends to cover just a one-time activation fee to instantly be awarded the new SeniorMobile cell phone for free."
- "U.S. Gov't urges citizens to carry cell phones."
Senior Mobile is a cell phone designed for seniors that includes a "E" button, a preprogrammed button which allows consumers to make a one-touch call to an emergency dispatch center, instead of dialing 9-1-1.
ERSP determined that the marketer provided a reasonable basis for its position that the advertising has been appropriately identified as a paid advertisement.
The "free" offer for Senior Mobile is reinforced several times in the advertisement. While ERSP did not dispute that the cell phone itself is free, it found that the $97 activation fee was a material condition of the offer. As such, ERSP recommended Universal Commerce clearly and conspicuously disclose material information about the activation and shipping costs in the context of the advertising at issue as it pertains to the "free" offer.
The company, in its marketer's statement, said, "Universal Commerce, LLC, which is committed to ensuring that its advertising is truthful, accurate, and substantiated, appreciates the opportunity to participate in the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program self-regulatory process...While we disagree with ERSP's conclusion that the multiple disclosures in the advertisement that consumers mus pay a $97 activation fee to obtain the phone are not sufficiently clear and conspicuous, Universal Commerce will take ERSP's suggestions into consideration in its future advertisements."