BBB Cautions on Continuous Going Out of Business Office Supply Sales

  
     
July 28, 2014
 
Dallas, TX, July 28, 2014 -- A Better Business Bureau investigation into an office supply company called Omni Services of Gainesville, Texas, found that Omni targets other businesses, schools and non-profit organizations using deceptive telemarketing techniques to sell large amounts of overpriced office supplies. According to complaints, Omni Services calls a business and says that Omni is going out of business and liquidating, and offers to sell office supplies for a very low cost. If the customer agrees, the prices and amounts of supplies are listed in a very confusing manner so the customer has a very unclear idea of what is being ordered. The customer receives a shipment of far more supplies than intended, with an invoice far higher than what was expected.
 
“For years Omni Services has been claiming to be going out of business, giving businesses and organizations the impression that they must act fast to get low, close-out prices on office supplies,” said Jeannette Kopko, spokesperson for BBB Serving Dallas and Northeast Texas. “BBB cautions businesses and organizations to train employees to be wary of distress pitches for goods supposedly at bargain prices.”
 
Customer complaints from across the country reveal that this business has been employing the same deceptive practices for almost 17 years. Since July, 2011, which is BBB's standard reporting period, BBB has received 108 complaints on Omni Services. The company has been in business since 1997, and also has done business as Liberty Supply Co., Inc., Star Business Systems, and Talon Products. Omni Services has a BBB rating of F, due to the number of complaints, 9 of which are unresolved, as well as concerns about the nature of the business practices.
 
One complaint from a business in Mullan, Idaho, from October, 2013, states, “I was called by someone who identified herself from a local office supply store that was liquidating and had a limited number of items on the shelf.  As a school she offered me a deal and quoted me prices for items and led me to believe that it was a box price not a per-item price … She quoted a box of pens then I get the bill and each pen in the box is the price she quoted.”

In July, 2014, a woman from Tennessee complained, “Telephone call offered supplies from a warehouse in Athens, TN that was selling items at cost. NO dollar amount given, but est. $200. BILL WAS $5,900.  When items and invoiced arrived, we called to return items. We were required to pay shipping even though no boxes were opened and sales person was CLEARLY DISHONEST. No school should be called by this organization!!”

BBB also found a connection between this business and another office supply company, Sharp Supply Co. of Denton, Texas.  Chanse Slater, who has been the president of Sharp since it started in 2004, was previously the president of Omni Services. 

Complaints against Sharp Supply Co. are similar to those against Omni Services.  The complaints allege that Sharp even goes so far as to obtain the names of high ranked employees at the targeted business to insist that those employees approved the purchase of supplies. 

There’s more history under the name of Liberty Supply. In 2000, Chanse Slater and Liberty Supply of Gainesville, TX, doing business as Star Business Systems, signed an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance with the Oregon Attorney General’s office. The state noted that one Oregon business was misled that Liberty Supply was in Oregon, and “received many times more supplies than what [the customer] had ordered.” Without admitting any law violation, Liberty Supply agreed, among other things, not to telemarket in Oregon until registered as required in the state, and to make full refunds to all customers for transactions before the date of the assurance.

Customers complain that both Omni Services and Sharp Supply Co. refuse to accept returned office supplies or offer refunds for the purchases. In response to complaints filed with BBB, Omni Services typically disputes the claims but provides refunds for returned products in good condition.

BBB advises businesses, schools and non-profit organizations that receive calls offering office supplies to:

  • Be familiar with the business making the offer.
  • Make sure all employees know who is authorized to make purchases.
  • Be wary of distress pitches, such as claims that a company is going out of business, or high pressure sales, such as claims that an offer is good for only a short time. 
  • Have a clear idea of what is being purchased and how much it will cost before agreeing to it.
  • Check invoices to make sure purchases are authorized.
  • Check out businesses at bbb.org. Free BBB Business Reviews include contact information, BBB Rating from A+ to F, reasons for the rating, customer complaint summary (if any), and more.

ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2013, people turned to BBB more than 132 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 112 local, independent BBBs across North America, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation. BBB Serving Dallas and Northeast Texas was founded in 1920 and serves 13 counties in Northeast Texas.