DAYTON, OHIO, February 11, 2009 - Your Better Business Bureau is warning job hunters to beware of opportunities to work from home processing rebates. While the job offer may claim you can earn up to a thousand dollars a day without leaving home, your BBB has received hundreds of complaints from victims nationwide who never earned a dime and were, in fact, ripped off for hundreds of dollars in upfront fees.
With the nation’s unemployment rate expected to hit a 25-year high in early 2009, work-at-home Web sites promising big money for little or no experience are extremely tempting. In 2008 alone, more than 1 million people checked with your BBB about the legitimacy of companies offering work-at-home jobs. Unfortunately, your BBB warns most work-at-home opportunities, such as supposed rebate processing jobs, are ultimately scams.
"With the nation’s unemployment rate hitting double digits in some states, more families are desperately searching for ways to bring in income and these rebate processing scams lure them in with promises of big money for little work or no experience," said John North, BBB president and CEO. "No one ever wants to lose money, but in these hard times, job hunters are getting scammed when they can least afford it."
According to complaints on file and research conducted by your Los Angeles Better Business Bureau and your BBB serving Central, Coastal and Southwest Texas, the larger offenders — which have racked up hundreds of complaints from people nationwide — operate under such names as Angel Stevens and Cindy Dalton with Web addresses, including www.processathome.com and www.rebateprocessorjobs.com. While the names might be different, the scam remains the same.
Victims stated they paid upfront fees from $40 to over $500 for trial programs earning money by processing rebates from home. By representing the opportunity is affiliated with 11,000 companies, including some household names like Hewlett Packard and Home Depot, complainants are deceived into thinking offers are legitimate.
Instead of guidance and rebate processing starter kits, victims report receiving instructions on how to make money by sending e-mails, posting blogs and paying for ads on the Internet to sell various products. The products being sold are marketed with rebates and victims allegedly make money by receiving percentages of sales for products sold as a result of the ads they placed.
"Adding insult to injury, recent complainants state after paying initial fees of $359, they find their credit cards or checking accounts are charged each month thereafter for $59. The charges continue even though the victims cancel and demand refunds," John added.
Complainants allege they’re victims of misleading advertising and demand their money back. A few complainants who decided to try placing Internet ads to earn money became dissatisfied after spending even more money on ads and additional training, but still failed to make the amounts advertised.
The marketing language on rebate processing Web sites makes offers sound risk-free and usually advertises "90-day money back guarantees" or "100% Satisfaction Guarantee," but complainants state the companies failed to honor the guarantees. If they respond to refund requests at all, it’s usually with excuses for not making refunds.
Your BBB offers the following advice to help job hunters avoid being taken by work-at-home scams:
Contact your BBB for more information on the threat of work-at-home scams. Visit www.bbb.org or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.
About Your BBB Serving Dayton and the Miami Valley
Your BBB is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses earning BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. Your BBB provides objective advice, free business BBB Reliability ReportsTM and charity BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, your BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 126 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring nearly 4 million local and national businesses and charities. Your BBB serving Dayton and the Miami Valley serves Montgomery, Greene, Clark, Darke, Miami, Preble, Shelby and northern Warren counties. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information about your BBB.