BBB Weekly Tips You Can Trust Week of June 9th, 2008

  
     
June 09, 2008

Compiled by Zan Deery, Communications/Investigations

06/09/08

zan@spokane.bbb.org
800-356-1007 or 509-455-4200

www.bbb.org

Readers of these tips should take into consideration the importance of the practice in question and the total performance of a company.

For complete information and BBB reports, please visit
 
www.bbb.org 

TIP NUMBER ONE

VIL MALL, INC.
QUESTIONABLE ONLINE COMPUTER and ELECTRONIC SALES

The BBB wishes to alert you to an online company by the name of:
 
VIL MALL, INC.
6002 Slide Rd. #F8             (Main office USA)
Lubbock, TX  79414
806-577-4783 phone & fax
 
Av. De Aragon 4
Madrid, 28022, Spain

(Europe billing department)
Via Palascio 11
Rome, 00151, Italy
 
The web site:  www.vilmall.com was registered on May 29, 2008 through DomainPeople, Inc. and the registrant name is:  WhoIsProtector, Inc. out of Chicago.
 
They are selling electronics and computers for “110% guaranteed lowest prices”! Customer reports are relaying their prices were “too good to be true,” for example, one potential customer was looking for a television which retails for around $4,000 in TX and this internet site is selling it for about $1,000. 

The address on this company’s web site is the South Plains Mall (SPM) in Lubbock,TX and F8 an Eddie Bauer store. SPM office does not have any company named VIL MALL, INC. registered in the mall.  The manager of the local Eddie Bauer store knew nothing about it and stated she would contact their corporate offices which are in the Seattle area. 

The phone number given on the web site is a landline that is currently disconnected.  The only payments this group will take are 1) Wire transfer, 2) e-gold, 3) or PayPal.

The BBB warns people to exercise caution if dealing with this company, and if you have an unresolved issue concerning this company, file a formal complaint with your BBB as well as your Attorney General’s Office.

TIP NUMBER TWO 

G&G Resource Group LLC Sending Postcards
for 90 Minute Presentations at Local Hotel

The BBB wishes to bring the mailing of postcards offering flight discounts for attending a presentation at a local hotel to our service area’s attention since we are getting calls inquiring about this offer. The postcard, which has the Delta and United Airlines logos on it offers this information:

Dear (name),

You are cordially invited to the (hotel name) located in (city, state) to preview our product and services.* As the exclusive distributor in Washington of Travel To Go, a San Diego based travel agency, G&G Resource Group would like to present a unique approach to vacationing that Travel To Go has to offer.

As a guest you will receive 2 round trip airfares to anywhere in the continental U.S.**
We are very excited for you!

Hours to call: Monday-Friday 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM  Saturday 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM (PST)

CALL NOW TO RESERVE YOUR SEATS! 800-690-1149 Seating is limited to two qualified** adults.
FIRST 100 CALLERS RECEIVE BONUS! DIGITAL CAMERA!

This is not a Timeshare or Vacation Ownership Program, and there is no obligation to purchase.  Delta and United Airlines are not sponsors of this promotion, but are suppliers.

*90 minutes minimum.
**Certain restrictions apply.

Customers calling were asking where the company was located. G&G Resource Group LLC is registered with the Washington Secretary of State at the following address:

2811 62nd St. CT. NW
Gig Harbor, WA  98335-1352 

A very similar postcard, with similar layout and wording has been brought to the BBB’s attention from other parts of the country. Same offer, same pitch. Random postcards are sent in the mail claiming you’ve won two roundtrip tickets to anywhere in the U.S. and need to call a phone number to receive the prize.

Potential customers report that they are required to attend a sales pitch where they are told that for between $3,000 and $6,000 they can purchase software that will allow them to access special travel deals.

BBB TIPS

Compare discount prices given with other discount offers. Do your homework before signing up at any sales presentation and read the fine print. Don’t just say yes over the phone. Ask for any agreements in writing and understand your terms and conditions before agreeing to any such offers.

If you have any unresolved issues concerning your deal, file a formal complaint with the BBB and the WA State AG’s Office.

The right to cancel

If you join a travel club and the presentation is done at a hotel or some other location that is not the club’s normal place of business, you have three days to cancel. Federal law guarantees this cooling off period. If the pitch takes place in the club’s office, you’re a member the minute you sign the contract.

TIP NUMBER THREE

LATEST ADVANCE FEE LOAN SCAM:
Warburg Lending

The Better Business Bureau has received numerous inquiries regarding Warburg Lending and urges extreme caution prior to contacting this company. Consumers have reported to the BBB that this company advertises in local classified newspapers under the heading, "Need Financial Assistance."

After contacting the company, using the number listed in the advertisement, consumers receive a legitimate looking loan contract to sign and return, usually by fax. The contract, which was obtained by the BBB, informs consumers that they must "pre-pay" the first four installments before they can receive their loan at 8 percent.

Once the company receives the contract, applicants are told that their loan is approved and to wire the advance fee to Canada in amounts ranging from $260-$475 per month. After the money is received in Canada, consumers are contacted by Warburg and told that the lender has reassessed the loan and wants four more installments to be sent to Canada because of their credit rating.

Again, consumers are guaranteed that the loan will be transferred as soon as the advance fee reaches Canada. After the second payment is received, the company calls and states that the lender has backed out of the loan, but they have another lender that is willing to double the loan amount for the same low interest rate. The only catch is that they also need another four installments in advance.

The BBB has also found that Warburg Lending is not located at the Sioux Falls, SD address listed on materials provided to consumers.

TIP NUMBER FOUR

NORTH IDAHO BE WARY OF FLY-BY-NIGHT PAVERS
CIRCULATING IN IDAHO

This BBB services North Idaho and usually shares the same concerns each year about seasonal fly-by-night pavers that usually start out in Boise, and make their way through the state, attempting to con susceptible and vulnerable customers. We wish to share this wonderful warning from Boise BBB area media resource, KTVB with our own service area in case this activity hits North Idaho. Be forewarned!

KTVB, BOISE -- The Better Business Bureau and Ada County Sheriff's deputies are warning the public about a group of scam artists selling paving services to Treasure Valley homeowners.

The BBB alerted local law enforcement agencies after receiving reports of residents paying thousands of dollars to the pavers for poor quality work.

In the past fews days, several victims reported being scammed in Canyon County.

“We’re hearing several reports of an out-of-state company soliciting their paving services door-to-door,” said BBB president and CEO Dale Dixon.  “They knock on the door, say they have left-over materials from a paving project down the road, and they’d like to offer a great price to pave your driveway so they can get rid of the asphalt.”

Most of the complaints are from homeowners in the Middleton area, but deputies believed they could be headed to Ada County soon.

“Do your homework.  Call the Idaho Contractors Board or the Better Business Bureau and make sure any company you plan to deal with is a legitimate one,” said Ada County Sheriff's detective Mike Taddicken.  “If you wait until they have your money, it may be too late.”

Dixon said they have received reports of homeowners writing checks to the pavers for $2,000 to $10,000.  When consumers inspect the work – after the pavers have left – they find it is very poor quality.
Idaho law requires all contractors to be registered with the state.
The pavers have failed to secure city soliciting permits and state contractor’s licensing.  They are working out of late-model pickups with out-of-state license plates.

The BBB recommends you avoid doing business with an out-of-state company claiming to offer you a great deal on asphalt paving.
Anyone who believes they have been a victim of this type of scam is urged to call their County Sheriff’s Office to report the activity.
BBB Serving the NORTH IDAHO AREA NOTE: Consumers seeking a business to perform asphalt paving are encouraged to contact the BBB that services North Idaho at 800-356-1007 or www.bbb.org for a free reliability report.

TIP NUMBER FIVE

AFTER PLACING AD TO SELL VEHICLE ON CRAIGSLIST
YOU MAY RECEIVE A CALL TO PLACE A SIMILAR AD ELSEWHERE:
LONGWOOD INDUSTRIES Calling Area Ad Placers

An elderly consumer from outside Moses Lake, WA called to report that after placing an ad on Craigslist to sell their RV (after 13 years of ownership they can no longer afford it because of gas prices) she got a call from “Allen” at 800-821-7025 claiming that for $10, she could advertise their RV for 30 days. If it doesn’t sell, it’d cost another $10 and so on. If it sold the company would receive a percentage of the amount of sale. They asked for credit card information, but she wanted to send a check. He said in that case she would have to pay the $150 upfront. She declined.

Here is the company:

Longwood Industries, Inc.
1617 Longwood Ave.
Bedford, VA 24523
FAX: (540) 586-8943
www.longwoodinc.com

According to BBB reports, through an agreement with Adventis, Inc. d/b/a The Big Lot, Longwood Industries offers automobile Internet-Web Advertising. Consumers report that after placing an ad in a newspaper to sell an automobile, they are contacted by Longwood Industries to place a similar ad on the internet for $150.

BBB TIPS

Before agreeing to any advertising via phone, check them out with the BBB at: www.bbb.org Also, get your terms and conditions in writing prior to agreeing, as well, or sharing personal information.