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28 counties covering Western Pennsylvania
BBB HOT TOPICS – JUNE 2010
June 08, 2010

Pittsburgh, PA – June 8, 2010 – Below is information on companies marketing to local Pennsylvanians received at your BBB. Information is based on our research as of June 1, 2010. Click on their name for an updated BBB report. Please take into consideration the importance of the practice and the total performance of the company.

1. Debt Settlement USA & Debt Professionals of America - Advertising heard on radio stations!

We hear ads on the radio daily about ways to solve debt problems by paying a fraction of the debt. Many times this is simply not true. Consumers are put in touch with debt management companies who collect money from debtors for the purpose of distributing it among creditors in full or partial payment of the consumer's debts. Complaints on some of these companies allege that creditors are not always paid as agreed, and the debtor ends up owing more than before. Consulting a non profit credit counseling agency is recommended for anyone having financial issues as a first step.

2. SCS Card Services – Telemarketing offer to lower credit card interest rates!

Of the 11 consumer complaints filed, all have gone unanswered, resulting in an ‘F’ rating on the A+ to F scale. We advise not sharing sensitive personal information with firms you don’t know.

3. National Magazine Exchange - Sweepstakes offer lures consumers!

The company mails notices inviting people to call and enter their Million Dollar "Strike It Rich" Sweepstakes. The sweepstakes promotion is used by the company to promote magazine subscriptions. BBB’s file experience shows that the company has received complaints alleging billing disputes, misinterpretation of the sweepstakes promotion, and misunderstanding the company's billing terms. The company has addressed most complaints brought to its attention by the BBB.

4. Online News 6 - Pop up window for work at home!

Across the nation, consumers are seeing ads claiming work at home earnings from a “local” woman. She is not local, nor is she real. The ad reads your computers IP address and inputs a neighboring town into the ad. All of this links to something in the United Kingdom called the “Internet Cash Machine”. After your 3-day trial period, you will be charged a fee of $139.95. Thereafter, a $4.95 fee serves as a monthly website hosting and maintenance fee until cancelled. If you have a gripe, the fine print says you have to go to the UK to settle it. The BBB is unable to process complaints to businesses outside the US and Canada.

5. PexasCorp.com – Beware Pittsburgh area jobs on networking sites!

Consumers following up with an internet job posting are asked to forward a resume to this company online. Instructions are then sent telling the applicant that a credit score is needed to proceed, directing the applicant to use a specific website where it requires personal banking. NO prospective employer would ever need that information to secure a position. Further research showed this website was only created on May 24, 2010 and is registered in Nassau, Bahamas.

6. Fortune Learning Systems

Listed as specializing in e-commerce training, this business has an ‘F’ rating with the BBB. As of April 4, 2010, the BBB has been unable to confirm this company has a valid local business license. If a consumer does business with an unlicensed firm, they do so at their own risk. One complainants experience states that the company told the business it would cost $8000 for the program but was charged $13,000.

7. What happens when a company goes under?

General rules of thumb regarding going out of business include - consumers may lose deposits on ordered merchandise or service along with the company’s warranty becoming void. If the owner is unreachable, check with the post office to see if the company has a forwarding address. If the company is located in Pennsylvania, you can check with the Pennsylvania State Department to find out the names and addresses of the principals of the business. If you paid for merchandise by credit card, you can also request a refund from the credit card issuer. If the business has filed for bankruptcy, you can file a claim with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. In most instances there is very little recourse to recoup monies owed.

To check out a company contact the Better Business Bureau at 412-456-2700 or log on to www.bbb.org

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