BBB Hot Topics - September 2012
September 28, 2012

Pittsburgh, PA – September 28, 2012 – The Better Business Bureau of Western PA’s Hot Topics is a monthly alert regarding companies across all industries that are currently targeting Western Pennsylvania consumers. The Hot Topics list and information is also available on the BBB website under the News Center.

According to Warren King, President of the Better Business Bureau, “The BBB’s goal in creating Hot Topics is to help educate and protect the marketplace from businesses targeting local consumers.”

The following report is based on your BBB’s research as of September 28, 2012 and includes information received at our office on companies marketing to local Pennsylvanians. Click on the company name for an updated BBB report. Please take into consideration the importance of the practice and total performance of the company. To access over four million companies nationwide, visit www.bbb.org.

1. Central Tax Bureau of PA Inc – Tax return preparation

Central Tax Bureau of PA Inc is a Pennsylvania based company with 9 out of 14 complaints closed with BBB in the last 12 months. Complainants allege that they have never received their local tax refunds and after calling the company, nobody can be reached and there is no way to leave a message. After attempts to contact the business via mail, BBB has found that the company is either unreachable or appears to be out of business. For helpful tips on choosing a trustworthy tax preparer, visit www.bbb.org.

2. Discounted Telecommunications Services – Telephone Billing

An F rated company, the majority of complaints processed by BBB concern credit or billing issues. Consumers report that charges ranging from $4 to $8 appear on monthly business telephone bills without prior authorization. These charges are listed to Discounted Telecom-Spec (DTS) or Discounted Telecom-Spec Svcs. In some cases the company has responded to complaints by explaining that these charges are for a discount directory assistance service plan that is billed monthly; and by issuing credits for the disputed charges and canceling the service.

3. Eagle Carports, Inc – Self-supporting steel structures

Based out of Virginia, Eagle Carports, Inc has 55 complaints closed with BBB in the last 3 years concerning that the quality of the product was not as advertised, and service/repair issues. BBB files indicate that this business has a pattern of complaints regarding delivery and installation issues. In June 2012, BBB sent correspondence to the company requesting voluntary cooperation and to provide steps it will implement to eliminate the pattern of complaints however, to date; BBB has not received a response from the company. Company president, Mr. Gabriel Torres, is also the president of Tri-State Carports, Inc. which has an F rating with the BBB.

4. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLCResidential/commercial loan servicing

BBB has closed 751 complaints in the last 12 months against Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC. Consumer concerns include inability to reach the same person to discuss issues with alleged excessive add-on fees, processing of payments in a timely fashion and failure to respond to requests for loan modifications in a timely manner. The company states that fees associated with each loan are agreed to as part of the loan service agreement it has with the owner of the loan. The company responds to some complaints explaining its position and offering refunds when applicable while others are unanswered. Consumers who have been unable to speak with a representative may contact Making Home Affordable. Check out BBB’s tips on new laws and regulations on mortgages.

5. Pacific Coast Clearing Services – Magazine sales

Factors that lowered Pacific Coast Clearing Services BBB rating include 86 complaints filed against the business in the last 3 years and 7 serious complaints filed against the business. BBB has received a pattern of complaints from consumers alleging the business uses high-pressure and deceptive sales tactics. Consumers also claim that after paying for subscriptions, delivery of magazines is delayed and the business becomes difficult to reach. Visit www.bbb.org for tips on what to do if you are contacted by a magazine telemarketer.

6. Zeal Funding Services LLC – Financial consultants

With 277 complaints closed by BBB in the last 12 months, Zeal Funding Services LLC has a pattern of complaints in which consumers allege that the business charged their bank account without their knowledge. While the business responds to some complaints by explaining their terms and conditions and offering refunds, they have not addressed the underlying reason in which complaints are filed and there are unanswered and unresolved complaints. In July 2012, the Utah Division of Consumer Protection issued an Administrative Citation against the company alleging that the Respondents made unauthorized debits from multiple consumer accounts. BBB warns consumers to read all of the terms and conditions and any popup boxes that may appear after entering information.

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About the BBB System

BBB is an unbiased organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB provides objective advice, free Business and Charity Reviews and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, BBB offers dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 115 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring more than 4 million local and national businesses and charities. Visit www.bbb.org for more information about BBB.