Pittsburgh, PA – July 10, 2013 – 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 July 10, 2013 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.
An F rated company based out of Missouri, American Publications has received 22 BBB complaints in the last three years. Complainants primarily allege that what they received from the company was not what was promised and that they have sent money to the company, but have received nothing in return. In addition, complainants allege difficulty obtaining refunds and contacting a representative of the firm. When evaluating work-at-home opportunities, always get all earning claims in writing, along with the company’s refund and cancellation policies. View BBB’s work-at-home tips before accepting an employment opportunity.
BBB has received 55 complaints in the last 12 months from consumers who applied for short-term loans from Idealgelt.com. Several complainants stated that in exchange for these loans, they were required to give the company access to their bank accounts in order to allow the company to withdraw payments owed plus interest on the loans. In addition, consumers allege that Idealgelt.com did not fully disclose the terms and conditions of its loans and carried high interest rates and fees. In 2011, the company was ordered to pay a fine and to cease and desist advertising, soliciting and arranging for loans by the PA Department of Banking, until becoming properly licensed. Click the link for BBB tips on avoiding abusive lending through payday loans.
Local Business Yellow Pages’ BBB file was opened in March 2013. In approximately four months, the company has received 613 BBB complaints concerning billing contacts for unauthorized purchases for directory advertising listings. Customers that dispute the transaction report that they are provided recordings of telephone conversations that the company purports to be authorization to purchase, but which the customers assert were yes and no answers to confirm their company name and location. BBB contacted the company in April 2013 about these concerns, but has not received a response to date. Check out BBB’s tips for businesses regarding bogus billing schemes.
According to BBB records, consumers allege being directed to MicroSystem Cure’s website in a bogus Microsoft tech scam. Consumers report that someone claiming to be from Microsoft calls and states that logs are picking up an infection from the consumer’s computer. To gain credibility, the caller may provide the consumer with their name, address and phone number. Eventually, the caller directs the consumer to ammyy.com and instructs them to provide complete remote access to their PC through this website. Per ammyy.com, these phone calls are definite scams and the company will never make such calls or ask consumers to download and launch Ammyy Admin. BBB reminds consumers to hang-up the phone if similar calls are received.
Consumers have provided information to BBB that United Lending Bureau is offering loans for an advance fee. Consumers allege that they have responded to company advertisements from the internet for loans. After paying several hundred dollars, consumers report that they never received the promised loan. In June 2013, BBB verified that United Lending Bureau is not registered with the PA Department of State or the PA Department of Banking. BBB advises consumers who are having difficulty obtaining cash or credit to do their research before contacting companies that are guaranteeing loans, regardless of credit history, for an advance fee. Visit www.bbb.org for tips on advance fee loans.
Based out of Arizona, US Job Assistance, LLC has an F rating and has failed to respond to 59 of 105 complaints filed with BBB since August 2011. In addition, the company has 10 unresolved complaints and three serious complaints filed against it. Complainants allege not receiving what the company promises after submitting payment and difficulty obtaining information from the customer service department. Other complainants allege that the company utilizes harassing telemarketing methods to recruit new participants. In May 2013, the Oregon Department of Justice reported that the company and its principals have agreed to permanently cease doing business in Oregon and will also pay $400,000 to the state. US Job Assistance, LLC is not BBB accredited, despite having falsely stated that it is a BBB Accredited Business.
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.