Consumer Alerts for November 2009

December 01, 2009

In an effort to keep the media and public informed, the Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina offers monthly BBB Consumer Alerts. Readers should take into consideration the importance of the practice in question and the total performance of a company. This list is current as of release date. Information regarding business or consumer topics reported here can be obtained through the BBB office by contacting

Crown Holding Solutions claims to be located at 222 W. Morgan Street in Raleigh, but a physical inspection of the property by BBB staff on October 19, 2009 showed the address is a parking lot situated between a church annex and Campbell Law School. The United States Postal Service was unable to certify 222 West Morgan as a deliverable address. Crown Holding Solutions is contacting individuals and offering a loan. Their loan agreement states that several monthly payments are required in advance, as "collateral" on the loan. Collecting money up-front, or advance fees, as a condition of credit approval is prohibited by the North Carolina General Statutes. Crown Holding Solutions currently has an “F” rating with BBB. BBB recommends that you proceed with caution when dealing with any unfamiliar loan company requesting an upfront fee.

The Prestige Lenders claim to offer advanced fee loans from their location in Wilson, NC. A review of the Wilson County Register of Deeds was unable to yield results for The Prestige Lenders. The United States Postal Service was unable to certify 228 E. Nash Street as a deliverable address. NC law prohibits businesses from requiring advance fees in order to obtain a loan. The BBB recommends that you proceed with caution when dealing with any unfamiliar loan company requesting an upfront fee.

Paumanok Publications, Inc is a legitimate company in Cary NC, specializing in industrial market research services. A Nebraska consumer called BBB inquiring about this company after receiving a check and a letter with this company’s name on them, but mailed out of Canada. According to the consumer, the company’s name was misspelled on all the information they received, but the contact information was the same as the Cary company. The instructions sent to the consumer along with a fraudulent check for $1800 instructed the consumer to wire $1100 back to an undisclosed location in Canada. BBB advises consumers exercise caution when they receive unsolicited checks. In most cases these checks are fraudulent and consumers are left paying large fees for the bounced checks. offers supplies for pet birds including cages, cleaning supplies, and toys. This online business opened in 2004 and BBB has received 12 complaints against within the last four weeks. The company has a pattern of complaints concerning products not being shipped in a reasonable timeframe and communication issues. On October 9, 2009 the company was invited to meet with the BBB to discuss ways to correct the underlying cause of the complaints. The company has failed to respond to our request. has an “F” rating with BBB due to their failure to respond to consumer complaints.

The Corporate Image Group is based in Cary and claims to offer products and services including telephone answering systems, the digital player and adapter and a recorded MP3 or CD of the answering messages. BBB has received 10 complaints in the last 12 months for The Corporate Image Group. Most complaints have come from small businesses who never received the products or services paid for, or a refund upon request. The Corporate Image Group has a BBB rating of “F” due to a failure to respond to complaints.

Fake North Carolina prize offers have been sent to consumers in North Carolina via the mail, from a business claiming to be the State of North Carolina Commissioners of Registration. The letter includes a form and a request to return it with $20. Consumers should beware that there is no state agency by the name of the Commissioners of Registration. The mailings claiming to be from this department may look official and even include a fake state seal, but the promised prizes do not exist and it is illegal to require consumers to pay a fee in order to win a prize. If consumers receive a similar mailing they should not reply to the letter or send money. Thank you to the North Carolina Department of Justice for bringing this scam to our attention.

The BBB name is being used for a phone scam all across the country. Several local BBBs have received calls from consumers claiming they received a phone call from a person claiming to be from the New York or Washington D.C. BBB. The phony caller states that the consumer has won two million dollars in prize money, but they need to pay $230 in administrative fees to process the claim. BBB does not give away money. Nor does it offer contests for prize winnings such as these. If anyone calls you using the BBB name, consumers should protect their personal information and call BBB to confirm or verify the call, no matter what it is about.