Complaints Accuse Chesterfield Lender of Fraud

  
     
February 04, 2010

RICHMOND, Va. – The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recently received complaints from consumers in three states beyond Virginia, accusing a Chesterfield County lender with fraud.

The complaints were directed toward a firm that calls itself Priceline Services (not to be confused with Priceline.com). The consumers filing the complaints allege that they sought personal loans from Priceline Services. An official with the company told the loan applicants over the phone that they first needed to provide Priceline Services with one or more payments of collateral before the loans would be granted.

In each instance, the consumers submitted the collateral payments, as requested, but never received their loans, which were supposed to have been electronically deposited in their accounts.

Specifically, the three complaints came from:

§ A Texas-based consumer who sent Priceline Services two payments of $750 each for a $6,000 loan that never materialized.

§ A borrower in Iowa who sent the company one $750 payment for a loan of $5,000. When he complained to Priceline Services that he had not received the loan, he was told to send the company a second payment of $750. He refused to do so.

§ A Pennsylvania woman sent the company five payments of $66 each for a $5,000 loan, which she never received.

Priceline Services advertises the following toll free number: 877-522-5792. It lists as its headquarters an address in The Boulders office park in Chesterfield County. An investigation by the BBB revealed that there is no such company at the address.

“Unfortunately, fraud of this kind is not unusual,” said Tom Gallagher, president and CEO of the BBB in Central Virginia. “What makes this unique is that the perpetrator in this case is using a Richmond-area address as its base of operations.”

Gallagher advised consumers to thoroughly research firms first before entering into any loan agreements. “Be extremely leery of any firm that requires cash payments in advance of securing the loan,” he said.

Targets of this crime should contact the BBB at 804-648-0030.

The BBB in Central Virginia serves Richmond and Tri-Cities, as well as 42 surrounding counties, from Fauquier to Mecklenburg and Northumberland to Amherst. The nonprofit organization was established in 1954 to advance responsible, honest and ethical business practices and to promote customer confidence through self-regulation of business. Core services of the BBB include business reliability reports, dispute resolution, truth-in advertising, consumer and business education and charity review.