Blatant False Advertising California BBB Complaint vs Famous Characters LLC
My experience with Famous Characters LLC in Tarzana, CA has been extremely frustrating to say the least. I purchased their "Business Opportunity" and Website in May 2013 for a total cost of $2500.00+, and had multiple problems for months. There is much additional detail that I can provide if necessary. My primary Complaint is blatant False Advertising.
Example: Their initial advertising material stated: "Now revealed - An amazing little-known way for you to make $4,000 to $5,000 a month from your home ... working only 4 to 6 hours a week ... with NO selling involved. With no experience, earn your first $2,200 within 45 days - GUARANTEED or you pay nothing!" (I realize that it was a major exaggeration).
After purchasing the initial package for approx $125.00, I then received on 5-3-13 a letter from President ***** *****"stating "I've decided to share with you an amazing new strategy to earn at least $10,000 in clear profits ... with hardly any effort on your part. BUT you must call me within 48 hours. That's $1,000 a week for the next 10 weeks. There's no charge to learn about this effective strategy."
As it turns out, the letter was a pitch to sell a personalized website to me, which I did purchase after much discussion with the "Business Advisor" assigned to me. After my purchase, I received additional, nearly identical solicitations, except that the Famous Characters' President was usually listed as ***** *****, but sometimes Adam Darvish was listed instead with a different Company name.
I then got a letter dated XX-XX-XX from ***** ***** offering a personalized Website for $497.00, approximately $2,000.00 less than what I paid a few months earlier (but my Program did include business cards, fliers, brochures and postcards)! I sent an email to my "Business Advisor" requesting an explanation, but did not receive a response.
After placing marketing materials at several locations in town - - no sales. The only purchases on my Website were made by me (a gift certificate which was not "centered" and did not look professional) and a small order by my girlfriend for her grandkids ( items arrived 2 weeks late with no explanation). I gave my commission to to her so I earned 0.
I did receive helpful assistance from the "Business Advisor" and the "Business Mentor", although often the phone system did not work properly and at times my calls were not returned. Eventually, as I became more and more frustrated and sent a few scathing emails to the BA and BM, they did not respond to me.
The final straw was when I lost a potential Fundraiser for my granddaughter's high school marching band in October 2013 - - I received no response from the BA after several emails and vmx messages. The band chose to sell cookies and candy instead, so my opportunity to earn hundreds of dollars was lost.
I will be 65 years old in 2 months, and I relied on Famous Characters' assurances that I would earn monthly income. I am retired on a tight budget, so my loss of nearly $2700.00 (including postage) has been a financial blow.
1)FC LLC returns $2,000.00 to me and retains $500.00 for the marketing materials and for the time that the BA and BM spent on the phone with me. I will "go away" and they cancel my Website ... OR
2)FC LLC returns $1500.00 to me and I will keep the Website "just in case" I am able to sell any products in the future. FC LLC is charging only $497.00 now for the Websites!
I spent many hours and much effort trying to get the business "off the ground", with no success and a resultant increase in my already high blood pressure. I await a response from the BBB and/or Famous Characters LLC. *PS: My next step will be to contact the CA AG (if my proposal is not met).
Famous Characters stands behind its business, and we have mentors available to assist our customers in achieving success; however, we are unable to guarantee a specific income. We are sorry that Mr. ***** has not yet achieved the level of success he was looking for when he invested in this business.
Our Business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Pacific Time, except for holidays, when we are closed. We try to return all messages left within 24 business hours. Our Business Consulting Group was unavailable to return calls due to the end of the year holidays from Monday December 23rd through Wednesday, January 2nd. We picked up all voicemail messages left during that time frame and have been returning all calls as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the Business Associate that the customer was attempting to reach is in longer with the company.
In the interest of Customer Service we are willing to do the following:
1. We will issue a refund of $1,000 to the customer, he keeps all of the marketing materials he has and we keep his website live. He will continue to receive fifty percent of the profits realized on any sales made through his website. Sales commissions are paid monthly, approximately 15 days after the end of the month.
2. We will provide additional coaching to assist the customer in marketing his website. He can call our toll free number, XXX-XXX-XXXX during business hours, and ask to speak with a mentor to schedule these sessions at no additional charge.
We trust this solution will be acceptable to the customer.
(The consumer indicated he/she ACCEPTED the response from the business.)
I DO accept the counter-proposal extended by Famous Characters,Inc - - with the added stipulation that I receive 70% commissions as I was promised by "Business Mentor" ***** Mercado and "Business Advisor" Mike Abrams (I have it IN WRITING via email).
I would like to thank the Famous Characters Management Team for their willingness to compromise in this matter. Their products and marketing materials are excellent - - I just hope that they will "tone down" their advertising claims to prospective Representatives like me.
I look forward to receiving the $1,000.00 refund ASAP: KT ***** PO Box *** ******** TX XXXXX.
San **************** TX
PS: ***Who left the Company - - ***** or *****
Final Consumer Response
2-19-14 I still have NOT received the $1,000.00 refund from Famous Characters, LLC. I last notified the BBB of this fact on 2-7-14, but have not received a response.
Please expedite my refund ASAP. Thank you.
PO Box ***