BBB Warns of Local Work-At-Home Scam

July 21, 2014

July 14th, 2014 (SAN DIEGO, CA) – Better Business Bureau serving San Diego, Orange, and Imperial Counties is warning consumers of a local F-rated work-at-home company with a recent upswing in the number of complaints filed with BBB.

Established in June 2013, Pacific Brochures is a work-from-home company specializing in a free mail program where people are expected to process and mail a Home Workers Guide in exchange for financial compensation. The company has garnered 14 BBB complaints since April 2014, regarding delivery issues, customer service issues, and advertising issues.

Nationally, BBB received 1,389 complaints in 2013 against work-at-home companies, 735 of which went unanswered - a staggering 39%.  The most common complaint filed was regarding Advertising issues, with 267 complaints filed, followed by 260 Refund and Exchange complaints and 147 Contract complaints.

“I always tell consumers ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,’ but we still receive hundreds of complaints a year from people who were hoping to make a quick buck,” said Sheryl Reichert, President/CEO of BBB serving San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties.  “Anytime you’re asked to fork over money to start working, whether it’s for training, materials or information, it’s a huge red flag.”

While work-from-home businesses seem like a convenient way to make some cash on the side, consumers need to be careful when it comes to these offers. Here are some tips to help you figure out whether or not a company is authentic.

  • Ask questions. If the program is legitimate, the company should be able to answer (preferably in writing) what the job is all about. Ask what tasks you’ll be expected to complete, if you’re paid on salary or commission, who is paying you, when you’ll be paid, and how much it will cost you in supplies and membership fees. Generally, reputable businesses will not ask you to pay to work for them.
  • Become familiar with the Business Opportunity Rule. In 2011, the FTC approved a change to the Business Opportunity Rule which now requires business opportunity sellers to disclose 5 key pieces of information in a one-page document

               -The seller's identifying information;

               -Whether the seller makes a claim about the purchaser's likely earnings and, if the seller checks the "yes" box, the seller must provide information supporting any such claims;

              -Whether the seller, its affiliates or key personnel have been involved in certain legal actions (and, if yes, a separate list of those actions);

             -Whether the seller has a cancellation or refund policy (and, if yes, a separate document stating the material terms of such policies); and

              -A list of persons who bought the business opportunity within the previous three years.

  • Check with your BBB and the state Attorney General’s office. Use these resources to get more information on a company and see if anyone has lodged a complaint against the business.  Remember, it’s easy for companies to move, change names, or settle complaints so a lack of complaints doesn’t always mean the company is reputable.
  • Better safe than sorry.  No matter how much you think you need the money these companies claim to offer, nothing is worth getting in a serious financial hole or legal trouble. Some envelope stuffing schemes ask you for a small payment and then send you a letter asking you to recruit your family and friends to buy the same “opportunity.” This may be a pyramid scheme, which is an illegal way to operate a business. In the end, if you have any doubts about the opportunity, look for more legitimate means of making some money on the side.


The non-profit organization Better Business Bureau serving San Diego, Orange, and Imperial Counties opened in 1921, and is San Diego’s largest county-wide business membership organization with more than 6,500 accredited businesses and charities. BBB provides free pre-purchase information and advice to consumers. Its website is viewed over 7,700 times per day, and houses business reviews on more than 50,000 local companies. Before buying decisions are made, consumers are encouraged to phone the BBB’s free 24-hour Consumer Helpline at (858) 496-2131, or visit the website at, to obtain free pre-purchase information and a list of BBB Accredited Businesses by type of industry.