Gross sales misrepresentations, over equipping, price gouging, aggressive lease tactics, unsupervised computer network setup by rookie tech
We are a CPA firm. Two salesman representing WBS sold/leased our firm 1. Toshiba Task ALfa copier, 2. Dell server with 2 workstations, 3. Mitel telephone system with 48 port switch, 7 handsets and a controller. Total capitalized cost was over $32,000, with interest at 10% total cost is over $42,000.
The equipment ordered for us by WBS was made solely by WBS personnel as a unilateral decision on their part without ever providing the detail specs. In addition they set up the network, installed a backup system, sold us two more Dell workstations during install, and a maintenance program. The salesmen represented everything was included in the lease price, including maintenance. This was a misrepresentation.
Although we advised we would pay for the equipment through our bank with a 4% loan, the salesmen represented that leasing was our better option, and they would prove it to us by showing us a detailed cost/specs report of all the equipment and lease computations before committing to the lease. They advised we needed to sign the lease first before they could proceed with a detailed analysis, and the lease would only be enforced after installed. It ended up they never provided the detailed cost analysis we asked for, the equipment was installed without ever disclosing the equipment specs, the lease interest rate was 10% when our bank was ready to finance at 4%.
The main problem exists with the Toshiba copier. Since WBS would not disclose cost to us, we found out through the leasing company, **************, that WBS received $17,000 for it, and they represented to us it was new or practically new. It was a 3 year old machine (MFG date of 01/2011) with 114,000 copies on it when received. We looked up the FMV of a Task Alfa refurbished copier - $3,889. The finisher was older (Mfg date 08/2010), FMV $500. These are generous FMV estimates.
In addition, the Mitel phone system was ordered by a WBS technician who quit before install. As a result, we were never trained on the phones and it had to be set up by a rookie that had to be trained in order to get it operating. To date there is no caller ID, no call forwarding, and most of the features are inoperable or not set up properly. WBS charged $6,000 for the Mitel system, cost of the system was perhaps $2,500 at best. In addition, they installed a 48 port switch to run a 6 phone system. The switch was noisy and our clients were complaining about the noise from the waiting area as we only have an 1100 square foot office. It was a huge waste of money and electricity. We needed to replace it with an 8 port switch for $225. The 48 port switch, included in the phone system, was estimated to cost well over $1,000. WBS promised set up and training for the phone system, which was never provided, nor was the remote telephone set up set up as promised and charged for.
The Dell network server and 2 workstations were charged at $7,500. We looked up the system on the Dell website, cost was $4,695. In addition, they recommended we buy 2 more workstations, charged us $4,200, their cost was $1,832.
During install, the salesman went to Italy for a sales meeting when we were starting tax season, delaying install.
We hired our own certified network technician to evaluate the system they installed. The backup system was high cost and inappropriate. It failed backup over a 3 week period. We needed to replace that with two simple Seagate backup drives, which work perfectly now. The partition drives in the server were set up with only 40 gigs, barely enough room for the O/S to breathe. This was causing catastrophic failures in the system, and cannot be changed. Drives included in the server were low cost drives.
The list of overcharges and issues with WBS and inadequate support would easily cover more space we can detail here.
Our recommendation is not to do business with WBS. We will recover from this but it will take time. These people are wolves in sheep's clothing. Stay far away from WBS.
The correct thing for WBS to fix this situation would be:
1. Take back the Mitel phone system and refund our account with the leasing company for the full amount charged, $6,000.
2. We will keep the copier, but WBS should reduce the amount charged for the refurbished copier, represented as new, to the FMV, and refund the difference to our account with the leasing company. Refund estimated at $12,000.
3. Refund overcharges for the computer system including failed network set up and back up system, estimate about $4,500. In addition, it cost us $863.50 to have our network tech come to correct WBS install, however many of the issues caused to our network by WBS are permanent and will be an ongoing extra cost to this firm to monitor throughout the life of the asset.
4. Cancel the monthly maintenance network contract as WBS has failed to adequately set up and maintain the system.
WBS is currently putting together a logical response and will submit a detailed response by Noon on Thursday the 17th or before. ******
I read the response from WBS. Let me first state that with their statement item 14.B. regarding my statements being malicious and bordering slander, that does not apply to this venue as that is exactly what the BBB is set up for, where business can air their grievances and differences without having the fear of being sued, and if an amicable solution can be worked out, then the BBB system has done its job. WBS making this type of remark in this venue lends my claim as credible, as those type of words spell fear in them when they know them to be true.
With regards to their other items, note the following: ******
1. The lease agreement between WBS and myself is not signed by representative ******* ******* as President of WBS, pre-printed on the lease agreement. It appears to be signed by a representative of the leasing company, ** **** ******* who appears to be unrelated to WBS and if so, unauthorized to sign on their behalf. We would like to know the name and position of the person who signed on their behalf.
2. This same person executed a separate document, termed Equipment Title Addendum, on behalf of the leasing company. As far as we are concerned, this makes WBS' business practices suspect and the lease and any other agreement between the two parties would be considered not valid.
3. The documents executed were not clear as to equipment purchase specifics that are standard in technology sales. In fact, only a 2 page document was delivered to detail $32,623.66 in major capital expenditures. Only 4 pieces of equipment were listed on the initial paperwork, but in reality WBS sold other equipment not detailed on the agreement, such as a 48 port switch accompanying the Mitel phone system, an expensive piece of equipment included but not disclosed in this arrangement. Per our computer technician, the 48 port switch price was well over $1,000.
4. There are many other pieces of equipment charged to us and not listed anywhere in any paperwork given to us. Needless to say, this was a surprise and we were blindsided with the extra equipment and outrageous charges.
5. As a licensed CPA, I am not only a learned individual, but was insistent on equipment price specifics promised to me, as I do not act on a payment, which is how WBS represented the sale and common in high pressured sales tactics. I insisted on receiving, and was told I would receive, a detailed statement of equipment purchased, but was never received.
6. I never had a personal relationship with WBS representatives, ***** ****** or *******, the person who accompanied him during the first initial sales calls. They cold called the office and appeared from the street to our receptionist in an executive suite I shared with a real estate firm in October of 2013.
7. Further, as part of the deal, ****** was trying to sell me unrelated services, called cost segregation studies, which appeared to be provided by WBS. When I brought this up with WBS CFO ***** ******* at a later date, he acknowledged Mr. ****** was selling these services while he was a rep at WBS, but WBS did not provide cost segregation studies. I advised Mr. ******* that it appeared to me ****** lead me to believe WBS provided this service.
8. Further, Mr. ****** stated to me "not to worry about the lease payment as the cost segregation business we would do together would more than offset the lease payment". He implied WBS would enter into a commission structure with me whereby they would compensate me for referring my clients to them for cost segregation studies. Witnesses in this office, plus Mr. ****** himself, would attest to these facts, and I advised Mr. ****** I was not interested in these services, but each time he came to my office, he kept asking if I had clients to refer to him for cost segregation, I felt pressured. I found out later that Mr. ****** had a relationship with a different company that provided these services, unrelated to WBS. Concluding, WBS rep ****** was unsupervised and untrained in selling WBS products accurately, and WBS allowed ******** conduct and scope to reach beyond what they employed him to do. Therefore, I was induced into signing the lease as a result of these misrepresentations.
9. ****** was subsequently terminated by WBS shortly after delivery of our equipment. After I found out, ****** called to advise WBS was so disorganized in their practices, and that he "only made $700" on our sale. ******, during his employ with WBS, stated he was in such personal financial stress from personal previous year's real estate deal failures, that this had a direct impact on the representations he made to this firm, to the point of making promises that would never materialize, solely in his effort to make a sale and get compensated, to the detriment of my firm.
10. Regarding the $6,000 Mitel phone system, WBS represented they would provide training, and this was confirmed with a separate call to Mitel Headquarters (X-XXX-XXX-XXXX) where a **** from Mitel then referred me to their Ft. Lauderdale rep, ***** (XXX-XXX-XXXX) where he advised it was WBS' responsibility to train me on their system. ***** also stated he was aware of my specific situation through WBS reps, who initially ordered the Mitel phone system for me. To date, we have had no training on the $6,000 Mitel system and the original problems as stated persist.
11. I did not have full knowledge of financial details.
12. Cost pricing we used was researched and determined from the internet using Dell, Ebay, and other online retailers providing same make and model numbers as the equipment WBS provided. We have a file supporting the equipment received with bar codes intact, as well as price figures.
13. The representative **** ******** stated he went to Italy as a once in a lifetime opportunity during the middle of install and tax season here, and made several phone calls from Italy trying to walk us through some of the problems that surfaced during his absence. He nor any rep from WBS advised he would be away for a week, and he apologized for not letting us know in advance he was going to Italy, knowing that would leave us in a bind in the middle of setting up the computer network system.
14. The network failures were not a result of our internet service provider, ******** as we called them separately and went through a protocol check, whereby it was determined the failure was caused by an internal problem with our system set up.
15. WBS has not completed their set up of our system as represented, leaving behind the training on the Mitel system, remote telephone access, and numerous other promises made with no follow up.
16. WBS has made it increasingly difficult to request follow up on install as they are invoicing us high fees as a deterrent to completing the install.
17. We have reviewed previous complaints on the BBB site with other customer's of WBS, and find similar issues with these customer's validating our claims and issues with WBS.
In summary, I will not be intimidated by WBS nor their baseless replies. There will be more complaints levied against them if they do not make a serious effort in rectifying this situation immediately. Not only am I a CPA, but I am a consumer advocate, and it would be a shame if they are allowed to continue with these methods of aggressive business tactics as others will fall prey and suffer, just like what I am going through. I feel it is my public duty to persuade businesses such as WBS, from taking advantage of business folks like me who place their faith and trust in them, and hope they perform as represented. WBS failed to do that in every respect. By rectifying this situation with me, this would bring their representations on line with their mission statement as per their website.
Final Business Response
Mr. ***** continues to make emotional not factual statements pertaining to this matter. To his opening statement, no response is rational.
The agreement clearly states that the transaction would be assigned to a third party. WBS signing the agreement concurrently with its assignment does not change the obligations of Mr. *****. The assignee has capacity to execute any documents to perfect their interest.
The separate document Mr. ***** suggests that may make the transaction void is clearly intended to make Mr. ***** the owner of the equipment as he opted to have an end of Term agreement to purchase the assets that are the subject of the agreement for a minimum amount. This establishes the nature of the agreement as a financing agreement compared to an operating agreement. If he reaches agreement with the holder of the obligation that he would prefer to have no end of Term options he should discuss that with the person to whom he is obligated.
The scope of the transaction noted on the documents is sufficient. If components of the systems he has were added, it would be to complete the solution, as the prices were not changed.
The price of the solution was set before the installation. If Mr. ***** feels he received additional items, they would not have raised the price so as such, he received more than he expected.
Mr. ***** as he stated is a learned individual and as such would be clear in the nature of contracts and the application of the UCC as it pertains to contracts and commercial transactions. Comments on topics not included in the agreements are not relative. At this point there is nothing unknown about the equipment as he has been provided information thereon and has in his possession all of the equipment.
WBS has no additional comments as to the relationship between Mr. ****** and Mr. *****.
WBS has never represented any services of the type Mr. ***** suggests. Conversations of Mr. ******* pertaining to this topic were historical in nature and not at all related to the business of WBS.
Verbal exchanges reported to have taken place between Mr. ***** and Mr. ****** are just that, WBS has no knowledge of these reported exchanges.
The statements in response #9 are like many others unrelated to the transaction, and no response is warranted.
Multiple attempts were made to schedule additional service to Mr. *****. Professional Services offered by WBS and or Mitel are available at his request. Previous attempts were postponed or canceled by Mr. *****, but still remain available.
Mr. ***** executed the agreements and as such is estopped from claiming it was not knowledgeable of their content.
Cost pricing of products is not comparable and is not relevant.
The installation of the solution was supported by a group of individuals; on site or remote is not relevant in this technology era. Mr. ***** delayed the project with his other activities.
References to the Service Provider chosen by Mr. ***** are narrow in scope. The services provided outside of normal service hours was completely related to the Service Provider.
Rhetorical - responses provided earlier
Mr. ***** continued to request services but is unwilling to pay fair and reasonable rates.
Mr. ***** continues to make unsupported claims that do not warrant response. The reputation of WBS is based on over thirty years of successful operations in this area in this field.
In summary Mr. ***** continues to make threats and emotionally based statements not factually based statements. His opinions are his and he has a right to form any opinion he likes. In a society based on law and order his opinions must be kept in perspective. Mr. ***** has executed valid and binding agreements. It would be a reflection on his understanding of these values and concepts that would be questioned if he does not honor his promises and obligations.
***** ******* CFO
**** Business Solutions, Inc.
Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
Rather than go back and forth, this is a situation that WBS does not wish to resolve in a professional manner. I tried in vain to work out a reasonable solution with these folks, they refuse to cooperate. Please leave the complaint as unsatisfied, and I will look to other avenues with which to voice my dissatisfaction.