If you work for a business that goes by the name of Omni Services or Liberty Supply Co Inc., you might just have the worst luck in the Dallas area. According to complaints filed with BBB, this company has claimed to be going out of business over 60 times since January of 2010. Is this the work of a determined business owner who won’t accept defeat, or poor business practices that continually result in failure?
In reality, it’s neither. Liberty Supply Co Inc. of Gainesville, Texas deceptively claims to be going out of business, insisting they want to liquidate and offering to sell discounted office supplies. If you’re the representative of an unlucky business chosen as their next target, you’ll be led to think you’re helping out a local business in distress. But you are about to find yourself in a world of trouble.
The salesperson on the phone with you, after telling you they are going out of business, goes on to list amounts and prices of supplies in a very confusing manner, so you have an unclear picture of what you ordered and what it’s going to cost. Following this phone call, you will find yourself in receipt of an enormous amount of office supplies, far more than you wanted, and a much larger bill than you had expected to pay.
This exact scenario played out to numerous customers who took the time to bring it to the attention of BBB. One such complaint from a company in Burley, Idaho reads:
“[A telemarketer] asked if we would buy some of her office supplies so she could liquidate before going out of business. She quoted prices – to both me and my secretary – such as $0.59 for a box of highlighters and $2.49 for a box of dry-erase markers. We agreed to purchase some of her inventory at those prices. When they were delivered and the bill came all product was priced per ITEM instead of per box. The resulting prices were ridiculous by any office product standard.”
The scheme has also migrated and multiplied over the years. Chanse Slater, who was the president of Liberty Supply Co Inc. when it was prevented from doing business in Oregon by its Attorney General in 2000, is now recognized in BBB files as the president of Sharp Supply Co, a company located just down Interstate 35 in Denton, Texas. The names of these two businesses aren’t the only things that are similar. Sharp Supply Co shares many of Liberty Supply Co Inc.’s business practices as well. There are just a few slight differences: in some cases, Sharp Supply Co was reported to offer a donation of office supplies (i.e. FREE), then send out a bill following the delivery. Sharp Supply Co. has also been known to use the names of coworkers at the targeted business, such as the principal of a school or a manager, saying that they had authorized the purchase of supplies, when this was in fact false, according to complainants.
The bottom line here, folks, is to always be on your guard. There’s a growing number of schemes that target other businesses rather than consumers. BBB suggests that you always have a clear idea of who the business is that you’re buying from, what exactly you’re purchasing, and how much it is going to cost. Be leery of distress claims like “We’re going out of business” and check out businesses with BBB at www.bbb.org.