Pittsburgh, PA – February 14, 2012 – The Better Business Bureau of Western PA’s Hot Topics is a monthly alert regarding companies across all industries that are currently targeting Western Pennsylvania consumers.
According to Warren King, President of the Better Business Bureau, “The BBB’s goal in creating Hot Topics is to help educate and protect the marketplace from businesses targeting local consumers.”
The following report is based on your BBB’s research as of February 10, 2012 and includes information received at our office on companies marketing to local Pennsylvanians. Click on the company name for an updated BBB report. Please take into consideration the importance of the practice and total performance of the company. To access over four million companies nationwide, visit www.bbb.org.
- Credit Consultants – Debt relief services
An F rated company based out of Ohio, Credit Consultants has had 70 complaints closed with the BBB in the last 3 years. Complaints concern dissatisfaction with the company’s service and misrepresentation of the results of the debt negotiation program. Although the company resolves some complaints by offering refunds or referring to its Client Services Agreement, it has failed to correct the underlying reason for the complaints. In spring 2011, BBB was advised that customers who signed up with the company after February 11, 2011 would be serviced by Debt Help Inc. while customers who signed up before this date would still be handled under Credit Consultants. Visit www.bbb.org to view tips on choosing a credit counseling agency.
- Freedom Group – Debt relief services
An F rated company based out of California, Freedom Group has had 42 complaints closed with the BBB in the last 3 years, 21 of which were closed in the last 12 months. Consumers have alleged that they have paid for debt settlement services, but only some or none of those creditors have actually been paid. Consumers also allege issues receiving refunds, that their funds have been misappropriated by the company and that the company is difficult to contact regarding the status of their account or refunds. Company responses have all indicated that refunds can take up to 60 days and due to having a bad year, refunds are slow.
- Free Medicine Foundation – Misleading Medicine
An F rated company based out of Missouri, Free Medicine Foundation has had 69 complaints closed with the BBB in the last 3 years, 64 of which the business failed to respond. Free Medicine Foundation also operates under the names Bureau of Prescription Help, Script Save and Senior Life Service. The BBB has questioned this company’s use of the words “free” and “foundation” in its name, as it is misleading to potential customers. According to the Internal Revenue Service, this company is not a foundation or a charity and Free Medicine Foundation states on its website that it charges a $10.00 non-refundable research, processing and handling fee for each prescription. For free information on non-profit medicine programs, visit Insure’s website.
- Magazine Network – Magazine sales by mail
An F rated company based out of Florida, Magazine Network has failed to respond to 13 out of 21 complaints closed with the BBB in the last 3 years, 19 of which were closed in the last 12 months. Consumer complaints vary from advertising/sales issues, billing/collection issues, delivery issues and problems with product/service. View BBB’s helpful information on magazine subscription solicitations at www.bbb.org.
- Maxwell Gates Enterprises – Work at home company
An F rated company based out of New Jersey, Maxwell Gates Enterprises has had 42 complaints closed with the BBB in the last 3 years. Alternate business names for Maxwell Gates Enterprises include David Gates Inc., Maxwell Scott Enterprises and Warner Daniel Enterprises. In March 2011, the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General and Division of Consumer Affairs filed suit against Capital Enterprises, Inc., which also does business as Maxwell Scott Enterprises, alleging violation of the state Consumer Fraud Act and Advertising Regulations through bait-and-switch tactics in advertisements. To read industry tips on work at home schemes, visit www.bbb.org.
- Premium Membership Clubs – Payday loans and advance fee brokers
An F rated company based out of California, Premium Membership Clubs has had 38 complaints closed with the BBB in the last 12 months. The company has failed to respond to 33 complaints and 22 serious complaints have been filed against the business. Premium Membership Clubs also utilizes over 10 alternate business names, including Prmclub.com, CashLoan.com and EDebitPay LLC. Consumer complaints allege unauthorized charges and difficulty obtaining refunds for those charges from the company. For industry tips on payday loans and advance fee loans, visit www.bbb.org.
About the BBB System
BBB is an unbiased organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB provides objective advice, free business BBB Reliability ReportsTM and charity BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 128 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring more than 4 million local and national businesses and charities. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information about the BBB System.