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4/16/07

Get rich quick, let me show you how! AKA: A look into how to avoid these type of scams

You may call it a pyramid scheme, get rich scheme, or called it just what it is a scam. I'm talking about all these "companies" that offer you the "Ultimate business opportunity of a lifetime".

I am sure many are familiar with one of the newest telephone service VOIP. Since I am currently unemployed I was searching through Monster and came across a posting for a company in need of representatives for their VOIP product/service. So, I click on the link and fill out my information. No where did it say anything about me needing to give them money up front and it didn't have any crazy claims about the vast amount of money I could expect. I figured I would check it out because it sounded like a possible opportunity.

Fast forward, one of their reps, Corey calls me and starts talking to me. First off when Corey called and started spewing his sales pitch, er, I mean started telling me about this amazing business opportunity; I was already skeptical. For one it took him 10 minutes of yakking to ask me to listen to an audio recording of the companies BS, er I mean VP, talking about this fantastical business opportunity that has just landed in my lap. Second, it was so obvious he was reading from a script I swear I heard him flipping the pages between breaths.

The recording took about 8 Minutes, during that time I called my friend Roger left a message for him, looked up the company on the internet (www.bbb.org), listened to the voice mail messages left for me, oh and took a call from another friend. I didn't have to pay attention because the recording was the exact same thing Corey had already said to me. I'm not kidding it was same script you would think this company is making sooo much money they could afford to give their sales rep and the company VP a different set of words to lure people into buying a "franchise" with them.

Okay, the bottom line to the call was this, all I had to do was agree to give them $199 and they would send me their "Welcome Packet" with their guaranteed, proven business plan. This "Welcome Packet" consisted of them setting up a website for me with whatever name I can think of that wasn't already taken. 7 different promotional materials for me to promote my site and get people to sign up for their phone service through me. The contact information for my team leader, mentor, aka: person who would never call me back. This person would be my main contact and was there to assist me with tips and ideas to get me going. I would start making money based on the amount people who signed up for their phone service through my website and I would receive a percentage of what these new customers were charged for their monthly phone services. (As long as these people paid their bill.)

Now the wonderful representative Corey was kind enough to allow me to ask all the questions I could think of. So of course I did. I asked what additional cost are there, he said no additional cost but I would only be getting 3% commission off of the phone bill part of the plan. If I wanted 6% I would need to spend $499 for their upgraded package and if I wanted to go for the big 10% commission I would need to spend $1099 for their Ultra, Mega, Super duper, out of this world, gold member package. Yeah that's right I said gold member.

I also asked Corey about the Better Business Bureau complaint registered against them. He floundered a little but came out of it, saying the complaint was lodged against the company because the person tried calling their team leader after business hours. Funny, the complaint was listed as a customer complaint not a franchise owner complaint, I mean aren't their customers suppose to be the people who sign up for the phone service not the entrepreneur who agrees to help promote them? Just a thought, but hey what do I know.

I asked a few more questions before I got to the one question that got me "disconnected" from their phone network. I asked Corey if I decided to return the "Welcome Package" would I get a refund. He said well people don't usually return it but it was possible. So, of course I ask what the terms of the refund would be, like would be it be a full refund or would fees be taken out of it. Corey the sweet man really didn't know because he had never heard of someone returning the welcome package because they did not want to work for themselves and didn't want to make money hand over fist.

Corey was kind enough to get the Senior Sales Rep. on the phone to clarify the issue. The "Senior Sales Rep." never gave his name but assured me the welcome package could be returned. Returned yes, I'm sure but would I get the money back. So I asked the specific question "What is your return policy?" The answer, they didn't have an official return policy because hardly anyone returned anything. I expressed my disinterest until I knew the terms of the return policy. That got me dead air and a dial tone.

Since Corey's number showed up on my caller ID, I called him back to let him know the deal was not going to go through. Right away Corey was apologizing said he was in the middle of calling me back and wasn't sure what happened but the Senior Rep thought I was the one that hung up. Now I'm thinking, yeah right the guy didn't want to get caught in a vice. I explained to Corey that I was not comfortable moving forward and that I appreciated his time. Corey that annoying little prick was still trying to swindle the $199 or more out of me, claimed he would get in touch with the General Sales Manager and get to the bottom of this because it was great opportunity and he didn't want to see me pass it up because of a misunderstanding.

To sum it up I repeated my disinterest and hung up. Corey the crooked little man still thought he had the fish on the hook and called back two more times trying to get a hold of me.

Some final thoughts on this. If this phone company service is so great, why are they trying to get people to pay $199 and then have these people promote their service for them under different website names? Why not spend the time and effort promoting this wonderful service themselves under one name? Corey the bane of human existence would have had a much easier time getting me to switch phone companies than trying to get me to give $199 to a company with a sketchy return policy. Which also leads me to the last thing, how can someone be a sales representative of a "reputable" company and not know the return policy?

Is the return policy a closely guarded secret? Maybe the return policy can only be found in the Vatican library or maybe the return policy is written in lemon juice on the back of the United States Constitution. Whatever the reason this is just one example of another get rich scam, packaged for the internet. The only sure thing is someone will be missing $199 which could be spent on more important things.

If you come in contact with a company wanting you to spend money to promote them or wanting you to buy their "business plan" always ask them what the return policy is and get it in writing, chances are they don't have one because the company won't exist very long.

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