MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South issued a warning about a Hillshire/East Memphis duct cleaner for using multiple aliases and generating hundreds of consumer complaints.
Service Medics, 6658 Knollfield Drive, has earned the BBB's F-rating. According to the bureau, the company offers carpet-cleaning and duct-cleaning services through coupon or social media ads. Nancy Crawford, the bureau's communications director, said the company has generated 130 complaints in the last six years. The company has failed to respond to 13 of those complaints while others were not resolved satisfactorily, according to Crawford and to the company's BBB record.
A bureau news release also revealed Service Medics’ owner, James E. Jones, has operated his company under as many as six aliases, including 1st Choice Home Services. According to the release, the bureau issued a warning on 1st Choice Home Services in October 2013 when it received complaints from consumers in 11 states “...alleging missed appointments, misleading advertising, poor service, and difficulty reaching the company to resolve problems.” One consumer complained that when she hired Jones’ company to clean her ducts, a worker showed up with a leaf blower and a shop vac.
Randy Hutchinson, the bureau's president, added that none of the companies has ever been BBB-accredited and in the case of Service Medics, Hutchinson said Jones has falsely advertised that it is BBB-accredited.
“Service Medics was for a short period of time until we learned that James Jones was the true owner of the company, at which point we expelled them,” Hutchinson said. “The collective record of all the companies is so poor that they don’t qualify for BBB accreditation.”
The automatic attendant on Jones' company phone number identified it as Service Medics. Jones explained that the volume of complaints could be attributed to several sales of the company and ownership changes. "A lot of those issues, they're just missed appointments," Jones said. "They're a couple of time frames when my business was run by other owners, including one out of Atlanta. So it changed names several times. Then it didn't work out, and I took it back over. I tried to respond to every complaint, but the BBB would never assist me or help me address them."
Jones claimed his company's poor rating is retribution for not paying his BBB membership dues. "For a while, I had an A-plus rating," he claimed. "If I had known that it would have cost my rating, I wouldn't have stopped paying the monthly fee. I have nothing to hide. They're like a big bully."
Hutchinson insisted Jones' company rating is based not on punishment, but on its service performance. "Many consumers had more than one problem (with Jones' company)," Hutchinson said. "For example, missed appointments and poor service. On numerous occasions over the past few years, Mr. Jones asked us to re-send complaints so that he could respond to them. We sent them each time, and he still didn't respond."
BBB'S TIPS FOR VETTING SERVICE COMPANIES
- CHECK THE COMPANY’S SERVICE RECORD AT BBB.ORG.Read the text of consumer complaints and reviews. It only takes a moment, and it might save you from doing business with a company that doesn’t treat its customers fairly.
- DO YOUR HOMEWORK.Check the company’s website for a physical address and phone number. Call and talk to the merchant for more details before buying. If buying from a group buying site, compare the coupon price with the company’s regular prices and those of their competitors. Ask about deadlines for redeeming the coupon and find out whom to contact if you have a problem.
- ASK ABOUT THE COMPANY’S REFUND POLICY.There’s no such thing as a standard refund policy. Find out if the company will refund your purchase price or issue a credit if there are problems with the goods or services you’ve purchased.
- REMEMBER THAT A COUPON OFFERED ON A GROUP BUYING SITE DOESN’T EQUATE TO THE COMPANY BEING A REPUTABLE BUSINESS. In fact, the WMC Action News 5 Investigators exposed that very truth in this investigation of a service purchased through Groupon.
Copyright 2017 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.
BBB: Scammers targeting renters in need of assistance
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With thousands of Memphians and Mid-Southerners behind on their rent, officials are issuing a new warning about a scam that’s directly targeting them.
Daniel Irwin of the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South says watch out for false promises from crooks. The BBB says con artists are trying to take advantage of renters by sending out bogus calls, emails, texts, and social media messages offering you help to apply for special funds that aren’t free.
“With all of the confusion regarding the COVID eviction moratorium, we’ve been warning people to be on the lookout for scams and, unfortunately, we’re seeing a huge uptick,” Irwin said.
Thursday, after watching WREG Live at 9 interviews about the rental scam, an elderly woman called the BBB to say crooks contacted her.
“Someone got a text that said rental assistance,” Irwin said. “She followed the directions on the text and luckily, she didn’t get scammed. She recognized the person on the other end was trying to steal her personal information.”
A scam like this is a particular concern in Memphis, once nicknamed the eviction capital. Cindy Ettingoff, the CEO and general counsel of Memphis Area Legal Services, says in April there were about 375 eviction filings, and that number has now increased to 3,000.
“What we’re hearing is there are more people than ever before who are living in their cars,” Ettingoff said.
She says these are tough times for many families and hopes they won’t fall victim to scams promising help.
“We have had folks who are desperate, and when you’re desperate you’re so much more susceptible to scams, and that’s our real concerns,” Ettingoff said.
The BBB of the Mid-South says do your research by contacting the agency the scammer claims to be representing. Do not pay for a “free” government grant or program, and don’t give away any personal information such as name, address, social security number, or date of birth.
The BBB says if you’ve this text message or something similar, please report it at BBB.org/scamtracker.
Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.Sours: https://www.wreg.com/news/bbb-scammers-targeting-renters-in-need-of-assistance/
TDCI Shares BBB Warning about Memphis Scam
NASHVILLE –The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance’s (TDCI) Division of Consumer Affairs is sharing a scam alert issued by the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South (BBB) warning consumers of a phony job offer scam making the rounds in Memphis.
BBB Accredited Business High Speed Delivery, a local Memphis courier service, has reported being the victim of business identity theft. The company recently became aware that emails using their name are being sent to job seekers who have posted their resumes on job search sites online. The scammers are emailing the job seekers saying they’ve seen the posted resume and want to offer the person a position in their company.
High Speed Delivery didn’t send those emails. The phony emails tell you to click on a link that takes you to a website where you can complete an application for a position as a freight forwarder. However, that website is fraudulent and does not belong to High Speed Delivery.
The phony site bears the company’s name, the owner’s name and the business address – all used without the permission of the legitimate company. A BBB investigation of the website found that it was recently created through a domain host in China. Even the registration of the fake URL uses the identity of the company and its owner, Denise Bond.
Bond told BBB she first learned of the scam when they were contacted by a victim who had responded to one of the bogus emails offering her a job. Since then, the company has fielded hundreds of calls from others inquiring about the jobs they applied for. Some of the callers are asking for payment for work they've done for the fake company. One caller started crying when Bond told her she’d been scammed.
“We’re not hiring freight forwarders and that is not our website,” Bond told BBB.
“Crooks often hijack a legitimate company’s name, using its reputation as a trustworthy facade to operate their scam,” said Randy Hutchinson, BBB of the Mid-South president. “Unfortunately, most of the time, the business doesn’t find out until after the fact, when angry people who’ve been duped by the fraudsters call up demanding explanations or reimbursements. In this case, they also hijacked the BBB logo.”
BBB spoke to one victim who clicked on the link in the email and landed on the fake website. There she noticed a BBB logo. When she clicked on the logo and searched for the company on bbb.org, she found a different phone number for them. She called that number and spoke with Bond, who told her the job solicitation and website were both phonies.
Other victims say the position involves receiving packages for the company, opening and inspecting those packages for damage, then repackaging and forwarding the items on to someone else. The fake company asks employees to pay for reshipping and then sends a check or money order to cover their salary and reimbursement of shipping expenses. Those checks are also fakes.
BBB Tips for Job Seekers:
- Although the job search site may be legitimate, all job offers listed on the site are not. Scammers advertise jobs where legitimate employers do, including online and in newspapers. Report phony job offers to the job search site.
- Posting your resume online may result in your email inbox being flooded with phony job offers. Scammers are counting on the unemployed to anxiously respond to emails that purport to offer them a position that’s been specially selected for them.
- Never pay for the promise of a job. If a potential employer asks you to pay a fee for certification, training materials, or other expenses, that may be a red flag that the job isn’t legitimate.
- Be wary of giving out personal or financial information when applying for a job. Legitimate employers only need your social security number when they are extending you an offer of employment. Putting it on every application you fill out could lead to identity theft.
- Beware of job descriptions that are vague or offer high pay for little work.
- Check out the company at bbb.org and contact the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs at 800-342-8385 to ask if complaints have been filed against the company.
- Search for the company online. Visit their official website to see if the job is posted there.
BBB Tips for Businesses Targeted by Business Identity Theft:
- Contact your local law enforcement authorities if you believe your company’s identity has been compromised.
- If your offer came through the mail, contact the U.S. Postal Inspector at https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/forms/MailFraudComplaint.aspx.
- Contact your financial institution to limit any further unauthorized transactions on your account. You may need to close the compromised account and open a new one.
- If you suspect your company’s name is attached to phony emails floating around the web, contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov.
- Get the word out. Let the public know fraudsters are posing as your business. It could be as simple as posting a brief warning on your company’s website or Facebook page or alerting the media.
Contact the Better Business Bureau at 901-759-1300 or 800-222-8754 or [email protected] The BBB can help spread the word to consumers and businesses.
Contact the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs at WeHelpConsumers.tn.gov to file a complaint online against the company.
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