BBB Warns of Local Computer Repair Scams
RALEIGH, N.C. (June 5, 2009)–The Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina (bbb.org) warns consumers to use caution when selecting service companies that have failed to properly register with government agencies, or have a history of reports regarding unethical business practices. Several complaints have been filed against two Wake County computer service companies highlighted in the June 2009 BBB Consumer Alerts.
“Unethical service providers often take advantage of consumer’s lack of knowledge to overcharge or use inferior products for repairs,” says Beverly Baskin, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina. “Failing to properly register is the first indicator a business is unethical. If consumers are uncertain whether a company is registered or has a background of questionable business practices, inquires should be made to the BBB before any actions are taken.”
Companies are required to enroll with the register of deeds in their county, as stated by the NC General Statues, before engaging in any business transaction. Neither Caveman Computers nor Sunshine Computers have done so.
Caveman Computers of Apex offers computer repair services, but neither has registered with the North Carolina Secretary of State, Corporate Division nor the Wake County Register of Deeds office. The company has received seven complaints in the recent months, and has a “C” rating by BBB.
Sunshine Computers of Fuquay-Varina offers computer consulting, computer repair and Web design services. Twenty complaints have been filed against the company in the last three years, mostly in relation to repair problems. Once the allegedly fixed computers are returned, the consumers find that parts are missing or original parts have been traded for ones of lesser value. The current BBB rating for the company is “D-.”
Consumers are encouraged to contact the BBB if they have similar experiences with either of these companies or others. Any uncertainties should be brought forth to ensure that the company is reliable and the information provided is valid.
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CONSUMER ALERTS FOR JUNE 2009
In an effort to keep the media and public informed, the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina offers monthly BBB Consumer Alerts as potential story or interview ideas. Readers should take into consideration the importance of the practice in question and the total performance of a company. This list is current as of release date. Information regarding business or consumer topics reported here can be obtained through the BBB office by contacting email@example.com.
Saint Matthew’s Churches of Tulsa, Oklahoma have sent mailings to many homes in Raleigh and Wake Forest. The letter offers prayer support and quotes scripture from the bible that emphasizes the power of prayer in gaining wealth. A free cross is offered in the letter to those who respond by returning an enclosed postcard with their prayer requests. The initial letter seems relatively harmless, but consumers who follow up and return the postcard begin to receive more propaganda and requests for money in order to fulfill prayer requests. When an unfamiliar organization asks you for a donation, BBB recommends you first gather details about the charity, the nature of its programs and its use of funds. Contact the BBB for a free reliability report on any business or charity.
Debt Settlement Companies nationwide are being investigated by New York Attorney General, Andrew M Cuomo. Attorney General Cuomo subpoenaed 14 debt settlement companies in May after they had charged huge fees for misleading plans and left consumers in worse financial shape. The subpoenas requested information about the companies’ fee structures and the results they actually achieved. The 14 companies include: American Debt Foundation Inc.; American Financial Service; Consumer Debt Solutions; Credit Answers, LLC; Debt Remedy Solutions, LLC; Debt Settlement America; Debt Settlement USA; Debtmerica Relief; DMB Financial, LLC; Freedom Debt Relief; New Era Debt Solutions; New Horizons Debt Relief Inc.; Preferred Financial Services Inc.; and U.S. Financial Management Inc. (d.b.a. My Debt Negotiation). During these difficult economic times, companies in the debt settlement industry prey upon consumers who are unable to keep up with credit card payments. Some of these companies falsely represent their ability to reduce a consumer’s credit card debt up to 75 percent by negotiating with creditors. Many of these companies take their fees upfront and do not reimburse the consumer when unable to provide the promised services. Consumers should be hesitant to utilize the services of debt settlement companies who falsely promise to obtain substantial lump sum debt reduction settlements. Never agree to sign a contract with a debt settlement company that requires payment in advance. Always check with the BBB for a Reliability Report on a particular debt settlement company.
Caveman Computers offers computer repair services in Apex. Neither the North Carolina Secretary of State, Corporate Division nor the Wake Country Register of Deeds office shows any listing for Caveman Computers. Before any company engages in business transactions, they are required by NC General Statues to enroll with the register of deeds in their county. This company has received seven complaints in the last seven months and currently has a BBB rating of “C.”
Sunshine Computers is based out of Fuquay-Varina and offer computer consulting, computer repair and Web design services. The company has received a total of 20 complaints in the last 36 months. Most complaints were in relation to repair problems. Once consumers got their computers back that were “fixed” they alleged that parts were missing or original parts had been traded for ones of lesser value. Sunshine Computers is not listed with the North Carolina Secretary of State, Corporate Division. Also, a check with the Wake County Register of Deeds office shows no listing. Their current BBB rating is “D-.”
Google Money Tree, based in Las Vegas, NV, claims to specialize in grants. The BBB has processed 640 complaints in the past 36 months against this company. A Raleigh consumer fell victim to their claims and began to see unauthorized funds drafted out of his bank account monthly. The failure of this company to respond to complaints filed against them provides reason to stay away from their services and claims. BBB has been unable to confirm that this company has a valid local business license. Google Money Tree currently has the lowest BBB Rating.
PayPay Inc. is a self proclaimed credit card processing service based in New York, NY. A Raleigh consumer recently found a 1994 BMW online that she was interested in purchasing. In a hurry to receive her payment, the car owner asked for cash due to his personal financial hardship and rushed her to make a payment through Western Union to PayPay Inc. PayPay Inc. sounds very similar to a payment processing business, PayPal Inc., that she was familiar with. In researching the business on bbb.org, she found that the business had only been in existence since April, and saw that there was limited information available. She proceeded to pay PayPay Inc. and has never received her car that was to be sent via train the following week. Consumers should be cautious when sending large sums of money through companies that have been established for short periods of time and, are encouraged take the time to evaluate their purchase and payment before sending money to an unknown source.
NewDiaperClub.com is based in Wilmington, N.C. and BBB of Coastal Carolina has been inundated with complaints about this company concerning non-delivery of products ordered. The file for NewDiaperClub.com just opened with BBB in April 2009. Numerous attempts to contact the business have received no response as of May 19, 2009. Consumers in Eastern North Carolina may be affected by the nearby company. This company currently has an “F” rating with the BBB.
A call center in Jamaica is claiming to represent the BBB of North Carolina. Beware of phone calls from area code 876 requesting payments to provide assistance with filling out paperwork for a “Stimulus Plan.” Currently the BBB does not have an office nor do we report on any businesses in Jamaica.
About BBB of Eastern North Carolina:
The Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina is a 501 (c)(6) not-for-profit corporation serving 33 counties in eastern North Carolina. The organization is funded primarily by BBB Accredited Business fees from more than 3,200 local business and professional firms. The BBB promotes integrity, consumer confidence and business ethics through business self-regulation in the local marketplace. Services provided by the BBB include reports on companies and charitable organizations, general monitoring of advertising in the marketplace, dispute resolution services, and consumer/business education programs. All services are provided at no cost to the public, with the occasional exception of mediation and arbitration. Visit www.bbb.org.
BBB of Eastern North Carolina
5540 Munford Rd., Ste. 130
Raleigh, NC 27612-2655
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