Crack Down On Scams-Finally!

A couple of days ago I complained that fraud cases weren’t being prosecuted. Well, good news; some are! We talked with Clauida Buck at the famous Sacramento Bee newpaper yesterday about work at home scams, and she pointed us toward the California Attorney General’s website.

Seems they’ve clamped down on two related companies — Imergent, Inc. and Stores On Line — that “falsely promised” customers that they could earn full-time income by selling merchandise over the Internet. In reality, they were left deeper in debt after paying high up-front costs, and never earning a dime from their websites.

stores on line

One victim used an inheritance left by her father to purchase six websites, spending over $10,000, in hopes that they would help supplement her income after retirement. Only one site was ever built, and it costs more than it brings in.

The companies have agreed to the following terms:

  • Pay $147,600 for full restitution to California consumers who have complained to the Attorney General’s Office, the Ventura County District Attorney, or directly with StoresOnLine.
  • Pay $202,400 for restitution to California consumers who submit complaints within 90 days.
  • Cancel all outstanding financing contracts for consumers who have complained.
  • StoresOnLine will also send a letter to all California purchasers who have bought since January 1, 2008, offering them a 15-day period within which to cancel the transaction and receive a refund.
  • Register with the state as a seller of Seller Assisted Marketing Plans
  • Provide a 15-day right to cancel for purchasers over the age of 65
  • Disclose clearly the circumstances under which StoreOnLine will charge consumers a web site hosting fee, and provide consumers the opportunity to opt out of hosting websites with Imergent, Inc. and Stores On Line.
  • Provide the Attorney General’s Office with recordings of sales presentations and notify the Attorney General and Ventura County District Attorney’s Office when sales presentations take place in California, so they can be monitored.

These types of schemes are promoted on TV infomercials, on the Internet, by direct mail, at trade shows, at invitation-only seminars, and through ads that may appear in the classified sections of newspapers or magazines. The ads promise big earnings, and promise that no selling or other experience is necessary.

If you believe you are a victim and have not yet made a complaint to the Attorney General’s Office, you may be entitled to restitution if you submit a complaint within 90 days.

To submit a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office, file a complaint online at http://ag.ca.gov/consumers/general.php or call the Public Inquiry Unit at 1-800-952-5225.

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