My copmany had a long track record of successfully selling about 50-50 to both businesses and government. When the economy stalled in 2008, our sales to businesses dropped about 40%. That’s when we got the call. It was Carol Tights, calling from the GSA, to tell me that they needed my company for several contracts, but I had to first get a GSA schedule. Actually, Carol was working for a GSA contractor, GSA1000, and the contractor was helping the GSA to locate vendors. Because GSA 1000 was working directly with GSA, they could help me to get a GSA schedule, and much of the cost would be subisidized by the government.
I called other GSA Schedule consultants, and Carol’s story seemed to check out. The other companies were charging more than twice as much. I spoke with some friends, who had also paid more than double for the same services that GSA1000 was offering. GSA1000 also had great references on their web site, and guaranteed that they would get me a schedule, something the other consultants would not do. I had no idea how they could make money if htey were chargng half of what all the others charged.
As promised, GSA1000 delivered the schedule. We were amazed how fast and easy the process was. Friends who had used other consultants spent hours digging up data for those consultnats, but GSA1000 took care of all that. We gave them some basic info about our company, and they took care of everything else.
We were delitghted, because now we could grow the government side of our business, and replace the revenue lost when our commercial customers reduced their purchasing. All was fine and good for the first year. Then the other shoe dropped.
Last August, two gentlemen from the GSA Inspectors office, with blue blazers, badges and side-arms, showed up at our business. They demanded all kinds of documents, bills, contract info, etc etc, and told us that we were being investigated for FRAUD!!! We couldn’t believe it. We’d been in business for alomst 40 years, with never a complaint from anyone, and now the federal goverbnment was accusing us of fraud. They demanded that we produce our GSA schedule, but we never received the actual documents from GSA1000. But we felt we were OK, because we could see our schedule right on the GSA.gov website Then the inspectors produced a stack of paper 3 inches thick, and asked if that was our schedule We hadn’t seen it before, other than the top page, which we had signed when we hired GSA1000. As we looked through the document, we saw projects we had never done, employees we had never hired, and invoices we had never sent. GSA1000 had made up all the information, put our signature page on top, and submitted to the government.
That’s when I understood how they were able to charge half, ask for barely any data, get it to GSA in a matter of days, and guarantee a schedule. They’ve been using the same data over and over again for all their clients. Naturally if the same application worked yesterday, it would work again tomorrow, so they could guarantee their ‘work’. And they were making money charging 50%, because they were only doing 2% of the effort that the other consultants do.
GSA cancelled our schedule, and banned us from doing business with the government for 3 years. Needless to say, the ban has destroyed our business, but the other option was to fight the ban, and risk charges of criminal fraud against the government and maybe even JAIL. I’m a 60-year old service disabled Viet Nam veteran. I’m too old to be worrying about lawyers, courts, judges and jail.
Now, you may be thinking that I’m just some poor dope, or a disgruntled customer. I’m not disgruntled. I tried to save some money, I didn’t believe what my friends said or what the established and successful consultants told me. I tried to get something for less than I should have, and I got burned. Shame on me. After all these years, I should have known better. GSA1000 will self destruct on their own, they don’t need my help. But you don’t need to make the same mistakes I did.
So forget my story if you want, and check the facts for yourself. After doing some checking, you’ll see that GSA1000 goes by many names, including GSA Access Group, GSA Preview, Federal suppliers, countryside publishing, and who knows how many others. They are all in Florida, and are the apparent spin-off of the B2G Institute, Telligenix, Dynatech, Fred Steinberg and Larry Pino, who were closed down by the attorney general in 2009. They are all in the same part of florida, all have the same photos on their websites, and (unlike reputable consultants) none of their sites list their owners, partners, exec team or anything else. These guys have long running arrest records throughout the US for all kinds of get-rich-quick scams.
If you don’t want to do all the research, I’ll help you out a little.
Check out the attorney general’s report:
Check out the expose from San Diego’s Channel 6
Check out the expose from Huntsville, AL’s Channell 19
http://www.whnt.com/news/whnt-b2g-investigative-report-tease, 0, 1774507.story
whnt.com /news/takingaction/whnt-b2g-institute-free-workshop, 0, 2140248.story
Check out Fred’s trial for bribing a fed