ABC E- Commerce/Website Development/Marketing / Business Fraud
I got a call from these guys about my website around springtime saying that I had several problems with my source codes and my site needed to be rebuilt to be successful online so being a inexperinced online consumer I took them up on their offer for 2900 to rebuild and fix my site and help, me market my site as well .In the nine months I've been with this group all they have done is lie to me about everything they have done for my online business. From the way the program sounded it raised red flags, they promised me no monthly fees which has come true, I don't pay a hosting fee but the so called superior website platform is a total flat out lie. I haven't made a single sale since switching over and haven't had any visitors or any real help for gaining my website exposure.They took almost 5 months to build my website ( which is way too long for so called pro's), it doesn't look any better than the actual site I had before they redesigned it just a new URL and no traffic or buyers and a very upset business owner. I have a HTML site-map on my site and that's it . I spent 2900 dollars on a cheap site that deosn't cost me anything monthly and doesn't make any sales either and the worst part about it is when I call the 1- 800 number for tech support I 'm always on hold for 5 mins and tell me stuff I already know like info about affiliate marketing, social media advertising and free directories. These guys have taken the last of my income for marketing the site on a blog that I later found out was free through Wordpress, another 2300 down the drain .I feel like somebody should throw these guys in jail for all the false promises that were not filled and the countess amount of others they have also frauded out of their money for bad business . After a little investigation I found that these guys have been scamming people for years under several business names and have even been brought to court by the Attoney General for fraud recently and a few years ago as well. The fallowing article will explain how these thieves operate
Bothell, Kirkland firms ordered to pay more than $400, 000 in fines, restitution
Dec 08 2010, 1:29 PM · UPDATED
The owners of several Web-site-development firms, including a Bothell-based company, have been ordered to pay roughly $470, 000 in fines and reimbursements after allegedly repeatedly failing to live up to promises made to various clients.
“The defendants made their living by taking thousands of dollars from small businesses, promising services they couldn’t deliver, then closing shop as soon as customer complaints rolled in, ” Attorney General Rob McKenna said in a press release.
McKenna's office filed a civil lawsuit in May 2009 in King County Superior Court against three defendants who the state claims operated e-commerce firms under various names, including Cybercom Technologies, which did business in Bothell as Wizy-Wiz eCommerce.
Other companies named in the suit include TNT Cart, which operated under the name Strada Technologies in Kirkland and Seattle; and, White Crane Technologies, which operated in Redmond.
According to the attorney general's office, since launching their operation in 2005, the defendants have used at least eight business names in various locations in Seattle and Eastside areas. Their most recent business name is ABC eCommerce.
The defendants are identified as two Kirkland men, Alexander Martin and Brent Staphill, along with Jeremy Avery of Monroe.
The attorney general's office described how the defendants allegedly "played" one small business owner who paid White Crane Technologies $8, 700 in 2006 to provide a Web site and hosting services. When the Indiana woman called to inquire why the work wasn’t completed, she received a recording that the phone number wasn’t in service. A few months later, she received a call from TNT Cart, offering to rebuild her Web site. Unaware that the TNT Cart was essentially the same business that had taken her money earlier, she paid $2, 800.
In her complaint to the Attorney General’s Office, the Indiana woman wrote:
“I also told him my sister and I had been ripped off by a company called White Crane in 2006 and we could not afford for this to happen again. He said that he had heard of them, but his company was not like them. I then explained to him that I could not work outside of my home because of a car accident and only have a small income from Social Security and that I could not afford it. He came back with he was in a car accident and lost both legs and if it wasn't for TNT Cart giving him a job, he would be were I was. Then he asked me to hold on while he rolled over in his wheelchair to talk to his boss about what they could do for me.”
A defense attorney later said the caller was not in a wheelchair.
The attorney general’s suit accused the defendants of making misrepresentations about the quality of their services, neglecting to deliver services as promised, providing poor customer service, not honoring money-back guarantees and making unauthorized charges to consumers’ debit and credit accounts.
McKenna's office claims the defendants named in the case failed to adequately reply to requests by the state and court that they provide information about their customers and subsequently the defendants were prohibited from opposing the state’s claims. King County Superior Court Judge Julie Spector granted the state’s motion for summary judgment on Dec. 3, finding that the defendant firms' practices violated Washington’s Consumer Protection Act and Commercial Telephone Solicitation Act.
“Judge Spector agreed with our case and criticized their callous treatment of consumers and greed, ” said Attorney General Chief Counsel Paul Selis. “She gave us everything we asked for — injunctive provisions, civil penalties and restitution.”
The total civil penalty imposed amounts to $226, 000. The defendants also must reimburse the state $137, 000 for investigative and legal fees. Restitution to 35 customers totals $108, 000. Additionally, the defendants must create a list of other customers nationwide from whom they have received complaints relating to the issues identified in the lawsuit.
Lastly, the court issued a long list of orders aimed at preventing the defendants from making further alleged misrepresentations in connection with their businesses. Failure to comply could trigger further civil penalties