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Free Gas Redemption / Gasoline Redemption Center

1 United States Review updated:

Straight from the BBB website.

On February 12, 2009, the Florida Attorney General filed an action against the company and Crystal M. Clark, President, alleging that they engaged in unfair and deceptive marketing of gasoline redemption vouchers (Case Number [protected] CI, filed in the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court in Pinellas County). Two counts were brought against the company:

(1) Violations of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act
(2) False and Misleading Advertising

An investigation by the Attorney General's Economic Crimes Division revealed Clark and her company engaged in an unfair and deceptive marketing scheme by producing and distributing vouchers for gasoline through a nationwide network of independent distributors, but failing to provide the gas cards as promised. The vouchers were sold by distributors to retail merchants which in turn offered the vouchers to encourage sales of retail products and services. The lawsuit states hundreds of thousands of these vouchers may have been provided to consumers across the country.



On February 20, 2009, the court approved a Stipulated Order for Preliminary Injunction and Appointment of Receiver with regard to this action. A Receiver has been appointed whose job responsibilities include taking possession of all of the company's assets and providing reports to the court detailing the financial condition of the company.

The company and Ms. Clark are prohibited from:

1. Engaging in any of the practices alleged as violations of law in the Attorney General's action;
2. Engaging in false or misleading advertising;
3. Selling or transferring any of the company's client lists or business information;
4. Misrepresenting to any participant any reason for their delay and failure to fulfill the obligations of the company;
5. Continuing to see any gasoline redemption program; and
6. Destroying any company assets, documents, computers, etc.



On March 6, 2009, the Receiver submitted his initial report BBB Definition:

report - A summary of activity reflected in a company's BBB file. Includes basic business background, BBB Accreditation information, and BBB complaint activity over the previous three years. Also reports may include any known government actions, advertising issues BBB Definition:

advertising issues - Claims alleging print or electronic media advertised claims or practices misrepresent the service or product offer.
or other information that results from activity conducted by BBB., providing the court his preliminary analysis and findings. Based upon preliminary estimates, it appears that the company's liabilities may exceed its assets by more than $10 million dollars. Other preliminary findings include:

1. Based upon the Receiver's review of the available books and records of the business, interviews with Crystal M. Clark and other Tidewater Marketing employees, and analysis of the known assets and liabilities of the business, the Receiver has determined that the business does not have, and has never had, the financial capacity to provide prepaid debit cards, whether for the purchase of gasoline or other products, to all consumers who acquired "certificates" from retailers and presented them to the business for redemption and issuance of the cards. Instead, the business was dependent upon revenues from continued sales of the certificates, and alleged infusions of capital from Ms. Clark, to purchase and activate the cards. As a result, in the vast majority of transactions the Receiver has examined, consumers received nothing from the business despite satisfying all preconditions to issuance and activation of the cards. Only those few consumers who continuously complained to the business or consumer protection organizations and agencies, received the prepaid cards.

2. The business model lacked economic viability from the outset. The business literally created the "certificates" and "vouchers" out of thin air: the business generated millions of "passcodes" using a computer program. These codes were imprinted on a variety of certificates which the holder could allegedly redeem with the business for gasoline or other merchandise. The business then sold these certificates to intermediary "distributors" for relatively nominal amounts (for example, $.50-$2.50 per certificate). The distributors, in turn, inflated the price of the certificates, sometimes by as much as 20 times, and resold them to retailers. Retailers, in turn, furnished the certificates to consumers as incentives to induce the purchase of goods and services. At no time, however, did the business have sufficient assets or capital to actually satisfy its obligations to purchase and issue the prepaid cards to consumers who satisfied the redemption criteria. Based upon preliminary estimates, it appears that the business's liabilities for redemption of outstanding certificates and other expenses may exceed its assets by more than $10 million dollars.

3. The apparent objective of the business was to develop a vast consumer database that would have value as a marketing tool for gasoline companies and other retailers. Because the preconditions established by the business for redemption of the certificates required the purchase of goods or services from the retailers (i.e., a purchase of $100.00 worth of gasoline from company "A" would entitle the certificate holder to a $25 prepaid card for gas at "A"), the database would allegedly contain consumers more likely to be loyal to the retailers and, hence, have more value. The business purportedly envisioned that the database would become sufficiently valuable as a marketing tool that the retailers would supply the prepaid cards to the business for distribution to consumers. The Receiver, however, has found no evidence of contractual or other arrangements between the business and retailers whereby the retailers would either (i) provide the prepaid cards to the business at no or reduced cost, or (ii) pay the business significant compensation for marketing activities through the use of the database. Indeed, reliance of the business on such arrangements to meet their financial liabilities for the redemption of the certificates was inherently unsound because, at the time the business created the certificates and sold them to the distributors, there was no database of consumers.

4. As of the date of the initial report BBB Definition:

report - A summary of activity reflected in a company's BBB file. Includes basic business background, BBB Accreditation information, and BBB complaint activity over the previous three years. Also reports may include any known government actions, advertising issues BBB Definition:

advertising issues - Claims alleging print or electronic media advertised claims or practices misrepresent the service or product offer.
or other information that results from activity conducted by BBB., it appears that the business created at least 2.2 Million passcodes; however, no records have been located summarizing how many were sold to distributors for resale to retailers. The business's records reflect that almost 130, 000 consumers have registered their certificates with the company. Those consumers have apparently satisfied all preconditions and are entitled to approximately 360, 000 prepaid debit cards from the business. The records also reflect that the business issued only about 28, 000 prepaid debit cards to these consumers. Assuming each certificate entitles the holder upon redemption to a $25.00 prepaid debit card, the liability of the business for the 332, 000 unissued cards, plus load fees and mailing costs, exceeds $10 million. Due to the business's inadequate internal controls, poor recordkeeping practices, and failure to provide financial statements to the Receiver as required by the court, the Receiver emphasized that these are preliminary estimates only, and are subject to review and revision.

This matter is pending. For more information and details on the action, please contact the Florida Attorney General's Office at [protected] or http://myfloridalegal.com.


http://westflorida.bbb.org/WWWRoot/Report.aspx?site=47&bbb=0653&firm=90026293#govtaction

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Comments

Am
  19th of Mar, 2009
0 Votes

I think the big question here is can we at least get our "Redemption Assistance Fee" back? And can we see these people go to jail for their crime? Glad that I blacked out my credit card number before sending in my receipts.

Ty
  20th of Mar, 2009
0 Votes
Free Gas Redemption - took my money
freegas redemption
3665 east bay dr. ste 204 #17
Largo
Florida
United States
Phone: 18888285266
info@freegasredemption.com

i sended money on free gas but received no card what can i do to get my money back from them they just cannot go around takeing money from people like that can i sue them let me know soon--email me back let me hear from you think you very much .
tyrone bonner

Am
  20th of Mar, 2009
0 Votes

The State of Florida Attorney General has intervened on this and the case is currently pending. You may file a complaint with the Attorney General’s fraud hotline at 1-866-966-7226 or may file a complaint online at http://myfloridalegal.com. I did it. I hope this helps.

Nl
  30th of Mar, 2009
0 Votes
Free Gas Redemption - Not receiving coupons for gas as promised
Free Gas Redemption
Clinton
Utah
United States
Phone:

We bought our Jeep in May/2008. I have been sending in my receipts monthly with the vouchers. I have never recieved any $25.00 gas coupons as promised. Also, the last monthly I sent in was returned by the post office as refused. This is a scam!!!

Co
  1st of Jan, 2010
0 Votes

class action suit

Co
  1st of Jan, 2010
0 Votes

we all should file a class action suit

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