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Initial Underwriting Group / Rushed sales, bad customer service, no refunds

1 United States Review updated:
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Never in my life have I been so confused, mistreated and financially raped by a company. Even AOL's routine double and triple billing wasn't as bad as dealing with IUG. At first glance, this company was EXACTLY what I was looking for and like all things that appear too good to be true, it was.

I'm a native American small business owner located in Maine. I have small town family values and place the safety & happiness of my clients and employees at the top of my daily "To-Do-List". (Second is making a great product and delivering on the promise of great service, third is making money.)

Now, like I said, I thought IUG had exactly what I was looking for, they had a rep call me and wanted me to fill out a form on their website, while still on the phone. I thought I was just getting a pleasant change from the normal humdrum of daily business, now being on the phone and typing & reading all at the same time is hectic at best. They wanted some cash up front to get started after they called again to tell me I had qualified for a $32, 500 small business loan. I was so happy but couldn't come up with the $950 they wanted. So they said they've give me a break, send $400 and they would get the ball rolling. I have a really tight budget but I was able to free up the $400 and send it. Now they send me an email saying that my money was non-refundable and that I had to be incorporated to get the loan. "But you knew I was a sole proprietorship?" To which he replied we'll get you incorporated. Ok I thought, so how much is that? He told me it was about a hundred dollars or so. But I thought this was all included. He told me it is. So why do I pay more? He said I don't, I pay the State. So back to being incorporated, which I'm not and told them so on their OWN application. I spent the day trying to contact them via phone to clear up this situation.

They'd only had my money 10 minutes, what could be the problem? I was asked repeatedly "Are you joking?" by customer support. I tried elevated my complaints to their managers and sent emails to their sales and support email addresses. These were all dismissed by their management staff because I had hit a little checkbox that said I agreed to this BS while I was on the phone and online with their website AT their request.) Not one message for a call-back from a manager was returned. This is getting ridiculous at this point. I check out the SBA website and find some contact info for the company's owner. I tried explaining the situation but to no avail. Again with the checkbox. Then I was told that I had agreed and they had the phone conversation recorded. Ok, how can I get a copy of these recordings? So I mention that my lawyer could obtain copies through the court system. I was then told not to threaten them and they hung up on me. The owner never once would pick up my calls.

I've lost $400 but learned a valuable lesson about Initial Underwriting Group, STAY AWAY.

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  • Fa
      17th of Jul, 2008
    -2 Votes

    lol 400 bux I;ve lost almost 20 k with these ###

  • Fo
      8th of Aug, 2008
    -2 Votes

    I am a former employee and I feel incredibly sorry for everyone who has ever dealt with this company. They pass themselves off as a lender when in fact they are not. The $32, 000 they promise up front is in gas cards, office supply store credit cards, etc. which are all obtainable for free on your own. Not once have I ever seen anyone funded the entire time I worked there. They are a scam. The company is a fraud. Check them out on the BBB website. The owner's name is Mr. Bodner, and if you have ever tried to speak with "Leo", he does not exist. He refuses to talk with any of the clients. He is a coward, taking people's money and not doing anything for them.

  • Fa
      22nd of Aug, 2008
    -2 Votes

    Now they want to charge you an additional 90 bux for their "concierge" service so you can ahve an experian score. This is a absolute joke. I ahve spent a freakin fortune with this rip off company for over 8 months and still have no funding. This Leo/Ilya character is never available. Jaimie and Anita are nice enough but don't have a clue. This company is a rip off. I have contacted bbb, but doubt I'll get any satisfaction. I want a refund too.

  • Ly
      2nd of Sep, 2008
    +3 Votes

    It is interesting to me as I read through your comments that because you were not willing to follow through with the directions given, Initial Underwriting is the bad guy here.

    I have personally been a client of IUG's for going on 4 months now. I feel that IUG has given me excellent direction and everything they have said has been truthful. Although this is a lengthy process that certainly isn't IUG's fault.

    It sounds to me as if each of your idea's in reference to building business credit have been skewered some way or another and you are using IUG as the fall guy.

    If you are naive enough to sign up for a service you really don't understand then that is no ones fault but your own.

  • Er
      2nd of Sep, 2008
    +2 Votes

    I disagree totally. I have been a client of IUG almost a year now and am very pleased with the service. They got my LLC set up, and my DNB account. I have gotten plenty of those accounts you are talking about with the gas cards and credit cards, and have obtained lines of credit over the 50k I was pre-approved for. I just got another 15k in vehicle financing last week and I am hoping for more! I know I am not the only satisfied client because I was given references and client testimonials before I agreed to sign up, but I know this is a complaints board, not a compliment board. I too got the email in reference to raising the monthly fees for building experian score. I opted out, the email said it was not mandatory. I am happy enough with the paydex score, and what I have obtained with that, but then again, I was not looking for a huge loan.

  • Je
      3rd of Sep, 2008
    +2 Votes

    I was skeptical about IUG at first, the BBB is terrible. But then I went on to check their listing with the local SBA and Prosper. For some reason I trusted them and I'm glad I made that choice. Don't get me wrong, I also felt nervous. The thing that made it better is the result, getting my despirately needed line of credit. Finally!

  • Am
      4th of Sep, 2008
    +2 Votes

    As a client who has been with IUG for over a year now, I can tell you that these guys really know what they're doing. They've built my business credit, and helped me with everything I needed, they were professional and I would certainly use their services again! Sorry you had a bad experience but it's always good to read the fine prints, instead of blaming someone for your mistake.

  • Do
      26th of Sep, 2008
    +2 Votes

    I posted a comment to the original complaint which agreed with it. This was 67 days ago.

    Since then, my position as wholly changed to a very favorable one.

    Here is why: within days of posting my comment, I began to have good reporting vendors added to my Dun & Bradstreet file. I went from being a frustrated client to a happy client almost overnight!

    This is a good company that can help you achieve your objectives if you follow its program properly.

    For those of you reading this, let me give you some advice. Enroll in its Concierge program up front. This can cut down the time for getting good credit for your company and loans by up to three months. Yes, you can do the recommended applications yourself, but it slows down the process considerably. It is $90 per month well spent.

  • Br
      29th of Oct, 2008
    -3 Votes

    This company is an absolute scam in my opinion. Read the former employees' comments on this blog. I paid them $75 for a year and got nothing, in fact when I terminated the they put a "black "mark on my business - this is the thanks I get for giving them $75 a month for a year! I just talked to them about a refund or a credit towards future business and was told I would have to pay 3 months of fees in advance - yeah right!

  • Ji
      27th of Nov, 2008
    -3 Votes

    all I know is I have lost a lot of money to this group.I'm sure most of these "favorable" comments are
    coming from bodner himself. These kind of business practices will always come back to haunt ya.

  • Ck
      28th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    Our BBB has been asked by two complainants to close their complaints because they said the company would not otherwise move forward with the loan process.

    Another complainant provided an email from the company which said, "after the complaint it is our company policy to stop any settlements. We ask you kindly to drop the complaint and you will receive the correct refund back."

    Under no circumstances should a BBB ever remove a complaint from a 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.
    if there is an indication that this is the only way a complaint will be resolved
    BBB Definition:

    resolved - The company resolved
    BBB Definition:

    resolved - The company resolved the complaint issues.
    the complaint issues.

    Back to top

    Business Contact and Profile
    Name: Strong Business Credit
    Phone: (614) 231-4300
    Fax: (877) 752-4300
    Address: 33 S James Rd Ste 233
    Columbus, OH 43213-1065
    Original Business Start Date: June 2003
    Principal: Mr. "Leo" Bodner, Owner
    Email Address:
    TOB Classification: Credit Repair Services, Advance Fee Brokers
    BBB Accreditation: This company is not a BBB Accredited business.
    Additional DBA Names:
    Universal Resource Network, LLC
    Initial Underwriting Group LLC
    Initial Underwirting Group LLC (Not LLC)

  • Ka
      7th of Feb, 2009
    -2 Votes

    100% agree. The companypromised of a refund if the client was mistreated, frustrated, and handled unprofessionally. All the client had to do was contact the company directly. I contacted the company, and received a reply of "no refund", then received a message of 'yes refund', then no, then yes, no, yes (this happened about 6 times). After not recieving my refund, I filed with the BBB of which they are currently days behind their rebuttal due date. Within the time of the BBB complaint being filed, I've received 4 phone calls solicating my busiess to come back to work with them. Do they not understand that when a customer files a complaint, the customer most likely does not want to work with them, so why do I keep getting solication calls? I'm thinking that the marketing group has no idea of what is going on with their customers (past or present). To top things off I had a 1:o0 appointment to talk with Jamie Cardinal (a primary leader of the company) today about my complaint and she stood me up. Talk about FRUSTRATION WITH THE COMPANY.

    1. They did not do as they promised for me
    2. They consistantly provided me with conflicting messages
    3. They cost me $1700.00 before I gave up and quit them because of frustration and disappointment with them

    My comment BUYER BEWARE, if you choose to work with this company, I hope they treat you better then they did me.

  • Ga
      27th of Feb, 2009
    +1 Votes


  • La
      23rd of Apr, 2009
    +2 Votes

    Initial Underwriting Group is a great company, I got $50, 000 with them and they have a great staff

  • Be
      23rd of Apr, 2009
    0 Votes

    IUG guided me to get 25K in supplies credit. It allowed me to finish and deliver product to my customer. This is the way to go. Great company.

  • Og
      13th of May, 2009
    0 Votes

    Hey guys I am a Canadian and also a small business owner. These guys are constantly calling me. My dad always said if it is too good to be true it probably is. So I am sitting on the fence here about pursueing anything with IUG. We are really strapped for cash and to just throw it away to another one of these promise you the world firms would pretty much ruin me and my family.

    I am a little confused here a lot of people having bad experiences and also a few people here with good experiences. I just wonder if those good experiences are actually from people that either own the firm or work for the firm.

    Should I even bother with these guys.

  • Jo
      2nd of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    I 'am a former employee. I wish that I could still be there (but I love Florida Better) We Have changed the way the disclosures are given to the Customers. This isn't an instant gratification service... You are contracting a company to get your business credit in order so the future of your business credit is in good standing... Everyone lives in the here and Now and doesn’t want to work for their credit. If you just follow the steps that are given to you to a T you will see the results that we guarantee. Now to address the fees, Profit is not a dirty word. Your paying someone to do your dirty work Chase down your potential credit Grantors and improve you Credit score. If you can do this yourself than why are you contacting the company? We will get you the credit you deserve

  • Sc
      10th of Jul, 2009
    0 Votes

    I have a small business and was contact by IUG several months ago. They seemed real. They told me that they could either help me improve my D&B credit score and help me establish credit, or if I had already done this, they could help be obtain a business line of credit. One of many guys that work there, gave me the # to a particular department with the D&B and told me that I would need a current credit report. He told me that if my score was a perfect "80" with D&B and if I had at least 5 trade lines with a high credit of at least $45, 000, then I would automatically be approved. I immediately call the D&B # and they immediatley show me how to retain my D&B file from the computor. Not only was my score a perfect "80", but I had 15 trade lines with a high credit of $137500.00. I then called this particular person back, and he asked that I send that report to him, in which I did. 20 minutes later, he called me and told me that I was the type of business owner he was looking for and with 2-3 days he guaranteed me that I would be approved for at least a $50, 000 line of business credit. He also told me that I would not need to pay any fees to have my credit repaired of built, because I had already done a great job at it. He did tell me that the only fee I would need to pay would be 4.5% of the amount of credit line he got for me. I agreed to this fee. The next day, he had another person call me and fill out an online app to start the process. How STUPID was I to believe this guy. Over the next 2 weeks, I called several times. One day I was told he was in the office but was in a meeting and he would call me back. After several hours, I called back, only to be told by some girl that he had been out of the office, including that particular day due to a death in the family! I decided to just let it go. Another 2 weeks go by and I recieve 7 emails from IUG as if they had never talked to me, telling me that I may qualify for a loan--I have responded to all of these emails, asking them to opt my off of their email list --never with a responce. Suddenly one day, a man calls me on a Friday and tells me that I have been approved for $35, 500.00 and that we would finish everything on the following Monday. MONDAY NEVER CAME!!! Here we go again with automotated phone calls and emails as if they have never spoking to me again. Now, today, 07/10/09, I get another phone call and I told the guy that I INSIST on being removed from his fake companies phone call list and email list. This unprofessional guy raised his voice to me and he got it back it return. Now, I have asked this comany to stop bothering me and they refuse. Its time for me to take this a step higher!! I have recoreded and kept all paper trail of the information that is needed for someone to investiage IUG.

  • Ci
      15th of Jul, 2009
    0 Votes

    I finally woke up. Bodner is a liar and a scammer.
    If you look on Brandons profile you will see he worked as a collections agent, that is exacly how he treats all the customers. Like crap.
    When I was having trouble with my business plan Leo said he would help then Brandon would put more pressure on me wanting to set up meetings all the time to discuss outstanding documents, I would tell him "why do we need a meeting"? you know that the only outstanding document is the business plan. By the way Brandon is not allowed to have a email or access to your Box account so he really is calling to find out what you know, what a joke. LMAO!. Then Leo had Jaime Cardinal call me to give me help but then later asked me how I was to pay for this. They are all about sales and do nothing else.

    They play stall games and sales tactics. Leo even rips off his own employees whom I have a sneeking hunch work on commision. Jaime was a great asset to that team she was plesent to deal with and she did her best to be a mediater.
    Her and Rob are now fired. They say the creme floats to the top, but in Initial Underwriting Group it goes out the door.
    One thing to look for is the document stall ball game. Your documents will be rejected in but they will not tell you why or give any details.

    Another thing they will tell you that you are quallified for $32, 000 right away BUT you have to have a score of 75 DnB score. I asked Brandon how is it that I qualify for $32, 000 lines of credit right now if I have not even sent in for a DnB number? He got very upset with me. Lies and misrepresentations

    James, the VP manager will tell you that you could have lines of credit in as little as two weeks. Lies and misrepresentations

    James will sell the program for $790 as a special then you will get a call from Leo trying to sell the same program for $1400 he said it was the Cadillac of Cadillacs. But it was the same program. When I called him on it several times he finally gave me back half the additional sum but not all. More Lies and misrepresentations

    James will say that you need to call this person to get your service started. I am asking myself James is my contact person why does he not call this person to set up my monthly service?

    And on and on Smokes screens upon smoke screens. Bodner is one paranoid person he is afraid of his own employees especially the ones that leave. He sends out emails to the customers wishing the ex employees well but that if you are contacted by then you are to report it imediately Huh! go figure.

    Don't be swayed by the positive posts above folks, they are boiler room posts by Mr. Bodner AKA Leo He does a PR campaign and lot's of damage control.

    I am starting a civil suit with the State Of Ohio and posting a complaint with the BBB Plus I kept all emails a recordings for my attorney.

    If you are going to bed at night tossing and turning and thingking you made a mistake using IUG's services, you most likely did make a mistake. The worst thing is that they have sencitive personal and business information about me. But remember folks even great conartists make mistakes!

    You can help by calling and complaing to the BBB Also The Ohio States Attorney Here is another on The SBA. Complain to some of the affiliates lthat are on IUG's web page they may not support IUG anymore like
    It should be known that Leo owns Strong Business Credit and Commonwealth advisors

    Here is my email contact

  • Re
      15th of Jul, 2009
    -1 Votes

    This company, intial underwriting group, uses illegal and unethical business practices. They continue to place unsolicited robo-calls to my cell phone, which is on the Do-Not-Call registry. These calls are also in direct violation of the FTC's regulations against placing automated calls to cellular phones. When i called to ask to be removed, the people were dismissive, rude, and tried to build a longer file on me to undoubtedly try to find new ways to spam me.

    I find it hard to believe they're so stupid that they want to waste resources bugging someone who is so irritated that he would never consider giving them business. Each call I get now gets reported to the FTC.

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