Valley Business Development / Poor Service/Unfulfilled Contract
Dear Consumer Protection Advocate,
I have a situation that I hope you can help me with. This may be beyond your usual scope of involvement but I know you can help with a lot of consumer issues. Please forgive the lengthy explanation, I will be as brief as I can.
Since June 9, 2011 I have been dealing with a Grant writing company, Valley Business Development (VBD ) that is not performing as promised. I first started doing business with this company after answering a robo call fishing for people interested in receiving grants. Not Government grants but grants given by corporations and foundations to stimulate business growth. After speaking with their representative I did some due diligence on the computer and found that, indeed, these grants are available and I found no bad reports on this company through the Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, etc. I decided to take a chance and retained their services. They said that my business idea, a vending machine business, qualified for $150, 000.00 grant and I paid approximately $3200.00, which was half of the fee, with the remainder to be collected when the grant was obtained.
At first they were following through wonderfully, contacting me for info and working on a business plan with me, which I received. Part of my business model was to support local charities. Soon after laying out my business plan to the writer I received a phone call from this company’s Non-Profit division saying that my business plan would qualify for funding as a Non-Profit. In fact, they explained, I could receive funding for both Profit and Non-Profit and work them together. Non-Profit services were available for $3900.00. (I know, I know how this sounds). It all seemed feasible and I went for it. Again, paperwork was done for me, documents were filed with the State of Nevada, etc. Everything seemed to be going fine. I was getting in on the current funding cycle and should have funding soon, at this point, Oct. 31, 2011 for the Non-Profit project.
No funding came. I had been working with the main representative for the Non-Profit division, Thomas Clifton, and he started giving me one excuse after another for the delay, all which seemed plausible. Finally, at the end of Jan. 2012, he told me that the Grant “Award Letter” was in the mail. Basically, the money was on it’s way, but this is where things really start to break down.
I never received the letter and found out that, through VBD’s error, the letter was mailed to an erroneous address. Thomas Clifton said he would take care of it. Soon after that I could no longer reach Mr. Clifton, then I was told that he was “retiring” and that chances were that no Award Letter had been sent out. I was assigned a new representative, Mark Smith, who had 30 yrs experience in the biz and he would handle both my Non-Profit and For Profit projects. He was enthusiastic about getting my projects funded but as of this date no funding has been obtained.
Please realize, this company has never asked for more money and I can always get a hold of someone there. I think they are a legitimate business and not some fly-by-night scammers. I have checked around a little on the internet and find only 1 old complaint on the So. Las Vegas BBB site and 2 businesses praising VBD. I just think they oversold themselves and made a promise they weren’t able to keep and they need to give me my money back.
In these latter days I have found out from my local SBDC(Small Bus. Dev. Center) that the Biz plan VBD provided is lacking in several areas and I was falsely told by Thomas Clifton that I did not need to file some required paperwork with the IRS until after funding was received. After finding this out I told Mark Smith and Mark claimed to have asked the owner to pay the $850.00 filing fee, which the owner declined to do. Now all I have is a bunch of worthless paper and no small amount of frustration. These, along with several other issues, have happened in the past months as well, like I still don’t have funding for the For- Profit project either and Mark Smith has been horrible at returning calls, but I’m not going to take up anymore of your time. Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated. The company’s name is:
Valley Business Development 1055 Tropicana Ave Ste 800 Las Vegas, NV 89119
Tel [protected] Fax [protected] Email: [protected]@valleymail.net Website: valleybusinessdevelopment.com
Please let me know if you’d like anymore information.
P.S. I have written two pointedly disappointed and descriptive letters to the President of VBD asking for help, the 2nd asking for my money back, with no response
Thanks again and have a great day!