We received a call from a lady identifying herself as a representative of Firehouse Promotions. They are working with the Marion Fire Department, putting together message boards for every household in Marion, Iowa. She solicited our business to purchase a 2x2" square ad on this message board for $400. She then offered it to us for $300, as a last minute deal. I told my husband to hold off; started doing some research on the Internet, and found many complaints about this company. It appears to be a scam. I found complaints listed for other states, the closest being Moline, Illinois, but nothing in Iowa. Watch out people in Iowa!
Firehouse Promotions Inc. contacted me July 31, 2008. Very similar to what I read the Las Vegas Realtor wrote…They said they received my information off of Realtor.com and 'You're very pretty' is what 'Sales Manager' Mary said. They stated they were calling from a company that produces emergency contact info on magnetic dry/erase memo boards and that they are contracted with the local fire department to make these boards and would I like to sponsor ad space for one of six spots available, & I would be the only Realtor featured on the ad. The said 10, 000 memo boards would be distributed by the City of Council Bluffs, IA fire department during fire prevention week in October and also at their safety training done in schools, parades, etc, throughout the year.
I was reluctant so they told me to check it out with the fire department myself and then call them back. I checked with the fire department and they said they had done business with the company several years ago and that it was indeed legitimate. So I called them back to have them go ahead and place the ad and emailed them my business card to put on the ad. They required $300 at the time and then the 2nd half $300 would be due two weeks later.
Then October 15 they called my Husband, Dustin, who owns a local Construction company and said they still had space for one small ad available but needed to rush in order to get it printed in time for Fire Prevention week, the ad would cost $350 and would again require half at that time and the second half two weeks later. We went forward thinking it was still legit. They ended up calling me one week later to get permission to debit my check card for the second half, which at that time I went ahead and paid the second half.
I received three of the memo 'boards' today. Several things wrong with it. First of all, it is a laminated piece of paper with a marker velcroed on it and sticky magnets on the back. I was not the only Realtor featured, in fact there were two other Realtors on there. My husband's ad isn't even on there at all, and it is way past fire prevention week!!
I called the company at 11:30am today, 11/7/08, and was talking with a gal who told me she was not the one that handles issues like this and that everyone else was 'at lunch'. She said she would call me back. Needless to say, she never called. I called the company several more times today and never got an answer, just a voicemail, where I left two messages. My husband also left messages for them, with no return call.
I talked to the fire department and they too are feeling like the community has been scammed. Just today they received 500 memo 'boards' to pass out instead of the 10, 000 that was promised and are very frustrated that they did not arrive in time for the open houses that are held during fire prevention week.
My husband and I feel so violated. A total of $950 was spent and not much to show for it, and my husband's company didn't even make it on the memo 'board' at all. I have since dug deeper online and have found several scam reports on this company, two which posted after I paid for my ad. The company also operated or still operates under the name 'Spirit Solutions' and 'Rainbow Gifts'. I can't find a contact number for the owner, which in reading other internet documents have found his name to be Sylvanio Perino.