Pittsburgh, PA – May 15, 2012 – The Better Business Bureau of Western PA’s Hot Topics is a monthly alert regarding companies across all industries that are currently targeting Western Pennsylvania consumers. The Hot Topics list and information is also available on the BBB website under the News Center.
According to Warren King, President of the Better Business Bureau, “The BBB’s goal in creating Hot Topics is to help educate and protect the marketplace from businesses targeting local consumers.”
The following report is based on your BBB’s research as of May 15, 2012 and includes information received at our office on companies marketing to local Pennsylvanians. Click on the company name for an updated BBB report. Please take into consideration the importance of the practice and total performance of the company. To access over four million companies nationwide, visit www.bbb.org.
- Dealership Warranties – Auto service contract company
An F rated company based out of Missouri, Dealership Warranties has had 102 complaints closed with the BBB in the last 3 years. In 2009, the Missouri Attorney General filed a lawsuit against this company alleging it used misleading telemarketing, letters and postcards to market what appeared to be “extended auto warranties” to consumers, that were actually “service contracts or “automotive additives.” The business led consumers to mistakenly believe their current vehicle warranties were about to expire and that they would not have another opportunity to purchase an extended warranty unless they acted immediately. For more information on the difference between warranties and auto service contracts, read BBB’s tips.
- Grantor’s Institute of America – Membership to apply for grants
Based out of Washington, DC, this F rated company has closed half of its complaints in the last 12 months and has failed to respond to 12 complaints filed against the business. The company sells memberships for $39 for a 90 day period, during which the consumer can apply for grants listed in a publication, The Grant Sources Directory. After 90 days, the consumer is urged to re-apply for another 90 day period for $25. Company materials indicate that any grants come from third party organizations, Grantor’s Institute of America plays no part in that process and there is no promise made that any action is taken on materials submitted to the company. The company has responded to some consumer complaints by asking for proof of payment before making any adjustment. View BBB’s tips on grant offers.
- Superior Marketing Group – Television advertising consulting firm
Due to complaint history, including serious complaints, unresolved complaints and failure to respond to a complaint, Superior Marketing Group, based out of Arizona, has an F rating with the BBB. Complainants allege high pressure sales tactics, promises of high earnings and were told that if they purchased advertising they would see an increase in website traffic and a substantial return on investment. The company sells ads in the form of TV commercials which consumers claim they paid upfront fees for and reported no increase in sales or website visits. BBB requested validation of those commercials airing and though the company provided requested documents to BBB, Superior Marketing Group was unable to substantiate that the commercials aired.
- Superior Power Sports – ATV, scooter and dirt bike dealer
Revoked of BBB Accreditation in 2011, Superior Power Sports of California has had 111 complaints closed with the BBB in the last 3 years and 51 complaints closed in the last 12 months. Complainants allege the company’s products are defective or malfunction shortly after delivery, difficulty obtaining technical support and getting units repaired, replaced or returned and lack of customer service. Complainants also allege refund issues or problems cancelling orders. Though the company has failed to respond to 25 complaints, it has responded to some by arranging for products to be returned for repair/replacement, sending replacement parts, offering to review pictures of damages to determine how to address issues, issuing refunds and cancelling orders.
- US Mint Green LTD – Investigative services for inmates
This investigative services company offers legal research and assistance to inmates in reconnecting with family and friends. An F rated company based out of Ohio, US Mint Green LTD has a pattern of complaints in which 70 complaints were closed in the last 3 years and 30 complaints were closed within the last 12 months. Specifically, complaints allege that inmates paid upfront fees for services; however, the company failed to deliver as promised. In addition, complaints allege the company does not respond to customer requests for assistance and fails to issue refunds for services not rendered. In December 2010, BBB contacted the company in an effort to address the pattern of complaints, but the company did not address the issues presented. Currently, the website listed for US Mint Green LTD is shown as unavailable.
- Werner International Enterprises Inc. – Office supplies: telemarketing
An F rated company based out of Maryland, Werner International Enterprises Inc. has had 109 complaints closed with the BBB in the last 12 months. In January 2011, BBB contacted the company regarding a pattern of complaints received from businesses alleging deceptive sales practices and subsequent unauthorized delivery of light bulbs. The company did not respond. Some complainants alleged the company declined to accept the return of unordered merchandise and expected payment. According to the Maryland Department of Assessments & Taxation, Benjamin Cox, who is the principal of Werner International Enterprises Inc. is also the owner of Easton Chemical Supply, Inc. which is an F rated company that offers chemical supplies to commercial and residential consumers. Check out BBB’s tips on unsolicited merchandise.
About the BBB System
BBB is an unbiased organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB provides objective advice, free business BBB Reliability ReportsTM and charity BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 116 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring more than 4 million local and national businesses and charities. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information about the BBB System.