Pittsburgh, PA – April 3, 2013 – 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 April 3, 2013 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.
1. American Freight, Inc. – Furniture distribution
Having received 539 BBB complaints in the last 3 years, BBB files indicate that American Freight, Inc. has a pattern of complaints regarding their “layaway” policy. In addition, customer complaints allege misleading sales practices and failure to honor contracts, disclose delivery charges and respond to requests for assistance. In March 2011, BBB requested the voluntary cooperation of American Freight, Inc. in resolving BBB complaints. The company responded that their delivery method is disclosed on invoices/receipts, a larger font may be an option to better notify consumers and the company’s refund/exchange policy is posted in all stores. BBB strongly urges consumers to understand all layaway policies before choosing a plan.
2. Bene-Fit Health Products – Magnetic mattresses
Offering magnetic therapy devices, Bene-Fit Health Products has received a pattern of BBB complaints concerning not responding to customer calls and emails and failure to deliver products and refunds within a timely manner. In February 2013, BBB brought these concerns to the company’s attention and the company has not responded to the request. As a result of violating BBB Accreditation Standards, Bene-Fit Health Products’ BBB accreditation was revoked in March 2013. According to information found in BBB files, Bene-Fit Health Products is no longer in business at this time.
3. Bennett Brothers, Inc. – Mail order and catalog shopping
An F rated company based out of Chicago, Bennett Brothers, Inc. has received 169 out of 179 BBB complaints in the last 12 months. Many complaints allege that customers never receive ordered items and that the company has delayed sending items for several months. Other complainants allege that the company is difficult to contact as consumer emails go unanswered and unreturned. Some complainants also state difficulty receiving refunds after requesting them from the company. BBB has determined that Bennett Brothers, Inc. has failed to alleviate the pattern of complaints against it and will continue to monitor complaints against this business over the next 12 months.
4. Best Leading Lenders – Advance fee loan brokers
BBB has received information from consumers and complainants that Best Leading Lenders, based out of Pittsburgh, is offering loans for an advance fee. Consumers allege that they have responded to solicitations for loans and after paying several hundred dollars, never receive the loan promised by the company. Best Leading Lenders is not currently licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and utilizes alternate business names of Faxless Payday Loans Cash, Leading Payday Loans, Payday Advance Cash Loans and Payday Loan America Company. For more information on advance fee loans, visit www.bbb.org.
5. Real Wealth Inc. – Work-at-home company
Real Wealth Inc. offered a work-at-home opportunity by selling mailing lists and information products. In 2009, BBB asked the company to substantiate advertised claims that participating in its money-making methods would result in earning $9,250. Real Wealth Inc. has not substantiated to the BBB a single earnings claim. In 2011, a federal judge ruled in favor of the FTC and ordered Real Wealth Inc. and its owner to pay $10.4 million to consumers nationwide who were victimized by its work at home and grant scheme. In February 2013, the FTC announced it was mailing 50,365 refund checks totaling more than $685,000 to consumers who were victimized by the company. View BBB’s tips regarding work-at-home opportunities.
6. TRX Software Development Inc. – Tax preparation software
Since January 2013, BBB has received numerous complaints alleging tax preparation consultants purchased tax software to assist clients with 2012 tax filings; however, the software is incomplete. As a result, tax preparation consultants are unable to file tax returns for their clients. Complainants also allege poor customer service and difficulty obtaining refunds. In March 2013, BBB met with TRX Software Development Inc. to address its pattern of complaints and find a means of eliminating it. The company recognizes the need to address the underlying issues with its program to alleviate its pattern of BBB complaints and has put together a plan to do so. BBB will monitor the company’s efforts and update its BBB business review accordingly as additional information becomes available. Visit www.bbb.org for more helpful tips at tax time.
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 and Charity Reviews and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, BBB offers dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 115 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring more than 4 million local and national businesses and charities. Visit www.bbb.org for more information about BBB.