Better Business Bureau serving the Heart of Texas is warning consumers of a San Antonio based company claiming to be “The #1 fastest growing social network dedicated to preserving and sharing your precious family photos”. Within the last 6 months, BBB has received 34 complaints and reviews from consumers in 22 states, 33 of which invested in the franchise and report losing an alleged total of $120,000.
The business provides a free online membership platform that allows its users to create digital albums of family photos and videos, which can then be shared among people on the same social network. In addition to the free membership, the company’s website advertised an opportunity to invest in the franchise for $3,997 with a claim stating: “You will make at least $9000 in your first 90 days or YOUR MONEY BACK!” According to the company’s advertisement, the investment included a high-speed scanner, laptop, and travel carrying case. The company referred to it as the complete “Business in a Box”, which would provide franchisees everything needed to start their own in-home scanning business.
An Alabama consumer submitted a review on the company stating that she had signed up and sent the money for the “Business in a Box” and received business cards in the mail – with someone else’s name on them. Upon contacting the company, she was directed to send the cards to the correct person and that her equipment and correct cards would be sent out. After months of not receiving the promised marketing materials, the consumer requested a refund which was promised upon the return of the equipment. The equipment has been returned and no refund has been issued.
Consumers who have not received their products or a refund from Phostorian should consider disputing the charges with their credit card company.
BBB offers the following tips to help consumers avoid falling victim to this type of scheme:
• Check bbb.org. before giving money to a company, check its BBB Business Profile to find out more about the business marketplace practices.
• Be wary of the “perfect offer.” A company that requires upfront fees for business opportunities that guarantee specific earnings must be able to substantiate their claims.
• Know your rights. If a company advertises a satisfaction guarantee, they must fulfill their guaranteed promise.
Here’s How to Spot and Avoid Business Investment Scam:
1. Promises that the Investment is Foolproof.
2. Stories about Making Your Dreams Come True.
3. Large Upfront Payments Required.
4. Low risk, High Return Promises, Even If It’s “Guaranteed”.
5. High Pressure Sales Tactics.
6. Do Your Homework: Check out the Company before You Invest
Source: BBB Serving the Heart of Texas