BBB Warns of Tech Company Charging Consumers Unnecessary Fees to Set Up Roku Devices

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CaliGeeks, Inc., purportedly based in Garland, Texas, currently has an “F” rating with BBB Serving North Central Texas due to its failure to respond to 27 complaints filed against the business. Customers told BBB that CaliGeeks misled them into paying unnecessary fees to activate their Roku devices. The company has received 45 complaints in the last year.  This scheme has affected customers from over 25 states in the US, including Alabama. The company continues to receive new complaints, as many Americans spend more time at home due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Customers attempting to activate their Roku streaming devices and Roku enabled smart televisions told Better Business Bureau that, after seeing an error message, they were directed to call CaliGeeks, Inc. According to BBB complaints, once customers called CaliGeeks, representatives of the company posed as authorized agents or employees of Roku, Inc. Customers stated that they were subsequently charged an unnecessary activation fee ranging from $79.99 – $249.99 and were led to believe that this fee was required to enable their Roku device.

Roku, Inc., confirms on its website that there is no activation fee to initiate service. Roku specifically advises against paying any fees to enable their devices and suggests that customers ignore any requests to do so. 

The prompt to call CaliGeeks, Inc., allegedly happens when setting up electronics and smart devices. BBB cautions the public that even smart televisions can be compromised by tech savvy schemes. If customers questioned the fee, they said that they were provided reasons why the fee is now required: a new law, new policy implemented by Roku, Inc. or the device would not work without this intervention.  

BBB has issued warnings about misleading technical support schemes. However, recent events have caused an uptick in sales and use of electronic devices. “It is even more important now to be warry of schemes that involve computers and smart devices,” says Phylissia Clark, Vice President of Public Relations and Communications for BBB Serving North Central Texas. “With everyone entertaining families and working from home, our computers, phones, and smart televisions will be more vulnerable to compromise than ever.”  

BBB also warns the public not to underestimate the potential for malware to be installed on your devices. Another complainant against CaliGeeks, a resident of Highland, Illinois, told BBB, “They created a virus that cost me an additional $300 to correct. This company is corrupt.”

Due to a pattern of complaints, BBB Serving North Central Texas opened an investigation into CaliGeeks, Inc. in late February 2020. On February 20, 2020, BBB requested that CaliGeeks clarify its relationship with Roku, Inc. To date, the company has been unresponsive to BBB’s request for clarification. BBB warns consumers nationwide to be on the alert for this type of scam. If you paid a third-party to activate or access your Roku streaming device, believing that it was required, BBB provides the following tips:

  • If you see an error message, make sure that you are calling Roku and work with them directly
  • If you believe that you have interacted with a fraudulent website, email Roku (customer.advocate@roku.com)
  • Call your credit card company to request that charges be reversed
  • Check your bank and credit card statements for inaccuracies
  • Remove any software that the third-party may have installed on your devices and run a malware scan
  • Change any passwords for programs that you used on these devices, including the password to access your Roku.com account
  • File a complaint with Better Business Bureau to alert BBB of the occurrence
  • File a complaint with Federal Trade Commission
  • Be sure to include the following information in any complaint: the website address of any fraudulent website, any phone numbers that you were prompted to call, details about how you were approached to pay the fee to install your Roku device. 

Source: BBB.org

To report a scam, go to the BBB Scam Tracker. To find trustworthy businesses, go to https://www.bbb.org

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