Bankcard Empire/AIG Promotions Fraud Report
06/03/08 I received the initial pitch for what sounded like a good business opportunity from Mike Reed. The company he works for offers a $50 commission plus an additional percentage of the sales processed for every merchant I would refer who signs up with them to provide credit card processing machines and electronic sales processing services. I said I wasn't interested in a sales position, but my hesitancy only made him deliver his high-pressure sales pitch harder. I said I didn't think I should have to pay just to get some information about this opportunity.
He claimed I filled out a form online requesting information about their company and the all they had to offer me, but he made me feel as though I was wrong to question his offer. He said they normally receive $5,000 for their business package, but he'd allow me to sign on for only $500. I said I couldn't afford that, that I had just purchased some furniture and replaced two televisions recently. He then asked if I could afford $150.
While we were talking I went online and checked out their Website. It looked perfectly legitimate; and since I used the services of a credit card processing company, I didn't want to run the risk of missing out on what just might be a great opportunity to help me to subsidize my income.
By the end of our conversation, he talked me into signing on for $250 for their business package plus a monthly fee of $19.95 to HBO Media for my own Website citing the fact that a lesser package would net me a much lower yield. The Website I would be paying for every month is meant to provide prospective merchants with information and help my business appear legitimate.
As of this date, my Website is still not published on the Internet. I feel the need to mention at this point that this offer was only good at that particular moment; but once we hung up, the sign-on fee would return to $500. Although that first encounter ended with the third-party verification call, it still left me with a bad feeling. With regard to the, what I received for my $269.95, I did receive a folder with inserts that included a W-9 Form, a Bankcard Empire Affiliate Marketing Partner Agreement, and a CD version of their training program. I studied to be a Court Reporter before circumstances necessitated my quitting, so I am using the term training program very loosely. It was riddled with typos, misspelled words, and poorly phrased sentences. That should have been my second clue.
A couple days later I received a call from Mark Collins, my mentor. As soon as he introduced himself to me, he started asking how much money I was willing to spend to get my business started. When I pointed out that Mike Reed stated I wouldn't need to buy anything else to start my business, he became insulting and condescending, stating some of his Affiliates even maxed out all their credit cards to get their businesses off the ground, and asked me why I bothered to sign on if I wasn't prepared to go for it, citing the quote it takes money to make money. I said I'd been burned before and needed to think about it. I told him I didn't appreciate his condescending attitude and stated I would prefer to work with a female mentor, that I related much better with women that I did with men. He then told me that wouldn't be possible because there were no women in his department.
06/10/08 - Obviously, that was a lie; because I then got a call a few days later from Victoria. She stated she would be my new mentor and immediately put me at ease by apologizing for the conversation I had with Mark. She began by telling me she worked for the leading credit card processing company, told me to check it out with the Better Business Bureau if I didn't believe her. She explained how the marketing process worked and what role the Affiliates had in that process, and by the end of our conversation she convinced me to buy 1000 Callblasts, a type of advertising campaign, that they had lists of new business owners and they would do the cold calls, that all I had to do was finance it. I questioned that because Mike Reed stated the exact opposite when he said why would we hire someone to pay for our advertising.
Victoria talked a great game and convinced me this opportunity would be very profitable for me. She said at the time Mike first called me the cost for each Callblast was $2.50, but they were running a special that day, and I could purchase 1000 Callblasts for $1 a piece. She also stated she would throw in free Radio Advertising because of my commitment. Not long after we concluded our conversation she called me back and told me she made a mistake, that she wasn't authorized to make that kind of a deal with me. She said her bosses would only allow her to offer me 500 Callblasts and 500 emails for a total of $1,000. She then stated, you mark my words, you're going to be calling me begging to buy more Callblast advertising.
The next call I received was from a man from AIG Promotions on my cell phone while I was at work stating we needed to discuss my marketing campaign. I was at work and in conference with one of the surgeons in our practice and informed the man I could not discuss anything with him at that time and that I preferred to only work with Victoria. He insisted on knowing why, but I stated I couldn't discuss it at that time and needed to hang up.
When I got home that night, I called Victoria at the number she gave me, but every time I call there I get a man named Rick, who then takes my name and number to have Victoria call me back. I finally had to ask why he couldn't connect me with her extension in the first place, and he told me his headset doesn't enable him to transfer calls to the agents. What legitimate business do you know of that doesn't have a phone system that enables the receptionist to transfer calls to the appropriate extension? I did not hear back from Victoria for 2 more days.
When she finally called me back, I asked her why that man called me and pointed out our agreement was to speak in the evening hours. I told her when her company signs all my paychecks, they may have my undivided attention during working hours. She stated she was out sick with a sinus infection, apologized for his calling me and guaranteed me he would not call me again. I then asked how soon I might see a return on my investment. She said probably not for a couple months which was not what she originally told me. By the end of that conversation, I was not reassured at all.
For that reason, I immediately got on my computer and went to the Better Business Bureau. I queried Bankcard Empire but I couldn't find it on that site. Then I went to the Arizona Better Business Bureau. It took me several tries entering their information a number of different ways. I was finally able to pull up Bankcard on that site, and to my dismay, immediately noticed it had an Unsatisfactory rating. Then I really started to dig. The first site that popped up from a link on the BBB site, was Ripoff Report. There were 14 complaints against Bankcard Empire and AIG Promotions. As I continued my research I found several more. Here are the links to the Webpages that convinced me to report what I firmly believe to be fraudulent activity.