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  • Report: #193928

Complaint Review: Distinct Advantage

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  • Submitted: Tue, May 30, 2006
  • Updated: Sat, July 22, 2006

  • Reported By:Duncan South Carolina
Distinct Advantage
3993 Tyrone Blvd Suite 608182 Saint Petersburg, Florida U.S.A.

Distinct Advantage - Suntasia - Agents Travel Network- Freedom Gold- Florida Passports Ripoff 2nd call Talks fast so hard to understand trys to get bank name & acct numbers relentless and rude Saint Petersburg Florida

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: To Lorraine:

*Consumer Comment: Thanks Joe!

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: This is the "REAL" story

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I have been called 2 times about 3 weeks apart by 2 different men, both talking so fast I could not understand what they said at first. Both said they were with Distinct Advantage and did not tell me where they were located.

They rattled off something about rewarding me for keeping my bank account open for so long and needed the name of my bank, routing number and account number. They were going to deposit $100.00 in my acct and send me a $500.00 gas card but they had to have my information to confirm the account was still open.

I hung up on them both times, after I listened to their spill.The first man was caucasian sounding and the second was black. Both sounded well educated. I don't have caller I.D., or even know where they called from, but I can't figure out how they got my cell phone number, as I do not have a home phone. I did find other reports on your website with an address and phone numbers, that is if they haven't moved. During my conversation with them, I did pay attention to the sounds in the background. It sounded as if he was in a large room with many others behind him talking as he was. It must be pretty big.

Sharon
Duncan, South Carolina
U.S.A.


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/30/2006 04:58 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Distinct-Advantage/Saint-Petersburg-Florida-33709/Distinct-Advantage-Suntasia-Agents-Travel-Network-Freedom-Gold-Florida-Passports-Rip-193928. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE EX-employee responds

To Lorraine:

AUTHOR: Joe - (U.S.A.)

I am sorry to hear you are ill and homebound but I will definitely give you as much information as possible.

Lorraine, to begin with like I stated earlier, Suntasia Marketing is located on 8751 Ulmerton Road, Largo, FL 33771 and their corporate website is www.Suntasia.com. Bryon Wolf is President and CEO, Michael Berndgen is the Chief Financial Officer and Roy Eliasson is the Vice President of Management Information Systems. There are about 8 rooms total that hold about 24 agents in each. Six of those rooms are outbound (an automatic dialer that calls you), the other 2 rooms are for inbound calls (people who call in and are curious about who called or maybe have a complaint). There is also one big room for customer service only, where they are suppose to handle the cancellations or any other concerns from customers like being billed without having the product in hand. Any phone numbers the agent gives you for their products they're selling(Travel Agents Direct, Floridaway, Prism Communications etc), ALL lead to the same place, SUNTASIA MARKETING in Largo.

Your name, address and phone number are obtained through a third party company that they purchase it from. The third party company gets their information by the products you buy, or any other transactions you do that contains your personal information. They DO NOT and are NOT allowed to have or sell your SS#, DOB etc. Once the information is bought by companies like Suntasia, it is put into their dialer system to call you. The dialer clearly labels the names that are brand new leads and also how many times the person has been called. Unfortunately, this information is only seen by the manager of the rooms. He or she has access to it from the bridge (the big, high desk overseeing the agents when you enter the room).

Vericheck (not track) is a software system connecting them to all the banks nationwide that confirm whether you have an open checking account or not. Grocery stores, retail stores all use them to scan your checks to make sure it's legit.

The only information the agent has on their computer at the time when they call is your name, address and telephone number. That's it. After they give you their mumbo jumbo script about how you qualified and the free gifts (gas, airline vouchers etc) you'll be receiving, they tell you it's a reward for maintaining an active checking and ONLY active checking account holders qualify. They ask you for your bank name and the city you opened it in. The reason is b/c they can obtain your routing number through what else? That's right Vericheck! It is only then that many are fooled to believe that the agent has your account number as well. The excuse the agent uses is, we need you to verify the number to make sure it's you, but when you call their bluff that is when they either hang up or put a manager on the phone to push for the sale and get the account. Their tactics are slick even downright insulting.

They usually say that you made a purchase through one of their 400, 1000, 1700 affiliates (pick a number) and that is how your name was entered into their system for this special promotion. ALL A BIG LIE! Like I said before, they bought the names and numbers from another company for anywhere from .20 cents to up to .60 cents per name. Oh and by the way this same information that can be sold to another company by the people who bought them in the first place.

As for the agent writing down the info that they called you. Yes that information can be written in the computer but they don't. If you make them mad the agent can recycle your name back into the system. B9 is the code for DNC (Do Not Call List) on their system but unfortunately many times it is not used b/c they want to get back at you. The only way to get these people off your phone is by sending them a CEASE and DESIST letter like I stated in my previous post. Donald Booth is their lawyer and the letter should be addressed to him. When they call again ask them for their FULL name and let them know they need to code your phone call as a B9, Do Not Call, after you hang up with them.

Lorraine I hope this little extra information has helped you obtain further insight on how these crooks work.
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#2 Consumer Comment

Thanks Joe!

AUTHOR: Lorraine - Geek Consumer Advocate :-) - (U.S.A.)

Due to my best friend using my phone number for some things recently, this company has gotten ahold of it. We have yet to figure out how, but we are thinking it is one of the debit cards he ordered online, yet never activated. (They obviously aren't aware of that, as they keep calling thinking he has a checking account, which he doesn't.)

While I've had some fun playing with them on the phone, they are real pests and are very hard to get info out of. I was going to do a report, but since you replied on this one, I decided to add to it so the information you gave is easily found by other victims.

I'm hoping you can help me understand some of the things I was told by the ladies and gentlemen that called me. They keep saying they got the information from their 'database' called Veritrack and it's FDIC regulated. When I ask for more, such as who is this Veritrack and where can I find them online, they refuse to tell me.

They just say companies they work with entered my info into this Veritrack and that is how they got my phone number. When asked specifically which company, they say they don't know or avoid the question. Can you tell me where they get names and phone numbers from?

I have a Lingo VOIP phone and NEVER give it out, nor is it listed anywhere. I know this came from something my friend did, but we can't figure out what. As soon as we do, a report will be filed on them!

They called me from 727-683-1125. I found 3 other numbers for them from other reports on this site. 877-247-0786 which is disconnected. 800-853-0473 and 866-545-5486 which works, but is only open during their business hours of 10 am till 6 pm EST Mon - Fri.

When I called that last number, it requested my phone number and the last 4 digits of my bank account number before it would put me thru. I hit random numbers to get past that, but they were already closed. (Funny, since they had just called me a few minutes earlier.)

The next time they call I will hit them with the info you have posted about how their gas and travel vouchers, then watch and document their reaction. I did ask one of them why I'd want these things since I have no bank account and no car, which got me promptly hung up on.

They will call again in a few days time though, so I'm assuming the telemarketers don't write any notes down in files or they are using an autodialer, so have no idea the person they are talking to has been called before.

I'd appreciate any information you can give me or any tips on what to say to these people when they call next. I'm homebound due to illness, so have all the time in the world to talk to them when they call. :)

Thanks again for posting here and I hope you will again soon and help me understand more how they work and how to deal with them in order to help others.
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#3 UPDATE EX-employee responds

This is the "REAL" story

AUTHOR: Joe - (U.S.A.)

Distinct Advantage is marketed by Suntasia Marketing in Largo, Florida. The product they promote which is the "free" gas vouchers are just coupons you send back to them with your receipt from the gas station you made the purchase from. They supposedly give you $100 worth of gas vouchers but you can only turn them in $10 a month at a time. Not ALL gas stations participate by the way.

The airline vouchers (I believe it's $400 worth) DOES NOT cover the cost of your whole ticket either. You have to spend for every $500 airline ticket purchased you get $25 off with the vouchers. You can only use the vouchers $100 at a time per ticket. The managers at Suntasia will often admit this to their agents but of course they are not allowed to let the customer know. They are told to promote the "free" gifts.

The Distinct Advantage program is no advantage at all. It says you gets coupons for products you buy everyday but when you get their package you realize how much work it will take to get the so called, "savings". You have to mail a bunch of stuff into the company in order to get the coupons plus there are even postage or mail in fees attached to it. Your better off cutting coupons from the newspaper every sunday. It only cost .50 cents.

As for your routing number, the way they obtain that is by asking you for your bank name and the city you opened it in. Once they have that information they type it into a network of banks which are connected to the program and WALLAH!! instant routing number. There is no problem with them having this information b/c routing numbers are just electronic addresses. You can get those off of the internet yourself. However, it's when you give them your account number is when you are committed to the product if you don't CANCEL within the two weeks. The problem here is that many people have been charged before they even got the package. Sometimes they didn't even get the package at all and still got charged.

You need to send them a CEASE and DESIST letter to the company that promotes this sham. Suntasia Marketing are the ones who are responsible.

Their Corporate address is:

Suntasia Marketing
8751 Ulmerton Road
Largo, FL 33771

The corporate officers can be found on their website:

http://suntasia.com/officers.htm

I would send the letter to their lawyer named, Donald Booth and a copy of the letter should be also sent to the owners of the company. Please make sure you type out a neat, professional looking letter. DO NOT threaten them with any violence. The more calmly you make your demands, the better off you'll be. Make it clear in the letter that you are not to be solicited any more and they are to put you on the DO NOT CALL LIST and if they don't it is a violation of your rights and it will cost them a heavy fine.

Sadly, this company has gone on the offensive by actually promoting a 30 second commercial here locally in Tampa, Florida. They are promoting a "family" friendly atmosphere. Nothing could be further from the truth. The pressures to work there are astronomical. Oh and yes the rooms are big because there are many of them. Each hold about 24 agents and they play loud music to keep them from getting distracted.

If you have any further questions let me know.

Joe
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