Actually, a year or two ago, the very same Senior Area Manager, boy would I like to use his name, showed up at my office pushing IPA-IBA. I'm the office manager for a Rolls-Royce repair facility and the owner frequently avoids dealing with salesman by turning them over to me, both because I am a much harder sale and becasue as a long time employee I usually know what he would or wouldn't want.
On his firt visit I shut this man down and ended the conversation after he insisted that unless the owner took the time to meet with him and sign on immediately, it would essentially cost us untold thousands. I rarely make decisions on the spot and never if someone tells me it's now or never, so I told the IPA Service Area Manager based on that criteria, we wouldn't be interested and would just have to suffer the dire consequences. Low and behold, the very same Senior Area Manager found his way to my door again last week. I knew I had met him before but initially I believed him to be someone else.
Upon learning who he worked for I battened myself down for the barrage to follow. Actually, he had turned down his approach this time, I agreed that we had many things that could stand improvement, and if our owner agreed to at least seriously consider what his people found, I would consider having it done. The owner scratched his head a couple times, said well why not, let's give it a shot, and the appointment was made for 9/27/04 at 10:00. IPA's guy asked to borrow a phone, made a call, retuned with the good news that it was indeed our lucky day as a Class A (they are rated don't you know)Senior Business Analyst (I'm told Class A means he trains other Senior Business Analysts)would be in our area Monday, and would be conducting the comprehensive analysis, including improvements, benefits and fees for implementing improvements. And, let's not forget our additional good luck that based on his availablity it would only cost us $500--if we agreed that his finding were of benefit.
Monday morning 10 AM, off we go. Fortunately, one of our problems has always been not having our accounting programs set up to do what we need or even give us accurate figures, so the few years of P&L statements, etc I did give him probably aren't worth the paper printed on. Anyway, the hour conference turned into 3 or more hours of my time and another 45 minutes of my service managers time, and the owner got off with only 20-30 minutes wasted. Honestly, I didn't find anything menacing or threatening, or even especially a hard sell about his manner--probably because like many people we know we have weaknesses, and aren't above listening to suggestions on how to accomplish that. At lunch time Ray went off to look over the information collected with the promise of returning later in the afternoon to discuss specifics.
Now I don't know if he ate, napped in his car or hotel, called in his prospect to the company or just chatted with his real or imaginary wife--don't know. All I know is that 3 hours later when he returned I was mildly surpised that he didn't have any real solid numbers, whatever, based on the information I had given him. Actually, he pretty much used the couple figures given him by his advance man, to the point I wondered if he had even looked at them at all. Maybe he is a Class A sure hitter for his company because instead of hard sell he just relaxed and worked us. He talked about titles and job descriptions whick is a problem for our service manager, he suggested to the owner that his company could explore tax issues and perhaps find him money instead of paying out, and he told me how the next wave of suits would take special care to let the owner know that my job in the company was directly under his and how my salary should be adjusted accordingly. An especially nice touch, they would gauge the employees productivity and create a new pay structure based on incentive and They Would Sell it to the "Workers", how can you beat that? some of these things happened the first day and the rest were addressed the following day when he returned to give us his findings.
Now here is where I personally really feel cheated--in many of the complaints I read the Senior Business Analyst showed up with a laptop and punched in number to accessorize his suit, many people talked about getting colorful pie charts or graphs, some even got actual printed information. What led me to investigate the company later the 2nd day was the fact that although the owner signed a document "that simply spelled out what IPA would do for us", was the fact that there wasn't a scrap of any information left behind. Jay made some doddles in a notebook as the cave drawing version of company hierachy, still without actual crunched company numbers he applied some new math formula's to the 3 areas he had concluded were the cheapest and easiest fixes, and he was very confident with the $145,000 figure, very confident, that we could increase our bottom line by--if we signed on, IPA would stop the bleeding (I read that quote in someone else's compliant and I wonder if ole Jay was there or if that was old school cult doctrine during the 3 day brainwashing, excuse me training, session for Senior Business Analyst)and we would be in for exciting times ahead.
Of course we got all the old standards, IPA knows we don't have $30,000 (115 estimated hours and expenses, $42 per diem), we would receive a weekly invoice, payable when presented, but like everyone else, IPA would not jeopardize our payroll or daily operating capital. They could possibly adjust the figures to something easier for use to manage, they would find ways to help us come up with the money like say finishing another 3 cars that week, or maybe we would just suspend further work until we could come up with more money or sell that leaking blood, whatever.
The first compliant I came across was Bart Greenhut of Los Angeles, and I rarely believe I can't say something better than someone else, but Mr. Greenhut said it very well--our Senior Business Analyst was our instant best friend, personalbe and polished he congratulated us, and assured us that obviously we would not have qualified for their assistance without his reccomendation based on all the potential he saw in our business. All a practiced, sophisticated psychological manipulation to gain our trust and then our money.
What I really want to share is what I did next. I just felt uneasy that I had recommended a service I hadn't investigated to my boss and friend, so shearched them and it didn't take long for the bad news to start piling up. I printed Mr Greenhut's article IPA-IBA: Is it a scam?, a ripoff report from Terry in Wisconsin, and the Better Business Bureau's unsatisfactory Reliability Report. I drafted a professional letter stating we had agreed on an aggressive plan from IPA to move our company to the next level, and reliazed we should at least check their credentials and company reputation before proceeding. I informed them we were concerned by the negative reviews and in an effort to be fair consulted the Better Business Bureau and based on their unfavorable rating we alerted our attorney (by name) who advised us to terminate our agreement.
I let them know this was written notice, that since one of the largest complaints was about high pressure sales tactics and harassment we were also serving them in writing notice that we only wanted to be contacted with a confimation by fax. The letter went on to say that I was faxing the information to all the fax numbers available and the we would not meet with any additional consultants and would not pay any further invoices. I went to my fax machine and printed the fax log which included all the numbers our Senior Analyst had used to fax his information back to the company. I found 847-808-5599, 847-808-0448, 847-808-0458, 847-808-5594, I faxed my letter and the first two complaints, all 13 pages to the numbers above. After an hour without any response I faxed my letter with the line Termination of Services at the End of Business 9/28/2004, across the bottom of the letter underlined in bold print along with the better business report.
I went home, drank a great deal and prepared my self for turning away the troups. Some where around 3/4 of a bottle of merlot I was getting big and bold and looking forward to turning them away. While drinking I continued reading about IPA and I keep thinking how Jay apparently believed I was insecure about being a woman in a male dominated industry and shared with me how the most powerful executives he'd met were women. This and the alcohol briefly had me hoping for aggresive action from the enemy.
Actually, what I did after 3 advil, a shower and brushing my teeth was come to my office early, I had already laid out the 3 articles I'd faxed and the termination letter, I printed out a new fax log and highlighted all the times, numbers and the number of pages I'd faxed the day before, I added our local attorney's name and number to the fax log, and I armed myself with all these documents, a portable phone to call 911 if necessary and what I've always thought of as my little dog, a 70lb boxer just in case someone might accidentally be intimadated by him, and I went outside and sat on the stairs and waited. Somewhere along the way I had the first inklings of an anxiety attack, but got myself together and relaxed. So I waited, and waited, and waited--and as yet (4:30 PM) no IPA.
I was going to stop payment on the $500 check, then I was going to use not stopping payment to offset whatever expenses thay might try and create, now, I'm torn between just being grateful to have gotten away vertially unscathed, and considering using some of their harassment tactics to go after the $500.
front royal, Virginia
U.S.A. sorry, allowing you to give a competitors name would instigate others to just file against their competition, to only come back later to suggest their company your comments on this policy are welcome! CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.