• Report: #581487

Complaint Review: ImmigrationDirect

  • Submitted: Tue, March 16, 2010
  • Updated: Mon, March 29, 2010

  • Reported By: Joe — New Jersey United States of America
268 Bush Street Ste 7500; Internet United States of America

Immigration,Direct ImmigrationDirect.com deceives and cheats consumers out of substantial application fees intended for the U.S. Gov't's Citizenship and Immigration Services (uscis.gov), Internet

*Author of original report: ImmigrationDirect.com lies about their customer care, and misrepresenting itself does not run a legitimate business; should be shut down by the court

*Consumer Comment: Is it "fraud" or just lack of education or.. refusal to pay?

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ImmigrationDirect.com deceives and cheats applicants for U.S. Citizenship, specifically U.S. Permanent Residents (those holding "green cards") into paying an exorbitant $149 fee by substantially representing the $149 to be a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (US C.I.S., a unit of the Department of Homeland Security) application fee associated with the submission to the U.S. gov't of form N-400 "Application for Naturalization" (see uscis.gov for the legitimate form & related information).  For example, images such as an American Flag (stars & stripes) are depicted next to the ImmigrationDirect.com URL; the application fee is not clearly marked as being a fee to a commercial company for the service of generating an application form (rather than the U.S. gov't fee for processing the form); applicants are misdirected to the ImmigrationDirect.com website after seeking the legitimate dot-gov URL.

At the end of the lengthy Q&A process a long (26 pp. in our case) series of pages is presented to be printed.  Buried in this is an N-400 application form completed with the private information that had been provided to the website -- for the highway-robbery sum of $149; the applicant only realizes (to his or her chagrin and indeed mortification) at the completion of the process that the "application fee" is fraudulent and will not cover any of the legitimate expenses involved in having the N-400 processed (see below for a fuller explanation).

Now, this N-400 form can easily be completed by the same applicant without any cost whatsoever.  The N-400 is available electronically, with detailed instructions, at the U.S. C.I.S. website (see http://www.uscis.gov or http://bit.ly/RMn4U), where it is provided as a most-frequently-searched-form in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format, and can be electronically filled out at one's PC. 

Pivotal to this fraud (as discussed further below), the actual application fee for the U.S. CIS to process the N-400 form is $675 (i.e. $526 over than the fraudulent $149 suggested by the ImmigrationDirect.com website).

Upon completion of the lengthy ImmigrationDirect.com dialog (i.e., Q&A), it immediately becomes apparent that the $149 earlier remitted by credit card is being charged not to submit, but merely to print, the N-400 form. 

The consumer at this point becomes dissatisfied.  He or she wants his or her money back.

In our case, we were deceived by the ImmigrationDirect website at about 11:25 EDT on a Sunday evening  Upon completion of the above-described process, we immediately attempted to rectify the situation.  I e-mailed ImmigrationDirect.  An e-mail reply was sent at 5:26 AM EDT (ostensibly, ImmigraitonDirect is staffed overseas; a subsequent e-mail was also sent at a similar nocturnal hour). 

The e-mail instructed me to call 1-415-375-3145, ImmigrationDirect's "Customer Care Number" during 9 AM - 5 PM PDT (it was signed affably by a "Jack Lammont.").

Later that day, I telephoned, at 3:21 PM PDT.  Immediately being placed on hold, and unable to reach a live operator at the ImmigrationDirect telephone number, I was told by a recording that I was the 7th caller in line.  I was patient -- by any standard.  Sixty (60) minutes later, I was the 2nd caller in line.  By that time, at 4:21 PDT, it was apparent that ImmigrationDirect was not planning to answer the line.  Having devoted a full hour, I felt I had no choice but to terminate the telephone connection after a full hour.

I contacted my credit card company which indicates that ImmigrationDirect has placed the charge on a "pending" status, but has not yet "posted" the charge.  The bank agrees that ImmigrationDirect is a scam.  Once the charge is "posted," they will assist me in disputing the charge.

It is abundantly clear that the ImmigrationDirect.com business model is based on deception.  Applicants for adjustment of status from United States Permanent Resident to United States Citizen are "trolled" on the internet.  Apparently, and this is true for us, it is possible for an internet user to be misdirected after correctly entering "uscis.gov" into the URL space in his or her browser to ImmigrationDirect.com.  If one is not extremely careful, as I regret to say I was not on this particular occasion, it is not apparent that one has been redirected to a dot-com from a dot-gov website.  How this occurred I cannot say, because we definitely went to uscis.gov to start with.

The sly, underhanded, and deceptive web design employed by ImmigrationDirect.com is obviously meant to convey an impression that it is a U.S. government (dot-gov) website, not a commercial (dot-com) website.

The request for a $149 so-called "application fee" is intentionally deceptive in two ways. 

Firstly, the legitimate fee for a US C.I.S. application is also termed, per se, an "application fee."  So the putative applicant has no terminology to distinguish a bona fide application fee from this fraudulent application fee.  Apparently ImmigrationDirect.com intends, as it were, the meaning of "application fee" as "a fee paid to fill out and provide a consumer with the form required to file an application."  Whereas the commonly used meaning of the term "application fee" in matters such as immigration (and other matters) is "a fee paid to the processor of an application, such as the U.S. Government, to cover the expenses associated with carrying out the legitimate tasks required to accept, review, authenticate, cross-check, verify, record, and issue the resulting documents associated with an application."

Secondly, the amount demanded, $149, for this fraudulent "application fee" is large enough to seem to be in the proper range of what the U.S. gov't might charge for processing the N-400 form.  At the same time, the applicant might have heard elsewhere that the application fee is actually much larger than $149 (as stated above, it is currently $675) but not have studied the material he or she might have seen to this effect; therefore, the applicant is induced subliminally to feel relieved that the fee is more affordable than originally suspected to be and be more willing to complete the payment forthwith.  Were the fraudulent fee to be in the range of, say, less than $50, the applicant would realize that this could not possibly be the actual fee charged by the US C.I.S. for processing the N-400 form.  Alas, the legitimate cost is much higher than $149.

I would strongly advise any potential customer of ImmigrationDirect or FormsDirect (another name under which they apparently do business) to "abandon any hope, ye who enter here."  I.e., do not remit funds or share personal identity-revealing data with the company.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/16/2010 03:39 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/ImmigrationDirect/internet/ImmigrationDirect-ImmigrationDirectcom-deceives-and-cheats-consumers-out-of-substantial-581487. 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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#1 Author of original report

ImmigrationDirect.com lies about their customer care, and misrepresenting itself does not run a legitimate business; should be shut down by the court

AUTHOR: Joe - (United States of America)

In its rebuttal, ImmigrationDirect.com relies on its right to hold people to terms and conditions that are supposedly included on its website.  Earlier, ImmigrationDirect.com had attempted to represent itself as a legitimate operation with a "Customer Care" phone number.  This is very different from a legitimate business that exists to serve its customers.  Evidently ImmigrationDirect.com's concept of "Customer Care" is to " 'take care' of the customer to make sure they cannot lodge any legitimate complaints or, perish the thought, demand the right to a refund."

First of all, where is the opportunity for a customer to return or cancel a purchase?  This is a fundamental provision of consumer law.  Any transaction in which there is no opportunity to return the purchase, unless stated clearly and separately acknowledged by the customer, is prima facie fraudulent.  If one purchases an item from Amazon.com, one can return it, if not satisfied. 

But not when dealing with ImmigrationDirect.com; this subtantiates the fact that ImmigrationDirect is a scam!!!

Immediately upon realizing the error, we called and e-mailed ImmigrationDirect.com and our bank.  Following ImmigrationDirect's explicit e-mailed instructions, I called their number back during their preferred business hours and waited for 60 minutes while on hold.  All this occurred promptly after going on their website and being misled.  But ImmigrationDirect did not answer the phone. 

Is that a legitimate business, I ask?  Or is that a scam?

As stated in the original complaint, ImmigrationDirect.com thrives on misleading innocent internet customers into believing, e.g., that its "application fee" is a fee to be paid to process an N-400 application, while in reality it is a fee to be paid to ImmigrationDirect.com to print the N-400 form.

Is that a legitimate business, I ask?  Or is that a scam?

These people are desperate to be paid.  They state that they will respond to customer complaints, e.g., those demanding a refund, and provide satisfaction, but IN REALITY their strategy is to erect INSURMOUNTABLE BARRIERS to the customer receiving satisfaction.  It is all about getting paid while not providing ANY SERVICE the customer expects or needs.

Is that a legitimate business, I ask?  Or is that a scam?


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#2 Consumer Comment

Is it "fraud" or just lack of education or.. refusal to pay?

AUTHOR: USA Immigration - (United States of America)

I just checked immigrationdirect.com website, and it clearly states on every single page:
Disclaimer : The information provided on this site is not legal advice but general information on legal issues commonly encountered when dealing with immigration matters. This site or ImmigrationDirect.com cannot provide legal advice and only provides self-help services at a clients direction. ImmigrationDirect.com is not a law firm or affiliated with the United States government. Purchase price does not include application or filing fees that may be charged by the USCIS or by any other agency. Please note that your access to and use of ImmigrationDirect.com is subject to additional Terms

& Conditions

In addition to it, you MUST read, and agree with terms and conditions and user agreement.

User agreement states:


This Agreement ("Agreement") is entered into by and between you ("you" or "your"), and Immigration Consulting, Inc., a California Company (the "Company").


1. You hereby retain the Company to assist you in filling out immigration forms and to provide you with general information relating to the filing of such forms (collectively, the "Services"). You agree that the Company will not be requested to provide legal advice, legal opinions or legal services. Following your completion of such forms, the Company will provide you completed forms for you to print and email such forms to you. The content to be entered into such forms and the filing of such forms shall be your sole and exclusive responsibility.

2. Once the completed forms are printed, you can file the forms with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (the "Agency") by following the Company's customized filing instructions provided to you upon completion of your application on the Company's website. The time the Agency will take to process the forms are based on a number of factors. As such, in order to obtain an approximate process time, go to the Agency's website at https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/processTimesDisplay.do.

3. Neither Company nor its Employee(s) are attorneys licensed to practice law or accredited by the board of immigration appeals to provide representation to you before the bureau of citizenship and immigration services, the department of labor, the department of state or any immigration authorities, and may not give legal advice or accept fees for legal advice and may not perform the legal services that an attorney performs.


4. You shall pay Company a fee of One Hundred and Forty Nine Dollars ($149.00) (the "Fee") for the Services. The Fee does not include the fees due and payable to the Agency for the filing and processing of your forms, or any other service other than the Services.


The people you spoke in the bank told you who is scam and who is not, its ridiculous.
First of all, scams websites are being shut down immediately. Chargeback ratio allowance is 1%. This company has been running since 2004.

Customer service people in banks earns only $8/h, mostly with no education, and they have no access to the internet, they are also trained to tell you whatever you want to hear. But it does not mean that investigation unit will resolve your claim in your favor.


Imagine if everybody were like you? Do not read the user agreements, but checks the check-mark that they did. Does not look into the website.

Then customer gets the service he/she paid for, and suddenly refuses to pay?

It also turns out from the context that customer already knew everything, where to look for the "right" forms, and the customer even knew how to use the Google search engine! But NO! customer wants to get the forms done this way to make sure the form will not be denied by USCIS, so additional $675 will be saved!

Its just sad how immigrants are trying to save every single cent, while companies like immigration direct invests thousands of dollars into their systems to make lives easier for people like you. People who do not appreciate anything and calls these companies "frauds".

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