A young man approached us looking to sell magazines for a trip to London to work with BBC, related to his communications degree at UMass Lowell. He said his parents lived around the corner, that his mom walked golden retrievers down our street. He talked about his mother's strange degenerative back condition-including what drugs she took, the politics and conspiracies of 9/11 and the aftermath, and attempted to explain his strange tattoos (a cross on the right forearm and a devil on the left forearm). He gave his name as Andrew Phillips, and he told us his parent's names as well. He mentioned that he was born near a Navy boot camp in Great Lakes- Illinois, and grew up in Arizona.
After a long conversation about topics which weren't magazine sales, he told us he'd be willing to do chores for us in return for signing up for a 2 year magazine subscription, and that magazines could be sent to the troops in Iraq. We agreed to purchase two magazines, at a cost of $144 (thank goodness we used a check!).
However, there were several things during this encounter which seemed odd:
-He told me that he lived 10 houses down the next street while my husband was away, then corrected me when I told my husband- now he said 6 houses.
-He did not have a price list for the magazines, but miraculously knew the pricing for all the magazines.
-He offered to send us a picture from his trip- gave us a choice of a funny picture of them making fun of the guards in London or a picture of the 19 of his "classmates" by the eye in London. He didn't write down our choice.
-He claimed that the magazine sales were the only way they were allowed to earn money for this trip- that the kids had to go out and practice their marketing to help their skills.
-He was only 4000 points away from the 20000 points he needed to go, and if we bought two magazines, he would get 500 points. He wanted us to buy four.
-He said he'd prefer cash to a check, but when we told him we didn't have that much cash and offered that he come back later, he quickly accepted a check rather than return later. (And he even made a crack about making out the check to Andrew's Corvette Fund!)
-After noticing that our roof needed work, he even offered that we should contact his dad who worked on roofs.
-After further discussion, we agreed this encounter was a little too fishy. We googled the company and found tons of sites that list this as a fraudulent business. The Arizona Better Business Bureau has had 154 reports on this group in the past 3 years.
-We checked his phone number against whitepages.com- it was a land line based in Billerica, MA (not his cell phone from Lowell, MA)
-We looked up IntegritySale.com (the website listed on the receipt) and found his picture ("Andrew" -no last name) on the Agents list. This company has nothing to do with groups raising money. It lists these kids as "independent contractors" who are trying to make a career out of this.
Thank goodness that we used a check instead of cash. We stopped the check as soon as we found out about the company- would rather lose the money to the bank fee than to these scam artists. Will also be cancelling the order via their approved method- sign and postmark cancellation within three business days.
This appears to be the first report of Integrity Sales in New England. This encounter was in Southeastern NH, but lookout, because they're likely canvassing the area.
Southeastern, New Hampshire