I can still remember it like if it was yesterday: my mother, father and I were sitting across from Jay R. Hoke, the Sales Representative at the Long Island InventHelp branch, discussing with us how much our dreams of inventing our own product could become a reality. Fast forward an initial deposit of $945, another $11,490, and three years later, and all I have to show for it is a stupid book and a brochure that a 10 year old could've made.
Everything from the get go is a scam but we were too naive to realize it. We paid for the Concept Catalog and Galleria Submission Service, which was to include:
- Preparation of color New Product Submission Brochure
- Standard Industrial Classification Codes assigned to my invention
- InventHelp Data Bank Attempt to match SIC codes with company interest areas
- Submission of New Product Brochure to companies in the InventHelp DataBank
- Preparation of Invention Summary
- Submission of Invention Summary to companies in InventHelp's other database
- Preparation of the Publicity Release
- Submission of the Publicity Release to trade publications and other media
- Listing in an edition of New Product Invention Register
- Listing on InventHelp's website
- InventHelp attendance at trade shows and expositions for general company contacts
- Review any interest which may be expressed
- Mailing interim status reports
- Request client suggestions and input
- Publication of Invention Summary in a future Concept Catalog edition
- New Product Submission Brochure exhibited at the next available INPEX Galleria
After three years and many nights of researching InventHelp, I decided to call their HQ today and spoke with a woman named Sarah Worthington. I asked her to please fax me all progress reports including proof that my invention has been marketed or at least DISCUSSED with companies, shown at the INPEX show, as well as the Concept Catalog. She (along with a woman named Mara) informed me that they do not keep copies of the letters that they mail out to companies, nor do they do any type of proof of mailing or anything of the sort, and that instead, I would have to "take a leap of faith" that what they're telling me they've done is true.
I blatantly told her that if that was the case, then she should have just taken a leap of faith on the concept of me paying them rather than to charge me upfront, to which she slyly replied that I could at any time stop making payments to them. This simply is NOT true; or rather, it is, but not if you want your credit report to go unaffected by them.
Aside from a few "confirmation" letters, a book, and a brochure, I have not received any of the services promised to me the day I signed the contract. Not to mention that it's d**n near impossible to contact any of the companies that allegedly do business with InventHelp, and the ones that I have found, don't know my invention at all. Sarah informed me that this may be because they sent my marketing proposal over a year ago, and so of course they would forget. Sound bogus yet?
The most they promised me they could do, is try to find out who was at the Galleria show, get their hands on one of the "exclusive" brochures since they're in such limited quantities, and re-send me the correspondence letters that they've sent. I told her that this simply isn't good enough, because my mother and I invested $12,000 of hard earned cash that we didn't have and at the end of the day, there's NOTHING to show for it. She even tried to get me to sign up for further marketing/promotion efforts on their behalf. No thanks!
Sarah then tried to explain to me that they wouldn't lie about the work they've done because they've been in business for over 20 years and have never had a problem, to which I informed her that I'm aware of the FTC ruling of 1994. She then tells me that they were found to have done no wrong in that case, to which I asked her that if this was true, then why did they have to dish out $1.2M in settlements to various unhappy clients? I don't think I ever got that question answered.
I told her that unless I'm getting a refund, I will be filing charges and complaints with the BBB, FTC, the Pennsylvania Attorney General, USPTO, and my own personal attorney and seek litigation against this company. The most she promised me? That she would pass on my suggestion of keeping better and more accurate records.
I cannot believe that a company like this can still exist and scam people the way that they do.
Brooklyn, New York