My story begins on February 18, 2011 when I was called by Ryan Richardson (480-478-2376) stating he was following up on my request for a home based business. He said he was representing Home Business Capital, aka Master Management Group to find entrepreneurs who wanted to make money with the aide of a strong team of professionals at their side. Ryan told me the program included:
1. making income by selling/leasing merchant equipment to businesses in my area via the internet. I would make $500 commission for every credit card machine that was purchased/leased;
2. I could make as much as 2.5% on the value of any business loan finalized at an average loan value of $100,000-$300,000, but could potentially get up to $1.3 million.
3. I would receive 1/3% to as much as 3% on every credit card swipe on the machines I sold/leased.
4. All this was accomplished via a web site that was provided to me when I purchased leads in my area that would easily qualify for their programs.
I was intrigued and said I was interested. Ryan proceeded to give me two additional phone numbers to keep in touch with him - 866-931-4168 (affiliate support) and 602-518-3975 (his personal cell number). He then stated that a Rebecca Taylor would be calling me shortly to go over the program in detail shortly.
Rebecca contacted me within half an hour and gave her pitch as follows:
1. She asked me what I needed to bring in a month, income wise, to pay off bills and to live comfortably, then:
2. Home Business Capital (HBC) is a well-known, strong corporation which provides services to new business owners allowing them to take major credit cards and qualify for business loans where no one else would help them.
3. I would not have to do any mailings or sales pitches; that HBC had over 1,000 staff members who would be working for me on selling their products.
4. Said I would receive $500 per terminal leased/sold with NO limit in the number of machines purchased/leased by an individual company. I would receive 2.5% commission on the total value of any business loan finalized through HBC up to $1.4million and that the average loan was $100,000-$300,000. The biggest money maker that will last a lifetime - the Residual income - a 50/50 split between myself and HBC on the profit margin of every credit card swipe made on the machines and this was based on a 1/3% to 3% per swipe margin. AND, the best thing - the program could be willed off to family so they will have a nice source of income.
5. She stated that their "proven formula" would generate a monthly income of somewhere between $5,000 and $6,000/month, or up to $75,000 per year the first year.
All this for the purchase of leads in my area. There were three programs available: the lowest was for 5,000 leads which she stated was the "safest plan", a 10,000 lead program and a 15,000 lead program. Today, they were offering leads at $2.00/lead and they usually cost them $7.00-$20.00 a lead. That this would be a one-time deal and to purchase as many leads as you can.
To ease the "fear factor" I was having in investing into this, Rebecca stated that before the first year was up, I could call any time and revise the program to fit my needs AND if I do not make back my initial investment in the first 12 months that she would personally work with me until I do with no further money out of my pocket. She then gave me two additional numbers to reach her at any time: 866-945-6563 (her personal line) and 866-931-4168 (customer service).
To qualify for one of their programs they needed my credit card information so they could verify what I had for available credit on all my major credit cards. Rebecca put me on hold and came back saying that I qualified for their 10,000 lead plan at $20,000! I said NO WAY! Rebecca stressed that there was NO risk what-so-ever. That I was guaranteed to make this initial investment back and as much as $75,000 per year thereafter just on residual income from credit card swipes. Knowing that I wasn't going to go for that plan, she pushed on the 5,000 leads for $10,000 again emphasizing that if I didn't make at least my initial investment back in 1 year, she would make it happen. So I agreed on the 5,000 leads.
I was promptly transferred to Amber Wolfson who took my credit card information. All the calls were done on a 3-way call so I could answer questions from my card companies to guarantee the amount(s) to be taken from my account was truly there and the transaction(s) were verified immediately.
After everything cleared, Amber passed me off to Summer Piper who told me I would be receiving an email with a contract that I must sign and send back ASAP. She stated that everything that was discussed with Rebecca was in this contract and I would be receiving my 5,000 leads within 7-10 business days and that my own website would be up and running within 7-10 business days. I would also be receiving a "welcome package" within a week and I would have to fill out the information and send it back to them as soon as possible.
When I received my "Welcome Package" 7-8 days later, I went through it and found that it was nothing that I had agreed upon. They did not include the 5000 leads as promised; my so-called website is accessed by providing my personal ID at the back of their website name with a /(personal ID#). Also, a copy of a contract they needed me to sign (which wasn't the same as the one I signed online); a W-9 form, Merchant Referral Certificate, a CD which did nothing!; and 5 business cards with Master Management Group on the back with 866-931-4165 and Fax 480-247-4453.
I contacted HBC immediately upon receiving the package and talked to a man in Affiliate Relations. I asked where my 5000 leads were and that the Welcome Package wasn't what I was told it was going to be. He told me that I wasn't going to be receiving the leads, that they stayed with HBC who would be doing all the work!?! I then said that I wanted to cancel out of the program since the website was bogus and I wasn't getting the 5000 leads I paid for. He stated that in order to cancel the agreement I would have had to have contacted them within 3 days of signing, it was now 8 days and there was nothing he could do. He said that there was nothing I had to do from this point forward except sit back and watch the income flow in. If, I did not make any sales by the end of the first year, I would be guaranteed to get my initial investment back at that time, so what's the problem??? I hung up feeling totally scammed with no way out.
Over the next few weeks I started receiving phone calls from so-called "affiliate businesses" wanting more money to provide advertising and web design to bring more traffic to my website. They wanted anywhere from $5,000 to as much as $30,000 for their services! I told everyone "no" and quit taking calls on my home phone.
On June 28, 2011, I received a phone call from a Jo Kenyon who stated that HBC was having financial difficulties and that the company they hired to do all the cold calling on leads purchased went bankrupt on them! He then stated:
1. HBC hired him to "bail out" me and 24 other people who signed the same type of contract at $5,000 per file and he was also paid $350/hour for phone conversations to get me into a program that would help me get my initial investment with HBC back.
2. Jo stated he represented companies that provided grants to people for Google sponsored advertising and domain name purchasing up to a value of $40,000.
3. Jo also said that he would go through everything with me on getting a grant and how he HATED companies like HBC and that he started this business to get back at them for what they did to his life - caused hardship and loss of family, etc. So Jo knew what I was going through!
The grant program would include:
1. A bonafide website (none of this www.company/agent# crap) domain name that I could choose and do what ever I wanted with the site.
2. A Google Advertising Campaign which would:
a. provide 4 ads on my first page where people would click on them and I would receive anywhere from $.02 to $1.00 per hit just for someone clicking on it!
b. A guaranteed spot on the FIRST PAGE of the Google search engine and emphasized - "do you know how much companies pay to be on the First Page of Google???)
c. I would be set up in a campaign with Google guaranteeing 120,000 visitors to my website in a 6 month timeframe.
d. I would be able to choose my own domain name through DNJournal.com which was given a minimum, guaranteed, value of $40,000 when I sold it.
e. My income would be generated by people clicking the ads provided through the campaign and the sale of my domain name at the end of the campaign, if I decided to sell it!
He then asked for my credit card information to find out what I could qualify for and called me back saying that I qualified for the $40,000 government grant and all I would have to come up with was $6,694! I said forget it! He then proceeded to say:
1. He could lower the cost to $4,694 and that Google would start generating me a monthly income by July 15, 2011 just off of visitors clicking their sponsored ads. He told me not to click the ads personally since Google will know it was me by my ISP address but have friends and family go on and click as much as they wanted!
2. There was a full guarantee that my domain name would be valued at way more than what I invested with them and HBC combined and I could sell the domain name anytime after the 6 month campaign is over and
3. If I walked away, I would never be offered this bail-out campaign again and may as well kiss my $10,000 investment with HBC Good-Bye!
Fearful that I would never see my $10,000 again, I said I would do it. Jo stated that my new website would be up and running by that Friday, July 1st, and that my first Google commission check would arrive on July 15th and consistently thereafter on every 15th of the month following. He then provided me with his phone number - 866-931-4168 and told me the switchboard would transfer me over to him if I ever had any questions or concerns with the program. At this time, I didn't realize that it was the same phone number for HBC!!
Then I was transferred to a gal named Nicole who proceeded to contact my credit card companies on a 3-way call and verify the transaction(s). Then stated that I would have a call by Friday from a representative so I could pick my new domain name and have everything up and running at that time.
I called the number above off and on for over a month and was told that my site was in the making and I would receive a call from one of their reps shortly. I finally received a call from Kerisha on August 9, 2011 (almost a month and a half later!) saying my site was up and running and I could access it with the information she will provide me via email. Upon opening the email I fould that it was the same thing as I got from HBC, but this time instead of an affiliate ID # they put my full name!! I was fuming!!
I contacted Kerisha and told her that this was not what I was told. She said that it was a true and bonafide website and that I could do whatever I wanted with the name and its contents (sell or represent anything I wanted to on the site). She also stated that I would be receiving a call shortly from a representative who would change the domain name to anything I choose.
Later that day I open up my new website and found that there was one Google sponsored ad on the front page (not 4 as promised), the site was all based on HBC information; i.e. selling merchant services and machines and/or loans (again, not as promised) and that what was on my HBC website had been moved to this one.
On August 15, 2011, I contacted Kerisha again and blew up! I told her nothing was right and that it was the same old information as HBC had set me up with and found that all the phone numbers that had been provided for HBC and Jo Kenyon were all the same numbers. I want my money back!! And, How does it feel to be working for crooks and scammers??? I was guaranteed to have my site up and running by July 1st and now it was Mid-August and also, it would appear on the first page of Google search AND that I should have received 2 checks from Google by this time and I have received nothing! She again stated that I needed to be contacted by a representative about changing the domain name and once this was done my site would be up and running and the commission checks would start coming in.
On August 31st I FINALLY get a phone call message from Network Media saying that my site is ready and to have a new domain name picked out when I call back. Also, ask for Kerisha or Kathi at my earliest convenience.
I called Kathi back on September 1st. She told me to spend an hour or so thinking of 10 potential domain names that I would like for my website, keeping in mind that your site represents merchant services, so I need to pick a name that would be eye-catching to consumers seeking your product. I told her that I wasn't told this in the beginning and that I could pick any name I wanted and that I could sell or represent anything I wanted on the site. She told me that this site was specifically for merchant services and in place to take over where HBC left off. Very confused, I did what she asked and called back with 10 names that I had first verified were available on-line and didn't exist yet. When Kathi conducted her own on-line search the available names dropped to 3... somehow in less than 7 minutes 7 of the domain names I picked conveniently we no longer available! Anyway, I chose.
Once done Kathi told me that my site has been up and running under www.merchantnetworkstore.com/my name for a couple months now and the name will be switched over within 24 hours. Everything has been done and now I will receive income from Google, if I haven't already!
On September 16, I receive a phone call from a Monique - 602-218-8932 - saying she was calling to get information pertaining to my complaint against HBC and its affiliates and that she would investigate it personally and get to the bottom of everything for me! I told her everything that happened with HBC and she wanted names and phone numbers of everyone I talked to. I didn't have the names and numbers available at that time so I told her I would call her back with the information in a day or so. When I asked for her name, company name and phone number she gave:
Monique with Network Media and her numbers - 602-218-8932 (direct line) and 877-301-7363. She said she would be in the office the next few days and to call when I was ready with names and numbers. I proceeded to call her direct line numerous times over the next week and got her voice mail. NO return calls, so I called the 877 number and got Kerisha! Small World!! I told her I got a call from a Monique who stated she was investigating my issues with HBC and I was supposed to call her back with names and numbers. Kerisha said that they do have a Monique working there, BUT she would be calling me! That she worked in a completely different department and doesn't have contact with affiliates.
I then told Kerisha that I was fed up with all the games and I want all my money refunded or I was going to make it known that they are complete scammers and go the extra mile to make them feel my pain! She said that they were living up to everything they promised in the contract and wanted all the names and phone numbers that I had from everyone that had contacted me in the past. She told me she would call me back once she did her investigation. I gave her the numbers and she said she had never heard of them! (Funny how all of them ended up coming into her switchboard!)
As of September 16th I never received a call back from Kerisha as promised, or anyone from Network Media. I tried calling the numbers that I provided Kerisha and they all were either disconnected or had a 2-ring then dead response. Everything GONE!!
I decided at that time to file disputes with the three credit card companies that were changed by HBC and this Network Media. One company is holding true to getting my money back while the other two state there is nothing they can do within their guidelines and that I will have to pursue other avenues to get my money back! FTC, BBB, etc.
Sometime later, I was going through emails and found that on the bottom of one of the emails I received from Kathi had a completely different phone number - 877-858-3670 - than what I had been given in the past. The email never told me that their number was going to change... I just happened to scroll down far enough to see it! So I called it. It was Network Media...
Since two of my credit card companies refuse to refund my investment with HBC and Network Media I decided to start my own investigation. I googled HBC, MMG, OMNI-DOBA (the company who processed HBC's transactions on two of my credit cards), Direct Connect (another processing center who was charging one of my cards $19.95 a month for the HBC website that isn't doing anything!) and Precision (another processing center who charged my cards for Network Media). This is what I found:
1. Numerous rip-off reports on this site. 2. Master Management Group no longer has phone numbers that work (which pertained to Home Business Capital as well). 3. Better Business Bureau information rating HBC, MMG, Omni Business Solutions (couldn't find anything on OMNI-DOBA) all F's and that all of them had complaints connected to them.
About a month ago, I was able to get through to Direct Connect to have the $19.95/month charge stopped. I talked with a Tom - phone number - 888-775-8555. He advised me that he could stop the monthly charges immediately, but if I wanted to have prior charges refunded I would need to talk to William Roberts at Home Business Capital at 877-858-3670. I called the number and got... you guessed it... Kerisha!!
I told her I was calling William Roberts and she put a message in for me. William called me back the same day. I asked him to please refund the $19.95 monthly charges that were being billed to my credit card for a product that was supposed to be covered within the contract. He asked what $19.95 was that? I told him I called Direct Connect and Tom gave me his name and number. William proceeded to completely DENY any relationship with Direct Connect, Home Business Capital and Master Management Group!! I asked him why Tom would give me his name and number in reference to HBC if he wasn't involved with them... he again denied any and all relationships with the companies!! A yelling battle began!
At the end of the conversation, I was told that I would be given an additional website domain name for a online shopping mall that would generate income when people hit the Google ads (4 of them!) as well as if people use the links to go to sites like Amazon.com provided on the site for me, and make purchases. All this would be given to me under the same $40,000 grant. Still upset about losing over $14,000 I agreed to this and waited patiently for someone to call me back with my new website information. The site got up and running within a couple weeks, much faster than it took for the initial site. BTW - still not one dime from that site!
To bring this thing to date - On November 29thI got a call from Nicole from Network Media stating she received notice from two of my credit cards that I had filed complaints and requested my money back. She wanted me to grab my credit cards and get online immediately with her to get these complaints answered and cancelled. I told her I was not at a computer and I would have to call her back tomorrow.
I took the rest of that day and the next morning before she called me to try and find out any further information on OMNI-DOBA and any relationships with HBC, MMG and Network Media... This is what I found out...
I conducted searches for all four businesses... I found a company by the name of Omni Business Solutions but no phone number. The rest of them except for Network Media had all the same results - dead end phone numbers, email addresses, etc.
I then contacted both credit card companies that OMNI-DOBA conducted the transactions on and asked for any and all information pertaining to this company so I could contact them directly. I was given a phone number of 435-388-0834 that brought me to Successful Education Online. The gal that answered stated that she did NOT recognize the phone number I told her I was calling and that she never heard of OMNI-DOBA!! I was also given a different website for OMNI-DOBA that turned out to be a drop ship company!!! They had nothing else to give me!
After calling and checking out the websites given, I contacted one of my credit card companies again and went directly to disputes. I told the gal what I found out and that I wanted to get everything they had on OMNI-DOBA. She proceeded to give the same information as before and I told her that nothing was connecting me to OMNI. She will be investigating this matter further. The other credit card company still refuses to change their denial.
At 9:00 on November 30, Nicole called me back. I told her that I wasn't going to remove the dispute until I had more time to conduct my investigation. She put me on hold and when the phone was picked up - William Roberts was on the other end! I told him the same thing I told Nicole and that I was extremely concerned about the things I was finding out! I brought up the phone call to Direct Connect and he denied everything once again! Saying he doesn't work with them and has no affiliation with them at all - I must be confused on the company name! He stated that if I let the transactions be reversed I would lose my campaign and any money coming in from Google. I told him I haven't made one penny anyway and that I would get back with him later this afternoon to give him my answer on the charges after I conduct more investigation on my own.
I decided to contact Direct Connect one more time. I talked with Tom once again and he remembered me from a call over a month ago and asked for any information he had on Master Management Group and Direct Connect. He again provided me with William Roberts' name and phone number! I told him that I contacted William Roberts and that he denied having any relationship with him and that he WAS NOT affiliated with HBC! Tom stated he was sending a skype message to William right now to get to the bottom of it and he would call me back soon.
Within the hour, Tom contacted me and said that he talked with William directly and told him to make things right! What ever it takes! He also told me that he would be personally handling any and all leads coming to my sites and make sure that I get closings and paid! He then said that William will be calling me shortly to go over other options and said that it would probably involve an additional web site.
I went onto my HBC website to see if anything actually worked any longer. I filled out one of the forms and still haven't received any information back. Then, I sent an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and got a response back. Here's what was said:
1. Me. I would like someone to contact me immediately pertaining to issues with my website.
2. Response: These are all lead generation avenues. They all come to me. I apologize for the inconvenience. William will be in touch with you shortly. Thanks!
3. Me: Thanks. Why doesn't your telephone number work that's listed on the bottom of your email - 866-931-4165? Is there a different number to call for help?
4. Response: From what I understand they have disconnected those numbers. I used to answer the 866-931-4165 number for leads and affiliate support. But, we have discontinued doing that, I apologize. Thanks.
5. Me: So how am I supposed to get support and who is handling my campaign and making all the cold calls on the 5000 leads I purchased?
6. Response: William will have to answer that for you. I will be attempting to close any leads brought forth on your website. They have a team of cold-callers and mass emailer's from what I understand(?) Thanks!
7. Me: Sounds good. Is this William Roberts? Could I get your name as well so I can keep in touch off and on? Thanks!
8. Response: This is Tom. I still answer the lead/affiliate email system here for Master Management. Just no phone assistance anymore. Thanks.
9. Me: Is the William you mentioned previously, William Roberts? I just want to know whom I will be talking to. Thanks.
10. Response: There is two of them that I have dealt with over there. William Lewis and a Will Rogers(?) Thanks.
As of this writing, I have not received a call from William Roberts following up to Tom's last conversation with me, as promised! Nor have I received a phone call from this so-called William Lewis or Will Rogers(?) from MMG!
I now know Network Media is also involved with the whole Master Management Group, Home Business Capital, OMNI-DOBA scheme! I was so hoping that they weren't, but everything keeps coming back to them! Now I am over $14,000 in credit card debt to these people and have had no return on this investment since February 2011.
I will be more than happy to go forth with a lawsuit of any kind to get these people!! Any further information needed, I will supply. I will also keep my case up-to-date as I find further information.