March 8, 2004
In November of 2003 I began discussing purchasing a Public Access Internet Terminal (PAIT) from NCS for $15,995 with Neal Isanuk, a regional director of NCS. About the third week of November Neal's boss Bill Galinsky phoned me and offered the terminal for $12,995 because they had none in Alaska and wanted to expand.
After checking with The Better Business Bureau of Southeast Florida, who had complaints for NCS and The National Business Opportunity Bureau (NBOB) who had 10 complaints I thought that if I covered the complaint areas on the PO I would be okay. There were many verbal representations that were not on the PO; for instance, they had many advertisers that, if I featured them, (up to 12 of them) on my terminal, I would make 80% of the advertisers fee of $75 - $100 a month. This does not exist, NCS hopes to do it in the future, though. On the Purchase Order there is a place for special provisions and I had added: Free location and contract to change that part of paragraph #7 of the PO. Getting it placed and making money was my primary care because of accruing interest charges on my credit card.
I did call other Kiosk providers and found that I could purchase the same terminal for about $8,000. Because I had no idea where to place one, the best locations, and if there were any places left to put one, I thought the additional $5,000 would be worth it to get the first terminal located and making money. Talking with other companies that sold this type of service, going to the location was common practice. I intended to buy several terminals and place them throughout Alaska if the first one was profitable.
I sent the credit card courtesy check (NCS said that they didn't accept credit cards but would accept a courtesy check, this is because the credit card company has less power in a dispute, I later found out) for $12,995 and the signed PO by FedEx on November 24th. NCS was to sign the PO also and send me a copy of it, they never did. On November 25th NCS called and said they received the check. On November 26th Mike Press, who works with Bill Galinsky, phoned and said they would wait 5-7 days for the check to clear and then start building the terminal, which should take about a week. So, at the latest, the terminal should have been built by December 10th. The check posted to my account on November 27th so the building of the machine should have started about a week earlier.
Ernie Richardson, my assigned Locator, phoned me on November 26th to introduce himself and meet me and discuss what I wanted and what distance I was willing to travel to tend the machine. I told him Anchorage, which is over 300 miles from my home in Valdez, would be fine. And that Hotels/Motels seem like good places. He didn't want to
deal with the bigger ones because it would be a corporate decision and take a long time. Later he said he had no problems with them.
On December 3rd Ernie called to tell me he had a Hotel in Anchorage ready to sign the contract to have the terminal installed on their property. I happened to be in Anchorage at the time so I got the name and phone number of the contact and went to look at the Hotel and found it to be a bad location and a rather shabby looking establishment. I lost the phone number that Ernie gave for the contact there and so called the Hotel's main number to be polite and touch base with him. The receptionist did not know who he was.
I called Ernie and told him the location and appearance was not good and he said that all he could do was find places on the Internet and call them, he didn't know how they looked or where they were. I hoped for $5,000 dollars he could go to Anchorage and check it out. I asked him to check with the Marriot, Captain Cook's and The Sheridan because they were better locations.
On December 10th I phoned Ernie. He had no new places. He asked me to call him back in a week unless he found someplace and called me.
On December 16th I phoned Ernie. He had nothing yet. I expressed my concern on how long this was taking and he said, Your concern is not my concern, I just have to find a place to put it. I was very put off by this statement and called Bill to let him know that I felt Ernie was not very professional. Bill was busy or not in so I spoke with Mike Press who said that that was Ernie's sense of humor and he would call him and let him know that I didn't appreciate it.
The next day, December 17th, Ernie called with two malls. He gave me the contact numbers and I called one of them. The contact confirmed what I feared that a mall would not be a good place to put one of these terminals. (He has a girlfriend that manages a large mall in Seattle and had a terminal like this there and she said that it wasn't doing well there). The other mall is way off the beaten path and when I had been there before, it was almost deserted.
On December 18th I phoned Ernie and told him this, since he had no idea what Anchorage was like, I gave him phone numbers to 4 places, The Egan Center (Civic Center), Hilton, Capt. Cook's and Marriot Hotels, again. He said nothing about trying any of these that I
had given him last time. These would be better locations and busier places. He told me that I needed to be patient and wait for him to call me. I waited 25 days before I sent the cancellation letter.
That was the last time I spoke with Ernie or anybody else from NCS, until I sent my cancellation letter on January 12th and Bart phoned me from Tennessee on January 14th.
I faxed my signed letter of cancellation on January 12th, 47 days after NCS received the check (the PO states that: The Buyer may cancel the order by written notice delivered to Seller prior to the shipment if the order is not shipped within forty-five (45) days of receipt of the Purchase Order and payment from the Buyer.).
Bart said that KIS, the company that builds the terminals, had been shut down for
a while and that it is in the PO that it will ship in 45 days unless something out of their control delays that. I phoned KIS and asked if they had been shut down during the period of December 3rd to January 14th. They said they were closed for two (2) days for Thanksgiving and nine (9) days for Christmas. The order for my terminal should have been put in on December 3rd, one (1) week after Thanksgiving and 3 (3) weeks before KIS was closed for Christmas. According to Mike Press it took about a week to build one. Bart also said he would call Ernie and find out what happened with the places I had suggested and Ernie should be calling me in the next couple of days. He never has called me.
Because NCS was to locate the terminal and had not been able to, I felt that there were not any good places to put it. I didn't know that my terminal hadn't been built yet until Bart said that KIS had been the problem and hadn't built it yet. He also said that they would just ship it to my home and be done with it. That still would be past the 45 days. There are not enough people in Valdez in the winter to make this a good location. In the summer with the tourists it might make some money, but I would not want to have to move it every season. I also live in a modular home and have no room to store it out of the weather.
Whatever the problem is with locating the terminal might be, the terminal didn't ship under 45 days. I feel I am in the perimeters of the PO and should be refunded the full amount. I feel NCS would have been out of nothing if they had not tried to stick me with it.
On February 10th a truck pulled up to my house to deliver it. I got copies of the bills of laden. It was shipped from Colorado on January 30th, 2 weeks after I told them to cancel it. The trucking company that brought it to Anchorage, Associated Global Systems, had instructions on the BOL directing the driver to NOT call prior to delivery, leave if no one is home or get a signed refusal from client. I was home to refuse it, luckily. We had 11 inches of snowfall the night before and it had turned to rain. It was a downpour when the truck arrived. The machine would have been ruined or stolen or both.
I am disputing the $12,995 with my credit card company and have not heard their results as of yet.