For sake of time, I will touch on the specifics of my disasterous loss with the Creative Concepts of America/Red Bull North America affiliation.
Back in August 2005 I was looking for a franchise or business opportunity to add to my real estate business. After searching through franchise business opportunity sites such as franchise.com and franchisegator.com, I saw an opportunity to purchase Red Bull Vending Machines. I entered my contact information to one of the online inquiry forms and was soon contacted by an individual at a company called Creative Concepts of America. After a long conversation with a salesperson named Michael Biggs at the office, I decided to have some further due dilegence done. My business counselor called Red Bull North America and discussed the vending program and was told that it was a legitimate relationship that RBNA had with Creative Concepts of America. He was also told that they were the exclusive company to sell the Red Bull Branded Machines. On 9/21/05 I drove to Ft. Lauderdale to meet with Creative Concepts of America, I was given contracts to be 1 of 2 distributors in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Osceola Counties in Florida. I paid $6,584.00 USD on my American Express and wired the balance of $59,242.00 USD to have my 22 machines and product delivered to my predetermined locations (which I was later told by the shipping company that this was logistically impossible and they had to go to 1 central location). After I was provided with that information, I called Creative Concepts and was told they would reimburse me $75.00 USD for each machine for a total of $1650 plus my travel expenses to their office. To this day, I have not received any of those monies. I should have realized a problem when the company did not charge FL sales tax since I was a Florida business.
I also paid an additional $5280.00 USD to Advance Placement Services out of Chicago to assist in placing my vending machines. Ironically none of the locations (schools, universities, sports complexes, etc) were as promised by the people at Creative Concepts due to Coke or Pepsi already having rights to these locations. I was the lucky recipient of absolutely terrible locations. I even had some locations refuse delivery of the machine due to the size! The business owners claimed that the placement company told them it was going to be a smaller machine or other lies. My frustration began to mount with this venture. Nothing was seamless or easy after I signed the contract.
On 3/26/06 I had a Vending Machine broken into, damaged and all monies stolen. I called Creative Concepts for the correct process to follow since I allegedly had an included theft and vandalism warranty. I have emails saved from their support stating exactly what to do, I provided them with a police report, photos and the necessary paperwork. I was contacted by a Nick at tech support and given a timeframe when a tech would be out to review and get the machine repaired. The machine was never repaired, no one sent out and became a total loss.
After none of the claims that Creative Concepts had made to me regarding the success of the venture even came close to reality, I began attempting to sell the machines. I have a filled in earnings estimate by Michael Biggs and Andrew Kennedy from CCA stating conservative earnings of $178K in my first year. I obviously did not believe the figure but did see an opportunity to fill an unsatisfied need by having an energy drink vending business. This was around the time I received a letter from RBNA dated 4/26/08 stating 'the affiliation between Creative Concepts of America and Red bull North America, Inc, ended on April 8, 2006. The letter also claimed that the local distributor would help in placement of any machines. This DID NOT happen, even after discussing options with local distributor, Anchor Distribution. I was in contact with a gentleman, Chris Weatherford, the non-traditional account manager at RBNA to help me out of the situation. He put me in contact with Jeff Walls of Anchor distribution - the actual Red Bull Distributor in my area. Jeff agreed to purchase my machines for 1/2 of what I paid! I had no choice but to accept the offer due to the lack of revenue being generated by the machines.
After CCA filed bankruptcy, all of the pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place. Andrew Kennedy was the GM of the office, although his mother was the actual front woman for CCA. They lived in a million dollar plus home, purchased with the monies rendered from people like myself and were neighbors with Dwayne Johnson (the Rock). The placement company they would recommend was operated by another one of their family members.
I lost over $80,000 USD (after selling my machines to the local distributor)when you take the machines, placement costs, truck rental, truck payments to move the machines, storage unit charges and other miscellaneous expenses by trusting Red Bull North America did their due dilegence in selecting Creative Concepts of America to act as an agent for them by allowing them to sell Red Bull Branded Vending Machines in the United States to unsuspecting entrepreneurs such as myself and countless others that have been burned and lost everything. RBNA has sued many over potential infringements and claims that there was no knowledge of problems with CCA? I find it hard to believe a multi-billion dollar company had no idea that a small office in Ft. Lauderdale Florida was using the Red Bull name and tarnishing it by scamming and fraudulantly selling dreams to unsuspecting people.
I'm not going to give my sob story, my hardships or my personal problems caused by this nightmare. I'm sure if you are reading this, you had the same ordeal as me and faced a challenging time in your life that you may or may not have recovered from. I'm not sitting with my hand out waiting for payment, I do believe that RBNA should make things right with those who bought into an idea to be an EXCLUSIVE RED BULL VENDING DISTRIBUTOR FOR SPECIFIC AREAS IN THE NATION. I have a contract stating I was '1 of 2' exclusive distributors for Hillsborough, Pinellas and Osceola Counties in Florida. I also have the exact same contracts that were sold to other individuals in my 'PROTECTED TERRITORY' stating they are '1 of 9' distributors in Hillsborough County Florida.
The US Secret Service, the US Post Office, the Attorney General and countless agencies have been involved with this case. It has been going on for over 2 years. I'm tired of playing the 'we didn't know or we're not responsible game.' WE NEED TO GET THE MEDIA INVOLVED NOW!
I have a papertrail over 2 years thick and would welcome any and all victims to join me in bringing this to the public eye. **Any media sources interested in this investigation, please contact me.
Please reference these additional reports: #340017 and # 341866. I know there are many more stories and reports out there regarding this specific business venture.