Signing up with Startup Essentials
I am a Senior Citizen and wanted to supplement my Social Security and small pension by earning some extra money from home.
On April 18, 2007 I was contacted by Startup Essentials and given a sales pitch for starting up my own home-based business at no cost up front. They stated that they were members in good standing with BBB. Everything sounded very good. They promised complete support and training to get the Web based business started. They have a training program (The Journey, Business University) that I was to complete and as I did so, I would also be building my website.
The Startup Essentials Salesmans name was Mike Weston.
They stated that the package would include a top of the line laptop computer loaded with all the necessary expensive software needed to run my business, including credit card processing capabilities. (I never received them).
They encouraged me to have all sales processed by credit card because they would receive a 2 to 4 percent payoff for all charges that were run through my business.
Part of the package was that they would provide me with my first Webpage. When Startup Storefront (who they had me go to) and I had finished building the Webpage, I was to send it to Optigroove who would critique it. They would do the meta tags and crawlers which were included in the package, this in turn would enable my company to come up on the top ten listed companies for anyone looking for any of my products, This would continue until the pay per click money of $250.00 was used up (which also suppose to be part of the package).
They would also provide optimization for my website.
Starting off in the first week, A-1 Leasing sent me two different front pages to the contract, on which the monthly charge increased. I contacted A-1 Leasing who stated that I could cancel (this non-cancellable) contract. I said that I would, however, when I contacted Startup Essentials, there seemed to be a logical explanation for these increases in cost (tax and computer).
I called A-1 Leasing back and was put through to Steve Miel who stated that if I didn't cancel and failed to make ONE payment on time, they would be all over me. I was distressed with this kind of rude treatment but told them that I have always paid my bills on time and have excellent credit. I then contacted Startup Essentials and was put through to John Brutche, who supposedly was the Customer Service Manager, again, to clarify the situation and express my concern about the rude behavior of A-1 Leasing. They told me not to contact A-1 Leasing anymore.
During the course of the training, I was able to contact customer service through a contact button on the training home page, or call them direct.
Starting last month, I got extremely disturbed when I could get no response from messages left on the answering machine every time that I tried to contact Startup Essentials. I would leave a message but never hear back from them. The contact button no longer worked on the Startup Essentials home page. At one point, out of frustration, I stayed on hold to try to talk to a real person. I was on hold for over 1 hours and never got to talk to anyone.
I decided to check them out on Better Business Bureau again (I had in fact checked them out when I signed up), only to find that they had been dropped because they had too many complaints against them and they were not taking the necessary steps to correct the problem.
After completing three of the training modules, I was told to contact Startup Storefront to build my Webpage. I was able to talk to them many times to get it set up. However, as of this week, their phone number has been changed and is now answered by the same answering machine, stating that it is Startup Essentials and to leave a message.
I was getting anxious to get my Website up and running so I forwarded my site to Optigroove as I was told. They sent back an email that I would receive a response from them within 3 business days. I never heard back from them and again tried to reach Startup Essentials to see what the status was on my site. NO RESPONSE!! I did not receive anything further from Optigroove.
Again hoping for the best, I looked up Startup Essentials on www.ripoffreport.com only to discover that they have nothing but rip off reports against them and many, many people like me that have been ripped off.
Two days ago, upon the recommendation of an attorney from Dallas, Texas, I returned the laptop to Startup Essentials along with a letter telling them that I would not honor their contract since they were not fulfilling their part of the agreement. I sent it Fedex overnight delivery, requesting a receipt confirming delivery. Yesterday, Fedex called and stated that the company had moved and left no forwarding address.
I have put in two months of hard work and over $1,000.00, only to discover that they are no longer.
I have closed both of my checking accounts (personal as well as business) since they were debiting my checking account for their money.
I don't know where to go from here. It is my understanding that A-1 Leasing will be contacting me to try to get their money.
Everyone that was ripped off by the this company, report them to the Fraud division of the FBI. This was recommended by the U. S. Criminal Justice Dept.