If you haven't seen this it's a good read!!
Team 4 Investigates Storesonline
POSTED: 6:04 p.m. EDT April 25, 2002
O'HARA, Pa. -- An Action News viewer called Team 4 last week and said she received a letter entitled, "Make Serious Money On The Internet," which invited her to a local seminar.
The letter is from a Utah company called Storesonline, Inc. A quick background check on this company turned up some problems, so Team 4 attended a seminar at Holiday Inn in RIDC Park, with a hidden camera.
The following report by Team 4's Jim Parsons aired April 25 on WTAE Action News at 6 p.m.
It's a willing audience at this hotel in O'Hara Township -- and why not? Storesonline provides a free lunch and lots of basic information about the Internet.
Team 4's Hidden-Camera Report
But the real pitch is getting this group to come back for a second seminar and spending at least $2,000.
Pitchman: "What you're going to find is that you'll get one going, and you'll get some income, and then it'll grow and grow and grow, and you'll have that exploding growth to your business."
This company pitchman is selling cyber stores -- locations on the Web where Pittsburghers can sell products and services. And company salesmen are all over western Pennsylvania this week, holding free seminars in Altoona, Butler, Erie, Greensburg, Johnstown, New Castle, Oil City and Pittsburgh.
But at those seminars, Storesonline employees don't mention that the company has an unsatisfactory record with the Better Business Bureau in Utah, where Storesonline is headquartered.
The BBB says it has received customer complaints about Storesonline's selling practices, contractual disputes, and refund issues. Storesonline pitchmen also don't disclose that attorneys general in seven states have launched inquiries and investigations.
And they also don't mention that just three months ago, Dateline NBC did an investigative report on their company -- a report which is still available. When Dateline's story ran in January, Storesonline was known as Galaxy Mall.
Pittsburghers we interviewed after the seminar at Holiday Inn only saw the upside.
Daniel Boylen: "I was impressed."
Magali Coriel: "I think it's a good way to make money."
Storesonline employees declined to speak with us after the seminar, but here's what company president Jay Poelman told Dateline about their clients who fail.
Poelman: "People who are not successful are not following the principles that are necessary to be successful."
Storesonline claims several success stories -- small business owners that have made a fortune using the company's Web site-building service. And that might be true -- we just don't know.
We do know the BBB gives it an unsatisfactory record of dealing with customer complaints, and we know seven states have launched inquiries and/or investigations. So, buyer beware.