Rip-off Report Investigation: WSI, a privately-owned company is legitimately established and is forthcoming about its location, identities of theirsenior management and its franchise opportunity. The company discloses any and all information about their operations to ensure the highest customer/franchise confidence.
Most complainants investigated to date by Rip-off Report appear to be competitors or ex-employees, although 3 of the Rip-off Reports had complete, bona fide contact information. WSI is actively working to resolve those cases. In many cases IP addresses of individuals "claiming" to be from the United States or from various countries internationally, but were actually found to be posted in Toronto, Canada - indicating reports were most likely filed maliciously and falsely under various identities, but were actually from the same group of only a few individuals.
WSI has experienced rapid growth. In the past it experienced some growing pains with respect to customer responsiveness, but has overcome it with additional support capability and improved customer service, systems and processes.
They appear to be a caring company - They work with and for kids around the world showing goodwill and financial support through many charitable organizations.
The company maintains strong reputable business partners, who help them enhance their operations and support; which includes IBM, Oracle and Price Waterhouse Coopers.
They pledge to fully address each and every person who has a bona fide complaint about them utilizing recommendations set forth in the Rip-off Report Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation and Customer Satisfaction Program, which WSI is participating in fully.
Read the full report on WSI.
NOW TO THE ORIGIONAL REPORT THAT WAS FILED
I am another unfortunate victim of the WSI/Worldsites phenomenon. I joined in 2000, long before all these unfavourable reports were available. I did a lot of research at the time and could only find the marketing hype advertisements that are still seen today, plus some new ones. In hindsight, I can see the red flags that should have warned me away but at the time, I thought I was just being paranoid. In fact, even good companies will show red flags and if you were to walk away from every red flag you came across you wouldn't begin any venture. The important thing is that you question the red flags to the point where you are comfortable with the answers.
I was told that the value of the territory would grow and the company was soon going to go public and each territory would be worth "X" number of shares. Of course this was verbal salesmanship never committed to paper. I was told that I didn't need sales or technical experience, that I could start off part-time from home. I was told that Worldsites (WSI) would use what they called a CAF to fund marketing which would result in leads.
Well, you really can't do this part time unless you already have your own business and/or can answer the phone at any time and drop your regular job to support the caller. Customers do not want to hear an answering machine when they called during normal business hours. I never see any advertising other than their own website where they are advertising franchises at the same time. They've never sent me a single lead.
So exactly what does the franchise fee buy you? It buys you a limited/limiting territory and a chance to pay for their services at a price that's hard to mark up and stay competitive. Well, you can do that yourself and not have a territory to restrict you. Seems like a silly thing to get into now that I know the truth. It's not the label, because to this day, nobody I know has ever heard of them. It's not the support because the support was a joke. It's not the training because the training left me feeling hyped for about a week and then inept after my first experience with an inquisitive customer.
I spent the first year working evenings and weekends and making no money in return. It was immediately obvious that I could not do this part time. I could not quit my job as I had a family to support and could not afford to live without an income for months at a time.
It was not long before I met other franchisees in the Greater Toronto area and found out that they could not make a living at this venture and had to find part time jobs to make ends meet.
I'm not sure why the Canadian government has not done anything about this company. If they really cared about building the company into a successful web development company, then why is it so important to sell franchises to people that are bound to fail, and to so many different nationalities. Theoretically, they can sell a piece of paper to as many people as there are pockets of businesses around the world. What a cash cow.
Where else can a company, on a daily basis, take hard earned money from unsuspecting people, knowing that their chances of success are very low? I guess it's because, for a very few, it can work. And, I think it could have worked for me too if they actually gave me what they told me they would and not lied about what it would take from me. That is the only reason I am writing this. Their marketing practices are very deceptive and your success is secondary to their ability to take your money.
Eventually I gave up on the dream and had to accept the reality that I was sucked into a scam. They have had the use of my money ($60,000) for five years now. They have not spent a cent on me after the initial training. Even if they returned my money (less the training costs), they would still be ahead but why would they do that when they are allowed to run a business in this way?
I think it's sad that a company is getting this rich at the expense of the average person who bought into a partnership where everyone should have benefited, franchisor, franchisee and customers alike.
I haven't taken legal action yet, because I have already lost my shirt in this venture and I haven't yet had the stomach to throw good money after bad. I have lost many many nights of sleep over this and really do want to forget it. I realize now that I will never forget it unless I make some sort of attempt to either warn others to do their homework before getting into the same situation as I did or get involved in some sort of class action lawsuit.
I hope this has helped clarify some of the red flags that are out there. Do your homework. Don't be afraid to dig. Yes there are bogus reports on the internet as well as bogus testimonials. I hardly think anyone would write this just for fun. You have a lot more available information on this company than we did back in 2000. Be safe and good luck.