• Report: #46080

Complaint Review: World Wide Source

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  • Submitted: Wed, February 19, 2003
  • Updated: Thu, November 20, 2003

  • Reported By:Staunton Virginia
World Wide Source
Www.worldwide-source.com Alburg, Vermont U.S.A.

World Wide Source a rip-off at $399.95 the ultimate deceptive marketer! Alburg Vermont

*Author of original report: Competition Bureau Needs to Hear from You!

*Author of original report: File a Complaint with the New York Attorney General!

*Author of original report: Some Background on Call Centres--Local Article About World Wide Source

*Author of original report: Missouri Brief Details Methods of World Wide Source, Ameri-source, American Solutions, IT Data Direct and others.

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Robert This info might help you

*Author of original report: The Real Physical Address of WWS Revealed!

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We were first contacted by World Wide Source" in June of 2001. At that time their representative offered us inclusion in the American Business Index AND Business to Business 800 number directory. Since I spoke with her, I clearly remember asking what it would cost. She replied $399.95. I asked specifically if that was the total cost. She replied yes.


Although they want you to believe they are in the U.S., World Wide Source is actually located in Montreal, Quebec and operates telemarketing operations in Nova Scotia as well. Econonomic development initiatives provided by the government allow such companies to locate in prime office space and enjoy substantial tax breaks.

They mailed an invoice, dated June 29, 2001.

We paid that invoice by check at the end of July.

We were then contacted AGAIN by a woman representing Business to Business who stated that we needed to pay an additional $399.95 to be included in the second book. At that point I said NO, we had already paid $399.95 and had been led to believe that that was it. I told their representative at that time that I did NOT want to be bothered again. She assured me that I would not.

I never received a formal contract from them. I was not billed again.

We actually received the directories one year later. July 2002. We were listed in American Business Index but not in Business to Business. The "American Business Index" was pretty lame--just a list of companies that had been snookered. Not a real database of any value.

On August 29,2002 one of their people called and asked if I wanted to continue advertising in Business to Business. I replied that I did not know we were in Business to Business and he said: Oh yes, and you owe a balance of $399.95.

The balance amount made me suspicious so I asked if he was with World Wide Source. He said No. He claimed we had a contract for two years, which they had not presented, and I have not signed. I had not been billed for anything other than the initial invoice, and assumed my discussion with their representative a year ago was the end of the matter.

When I tried to discuss this problem I was greeted by resistance from their people, who simply repeated their initial assertions.

On November 1, 2002 I recieved two calls from someone asking if I wished to continue my listing. When I said no they said O.K. but you owe us a balance. I was never billed for this balance. I have told their people I do not want to be bothered by you again. I have made myself quite clear, but the ONLY thing "World Wide Source" has made clear is that they feel I owe them additional money.

When I asked their representative to clarify the situation she hung up. Therefore I am limiting my replies to them to writing so there are no further misunderstandings.

I plan to contact the Attorney General's office of the State of Virginia concerning this matter.

If "World Wide Source" wishes to claim that this company owes them any additional money, they will need to provide a signed contract proving that we indeed obligated ourselves to any further relationship with their company.

I feel that I have attempted to act in good faith with these people. They are rude! They are masters of intimidation! You cannot win a discussion of your problem with their "customer care" representative. Don't even try. Go directly to your state Attorney General's office. Hopefully they can help.

Robert
Staunton, Virginia
U.S.A

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/19/2003 04:30 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/World-Wide-Source/Alburg-Vermont-05440/World-Wide-Source-a-rip-off-at-39995-the-ultimate-deceptive-marketer-Alburg-Vermont-46080. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

Competition Bureau Needs to Hear from You!

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

As a citizen of Canada, you should report any and all of these scammers to the Competition Bureau, which enforces the Competition Act. This law covers deceptive telemarketers and has resulted in some serious prosecution of this type of scheme.



http://www.cb-bc.gc.ca/



Is their web site.



Also contact Phonebusters and the Attorney General of the state in the U.S. that they pretend to operate out of. These "mail drops" may change overnight if the authorities crack down on them. Still, Vermont's action shows that if enough complaints come in the Attorney General can shut them down at the phony "local" office.
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#2 Author of original report

File a Complaint with the New York Attorney General!

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

World Wide Source now uses the following "mail drop" and it is important to let the New York Attorney General know about your experiences with this company. If they get enough complaints they may be inclined to take action similar to the Vermont settlement.



World Wide Source

1080 Military Turnpike

Plattsburgh, NY 12901



If this is the World Wide Source office that is harassing you, contact the New York Attorney General's office immediately:



State of New York

Office of the Attorney General

Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection

70 Clinton Street

Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Tel: 518.562.3282

Fax: 518.562.3294
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#3 Author of original report

Some Background on Call Centres--Local Article About World Wide Source

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

Dear Thelma,



Is this the person who is actually in charge of the Dartmouth Call Centre? This might be someone who should be contacted if you are having a problem with the company:



Claude Berthiaume

Vice President of Operations And Development

World Wide Source

45 Queen Square

10th Floor, Dartmouth

Nova Scotia, Canada

902 466-1500



Interesting Article I Found Online:



By Chad Lucas

The Commoner



When Claude Berthiaume decided to expand his call centre business, World Wide Source, outside of Montreal, he looked at 29 cities before settling in the Halifax area. Four months after opening a centre in Dartmouth, he opened a second two weeks ago in Purdy's Wharf on the Halifax waterfront.



Berthiaume's company, a business-to-business sales firm, is one of 12 call centres that have opened in Halifax since 1995, bringing 5,000 jobs into the city. Another five centres have opened around the province, creating an additional 2,200 jobs in Nova Scotia. Economics, education, unemployment rates, and good old-fashioned work ethic have conspired to make the Maritimes - particularly Halifax and Moncton a hot spot in the call centre industry. And while call centres still carry a certain stigma in many people's eyes, local business analysts think their arrival is bene- ficial for Halifax. "Anytime we can put human beings to work and help them build their skills, it's a good thing," says Brian Crawley, president of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS). "It's a big mistake to denigrate these things."'



Saint Mary's University marketing professor Wayde Crawford says companies with call centres - many of which are American - are making a big drive to reduce costs. They go where the labour force is cheapest, and geography is no

longer a boundary.



"If you're paying someone $13 US an hour, and you can move your operation to Nova Scotia and pay them $13 Canadian, that's a 33 per cent saving in your labour cost," Crawford says. He has done studies on call centres for companies in the industry.



Call centres also consider the availability of workers in a region prior to setting up. The Maritimes have some of the highest unemployment rates in the country, so call centres have no trouble finding workers.



And companies have found that Maritimers make good workers. The clincher for Berthiaume was Haligonians' devotion to their jobs. He studied the absentee rate in cities his company investigated, and found Halifax's was the lowest - employees call in sick just 1.6 days per year.



"People here come to work," Berthiaume says.

Halifax also has the distinction of being "accent neutral," another vital quality in a telephone-based operation. "Companies often don't want their customers to know they're talking to a call centre far away," Crawford says. "If someone calls from Boston and the person on the other end has a southern drawl or a Texas twang, it makes the regionalization obvious."



Aside from our curious way of pronouncing words like "out" and "about," Halifax English sounds relatively clean for customers, most of whom are calling from the U.S. eastern seaboard. Another of Halifax's biggest strengths is its educated workforce. Halifax has the most post-secondary institutions per capita in the country; the city has some 40,000 students and 6,000 graduates each year.



But the challenge call centres face is getting these people to work for them. The Greater Halifax Partnership is a local economic growth agency working to bring call centres into Halifax. But Bill Adams, the partnership's communica- tions director, admits call centres have a negative image to overcome.



"Part of it comes from the early days, when they were primarily low-paying sales jobs," he says.

Many people still think of call centres as telemarketing. Halifax has outbound sales centres, like Berthiaume's World Wide Source, but Adams says Halifax has focused more on the higher-end customer service centres.



"We're building an industry, rather than 'McJobs,'" he says. "People might start at the low end, but there's an opportunity to advance their skills and move up the ladder. They can build a career."



Many call centres, such as those supplying customer service for compute software, require skilled and trained employees.



"There are people working in 'call centre jobs' who are engineers making $60,000," Adams says. "I don't think you can lump all call centre jobs together."



Crawford says even the lower-level call centres can be a boon to workers. "For many people, these are their first, entry-level jobs," he says. "After three weeks of training, they're making double what they'd make at a fast food place

For them it's been a fantastic opportunity."

Adams thinks Halifax's call centre industry will continue to grow, "but we're not taking jobs for jobs' sake...we're not looking for the low-paying sales jobs. We've got a wealth of young, talented people here and we're not going to under

sell them."



Ask a first-year university student what kind of job they hope to land after graduation, and it's unlikely call centre employee will come to mind. But that's exactly the kind of attitude Claude Berthiaume wants to change.



Berthiaume is vice-president of operations and development for World Wide Source, one of Halifax's newest outbound call centres. He says he's looking for people who are young and educated. "We're doing business with general managers of companies, business owners," he says. "We're not going to give our customers a free two litre bottle of Pepsi and be like 'Hey, hey, how ya doing?' We aren't that kind of business. So we need people who are articulate."

Berthiaume says his plan to hire educated graduates is made easier with some 40,000 students in Halifax. He says call centres aren't necessarily their worst option.



"Why I think it could attract new graduates is the growth of the industry. If you look at the growth of different industries and you look at the growth of the call centre, it's phenomenal."

There are two different types of call centres: those that make outbound calls (telemarketing), and those that take inbound calls (customer service).



Berthiaume's company has a career development program that acknowledges university graduates are probably looking for more than just tele-

marketing.



"We have a file on every employee. We know what kind of career they're looking for."
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#4 Author of original report

Missouri Brief Details Methods of World Wide Source, Ameri-source, American Solutions, IT Data Direct and others.

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

Thank you Thelma,



In the brief of the Missouri case pending against Pavlos Angelatos and WWS some interesting 'techniques' for circumventing receptionists and gaining 'approval' are detailed. So when the person calling you from WWS, Ameri-source, IT Data Direct or whoever states that "we had approval," realize that it was skillfully coerced. The Missouri report brief states:



"WWS, through its agents, represent to their prospective customers that the directory

listing being offered is in the prospective customer's local telephone company

Yellow Pages. WWS agents begin their sale to prospective customers with,

(Sir/Ma'am), this is _________your Account Representative from World Wide

Source, calling regarding your listing for the business-to-business Yellow Pages, The

American Business Index... By promoting the directory as the Yellow Pages

consumers are left thinking this is a solicitation for their local Yellow Pages.

14. This representation of WWS' directory as the Yellow Pages is reinforced by

Defendants' telemarketing training materials:

a. Simply refer to our product/service as a National Yellow Page Listing.'

Everyone knows what that entails and you are less likely to be needlessly

interrogated.

b. The simplest way to [get past the receptionist] is to simply say: Who

handles you Yellow Page listings?

15. Defendants' telemarketer training materials encourage efforts to avoid answering

questions about the American Business Index: When asked [what directory this is,

or to describe the product], simply REPEAT the directory's name, and continue

instantly with your Presentation.

16. Defendants, through their agents, also represent to their prospective customers that

WWS offers a renewal of a previous listing, thus contributing to the confusion with

the local Yellow Pages mentioned above.

17. This implication that the customer is being asked to renew its listing is conveyed by

Defendants' telemarketing script, which contains the following series of

representations that state or imply that the business already has a listing which it is

simply being asked to renew or update:

a. that the caller simply need[s] to verify that the business' listing is correct

for the new edition.

b. that the customer will receive a Revision Form for this term, suggesting a

revision of some earlier listing.

c. that with a listing, the customer has been brought up to date for the new

edition, again suggesting a revision of an earlier listing;

d. that this is this year's order, as opposed to last year's order.

18. Defendants, through their agents, use a rebuttal script that reinforces the

representation that the company sells renewals of existing directory listings, and that

avoids responding to questions about renewal, as follows:

a. I just need a minute of your time to update your listing.

b. [T]his is a Courtesy Call to confirm that your listing is accurate for the new

edition.

c. Right now we're only updating your listing...

d. [Question:] Did we received [sic] it?/Have I done this before? [Answer:] I'm

in the subscription department...we have you currently listed in our database

and we have you scheduled for the next 2 years. I'm just calling to confirm

that we still have you listed correctly...

19. Defendants' telemarketer training materials further underscore the representation

that customers commonly renew their listings:

a. Renewing Clients should' want the product again...

b. Many clients may very well have not been listed before.

c. If a customer has purchased before...

d. Clients who have bought and paid for previous services.

20. Defendants' telemarketer training materials encourage efforts to avoid answering

questions about the renewal aspect of the listings offered by the company: If a

Client asks if they have paid' for the product before, the Agent must indicate that:

for security reasons we never keep financial details on file...'

21. WWS began marketing its two-year directory listings only in October 2000, therefore

it is unlikely that any customers contacted in 2000, 2001, or early 2002 could have

renewed an existing listing.

22. Defendants, through their agents, further represent to their prospective customers that

the circulation of the American Business Index is over 1 million. This is reflected

in WWS' rebuttal script as follows: [Question:] What is the circulation of this

directory? [Answer:] We publish over 1 million listings per year.

23. WWS is deceptive in its answer by stating how many listings they publish, rather

than how many copies of the book are actually sold.

24. In fact, the circulation of the American Business Index is actually about 35,000.

25. On information and belief, Defendants, through their agents, have billed many of

their customers$399.95 for listings in the American Business Index without obtaining

authorization from them.

26. As of July 12, 2002, the State of Missouri had received 18 complaints directed at

WWS."



Also please note:



Has anyone considered the need to report these directory scammers for mail fraud. Get the form at your local post office. The billing practices of these companies clearly constitute mail fraud.



Contact your state Attorney General. Vermont shut down Pavlos Angelatos and Ameri-source and Missourri is about to drop the hammer on them.



Mister or Ms. Telemarketer, sitting in their boiler room bunker in Montreal or Dartmouth, is either woefully ignorant of state laws--or hopes you are! Most states have "right to cancel" laws. If you are a telemarketer you are required by law to notify your contact of them in such transactions. Usually it is a 72 hour period or something similar. It goes without saying that the telemarketer would also have to clearly identify themselves and provide clear contact information to create an enforceable transaction.



Your state probably also has laws on the books similar to this Virginia statute:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

59.1-200. Prohibited practices.



A. The following fraudulent acts or practices committed by a supplier in connection with a consumer transaction are hereby declared unlawful:



1. Misrepresenting goods or services as those of another; (eg: The "Real Yellow Pages")



2. Misrepresenting the source, sponsorship, approval, or certification of goods or services;



3. Misrepresenting the affiliation, connection or association of the supplier, or of the goods or services, with another;



4. Misrepresenting geographic origin in connection with goods or services;



5. Misrepresenting that goods or services have certain quantities, characteristics, ingredients, uses, or benefits; (saying you distribute over a million books when your circulation is closer to 35000).

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++



With a little knowledge you should be able to help stop this kind of operation in your area. Their only strength is in their telephone operation. They also have no respect for anti-harassment laws. Just keep hanging up on them. You can be nice about it since you possess the moral and legal high ground. They seem to take sadistic enjoyment out of reducing professional people to rage and verbal conflict with them on the telephone. Kill them with kindness.
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#5 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Robert This info might help you

AUTHOR: Thelma - (Canada)

I am a former employee of World Wide Source. I am sorry that you got burned by WWS. I really belived in this company when I started working for them, until we found out more and more things just wernt right. I quit.



A business to business directory that has listings of companys that are mostly of little or no value to the consumer.( oh and you need a magnifying glass to read it). The book is full of churches and Mom and Pop shops across america. The company clearly takes advantage of small business that have no need to have or be in a national directory.



To help you fight this company I have the actual phyical address and phone number of the office that they probally called you from. This location has been open since 2000:

45 Queen Square

10th Floor, Dartmouth

Nova Scotia, Canada

902 466-1500



All the best to you Robert and good luck. If I can be of more help just leave a note at the bottom.
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#6 Author of original report

The Real Physical Address of WWS Revealed!

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

You know, it is hard to file reports to the Better Business Bureau and other agencies without this information. Many thanks to the Attorney General's office of the state of Vermont for so quickly providing it. If you have been burned by this company, here is the actual address so you can file complaints with the BBB, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and your state Attorney General:



Pavlos Angelatos, President

W.W.S. Source Mondiale de Publications, Inc.

2015 Drummond Avenue, Suite #800

Montreal, Quebec H3G 1W7

Canada
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