It began at the free UNIM Web seminar in November. The speaker offered the website disks for a modest $20/disk up to a maximum of 5 per person--but you had to be quick because he said there were only a few disks available.
Of course, in order to learn how to use these disks to your best advantage, you must pay $129.95 to attend another seminar. When you attend that seminar, you get 5 disks free to sell to your friends, family, neighbors or co-workers. (Ok, so why did I just pay for two at the free seminar?)
At the paid seminar, you are given a flood of information which is mainly to sell new products--merchant accounts, 1-800 numbers, etc. all at special prices for seminar attendees who "Buy Now." My intent to participate with this web product was limited to the Art Gallery website so I gave no "webpage development" instructions to UNIM nor did I buy the extras.
Cost was to be $29.95 per month for the one site. The speaker also said that the hosting fee would not be charged until the website was developed. And in looking at the November Agreement today, there is no stated duration for the $29.95/month.
In late November I received a letter indicating that my credit card would be charged for the hosting fee beginning in December because my website had been activated. That's funny, my website is not built and neither UNIM or Irvine Web Works had contacted me to determine what I needed.
In early December, I begin receiving emails from Irvine Web Works stating they are ready to begin development. I also begin speaking with an Irvine Web Works rep regarding my site. He tells me about the special pricing of 3 websites at $89.90 per month. One of these websites is a "Standard" from which I can sell my own products or services, and two are turnkey websites. Thinking I see a deal in the lower price for many sites, I buy into the concept.
The next Irvine proposal was for me to make a payment of $1,095 for a Merchant Account. Then, my monthly payments will be $59.90 per month, and I would save $700 over the lifetime of the agreement. My rep told me I needed to send the money in right away (within 3 days). So, I accept this proposal thinking that I am on my way to making a decent income on the Internet.
It wasn't until this week that the Agreements with Axin, and Innovative Merchant Solutions arrived in my mailbox. I was told verbally and in writing to send them back immediately. When I began to read the fine print, I became very suspicious.
In the agreements, it states that I am agreeing to a 48-month contract even if I die. My heirs, assigns, administrators and reps will be responsible to make the remaining payments. And further in the Agreement, it states the Lessee (I) must purchase public liability insurance from an entity that the Lessor accepts. If I don't provide the insurance, then Axin will charge me $3 a month. And of course, there are monthly service charges for the Merchant Account.
The Agreements make it clear that Axin/Irvine Web Works escape all responsibility. On the other hand, I (as the Lessee) am responsible for everything that might go wrong.
In the last few days I have used the Internet to look at Better Business Bureau reports (Axin's report was not flattering to them)as well as this site. This site has convinced me to bail on Irvine Web Works.
At the seminar, it was promised that the web developers would create Meta Tags that would place my UNIM webstore in a favorable position with certain search engines. I tested that statement on the Internet. The UNIM Stores art gallery offers giclees; my search for "giclees" resulted in 50,900 matches. I checked the first 260 matches, and none of them were associated with or offered through UNIM stores. A search for "fine art reproductions" gives 309,000 matches.
Also, the webpage descriptions for the art gallery offered through UNIM subscribers are identical for the most part. Nothing would distinguish my site from the next UNIM art gallery.
So what did I really receive? An empty standard webpage (because I have not yet found "drop ship" products I want to sell), a Supermall of inexpensive gift items (most less than $35) which Irvine suggests I use as my primary site, and an art gallery that I originally thought would be fairly unique (but is not).
By the way, the turnkey stores have "unimstores.com" assigned to their address; a search for "unimstores.com" yields 10,800 matches so good luck in being found on the Net.
I have decided not to return the Agreements. So all the time I spent in trying to find products for my Standard website will now be spent in trying to stop monthly payments to Irvine Web Works and trying to get back the money I spent for a Merchant Account I will never use.
U.S.A. STOP! ..before you think about using the Better Business Bureau (BBB)... CLICK HERE to see how other consumers were victimized by the BBB's false or misleading information. Don't be fooled! It has been reported, when there are thousands of complaints and other investigations underway by authorities, the BBB has no choice but to finally give an UNsatisfactory rating to a BBB member business that is paying the BBB big membership fees every year. When a business is reported that is NOT a BBB member, BBB files WILL more likely show an UNsatisfactory rating, then reportedly shake down that company to become a member of the BBB. One positive thing about the BBB is, either way, if a business has an unsatisfactory rating with the BBB, you can be sure, the business is bad. But what about all those BBB member businesses that had complaints filed against them? Consumers never get to hear about them. What about the BBB advertising to the public? Is this a false and misleading perception they are giving about consumer confidence when dealing with a business? Click here to understand more of what consumers and business alike are saying about the BBB. You decide. ..Remember. The BBB membership is not earned, it's paid for! Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Axin Financial and eCommerce Exhange