Palmetto Marketing misrepresentation ripoff! Norfolk Virginia
Young white man (claimed to be 22 years old) came to door when it was dark and porch light was not even on. Claimed to be Roger Smith who just moved in down the street next to 7-11 and wanted to meet the neighbors.
Next thing he said he was a new student at Norfolk State University (a predominantly black school) in Mass Communications and Radio - but only been in town 5 days - a bit odd as the semester began long ago. He even claimed to work at the Norfolk State Radio Station and we could listen to him tonight after 10:30 on 88.1. (there is no such station at Norfolk State)
Said he wanted to go on a trip to Germany where he'd be training with the BBC - couldn't explain what BBC was doing in Germany. He needed help on his school trip to Germany so was offering for us to buy a magazine. We said we already had too many magazines and in fact turned down free subscriptions we have on our many frequent flyer miles. He said we might consider giving a child's magazine called Arthur, to the Children's Hospital.
Roger claimed he scored 1580 on his SAT (took it twice) and had attended about 5 universities around the US, was now a Junior at NSU after driving from Missouri 5 days ago. He said his Mom, of Design Pro bought 200 magazine subscriptions and he just needed a few more to go on the trip.
Although the magazine prices were quite high, we thought we'd buy one subscription for $40 to help Roger. We completed the form, wrote our check. He saw we were skeptical, so he wrote his mother's phone number (just a block away), but he said she used a Phoenix phone number.
Once he walked out the door, my wife and I compared notes, and felt this was likely a fraud. Thus, we called his mother's phone number which was, of course, bogus. We contacted the neighbor he said he would visit next. He said he only had 6 days to sell several hundred magazines (his Mom had bought 200, yeh right!). He needed to complete his sales in 1 hour and turn in receipts to his NSU professor.
We decided to check if he was still in the neighborhood. Fortunately, we saw him sitting in front of the 7-11. When we confronted him, we said things didn't add up and we weren't happy. To begin with, the phone number he left was bogus. He somehow instantly remembered he'd given us the wrong number and gave us a new one, his grandmother's with an entitrly new (and distant) area code. We'd had enough and said we'd like to cancel the deal (the receipt said we had 3 days to cancel). He obligied and returned our check. My wife insisted he invalidate our order, which he voided. He said he couldn't return the form or tear it up or his company, Palmetto, would charge him $100.
I've taken the time to write this to let others know of the unscrupulous tactics used by such con artists purporting to work for Palmetto (aka National Magazine Seller Assn. or whatever). For identification purposes, the four numbers Roger said identified our sale are:
JW (his boss's initials)
R Smith (his name)
He said the magazine we ordered (since cancelled) was New York Magazine for 92 issues.
I doubt if we hadn't acted right away, like many others, we'd never see an issue, based on the host of lies that this young man dished out in such a short time. It should be obvious that someone with a 1580 SAT would not be selling magazines and bouncing around from one school to another.
We are used to dealing with honest people in our work and neighborhood, and when one interacts with someone like Roger, there's a tendency to take him at his word. This scam takes advantage of sincere people who trust others. Hopefully, sharing this scenario may help protect others frolm this scam.