• Report: #521710

Complaint Review: Songs of Love Foundation

  • Submitted: Mon, November 09, 2009
  • Updated: Fri, February 19, 2010

  • Reported By: E-vendor — Rockaway New Jersey U.S.A.
Songs of Love Foundation
108-18 Queens Blvd Forest Hills, New York United States of America

Songs of Love Foundation Bait and Switch, takes $1500 cars and only gets a $100 of value for the kids Forest Hills, New York

*Author of original report: Update

*Author of original report: response

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Response from the President of Songs of Love

*Author of original report: Facts related to Songs of Love email correspondance

*UPDATE Employee: Songs of Love Rebuttal

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Service rep who answers phones is over-eager to get cars donated to them to the point that they will refrain from providing the potential donator some critical info!  My $1500-$1800 car was sold for scrap metal thanks to the charity not bothering to take the time to get anywhere close to real value for it.  They don't tell you up front that they will make very little effort to get value and hence totally wipe out any tax deduction you would get and gives the kids they represent 10% of what they should have gotten!

When presented with my complaint, instead of going into detail on why they go so little for the car and ignored some of its value, all they kept repeating is that this is for the kids, a total cop out reply that skirted the issue and made me think they were hiding something.  I have asked for exact details on when they sold the car, to whom and for what price and they refuse to provide it.

Total bait and switch organization, I would never donate a vehicle to them again. 

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/09/2009 03:56 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/songs-of-love-foundation/forest-hills-new-york-11375/songs-of-love-foundation-bait-and-switch-takes-1500-cars-and-only-gets-a-100-of-value-521710. 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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3Author 1Consumer 1Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report


AUTHOR: E-vendor - (U.S.A.)

I would like to make one correction, it is true that songsonlove is reporting that they received $175 for this vehicle, not $100 as shown in my heading. My goal is to report facts and I am happy to make corrections no matter how small they may be.

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#2 Author of original report


AUTHOR: E-vendor - (U.S.A.)

John from Songsoflove took the time to contact me to discuss this matter despite his very busy schedule.  He is clearly passionate about this charity and it appears he took this opportunity to learn about opportunities to communicate better and some possible tweaks to internal processes.  I commend John for taking the time to reach out to me as it shows he cares about his charity.
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#3 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Response from the President of Songs of Love

AUTHOR: John Beltzer - (United States of America)

I am the President and Founder of the Songs of Love Foundation, John Beltzer, and I want to re-emphasize that we pride ourselves in our honesty and transparency and that this particular transaction was handled in accordance to DMV and IRS laws pertaining to car donations. Unlike some other car donation programs, we abide by the law and when you call Songs of Love to donate your car you are dealing DIRECTLY with our charity and NOT a middle man. What the donor claims here is completely inaccurate and I am ready to stake my personal reputation on it. At this point this donor understands that further misleading postings could be doing damage to a perfectilly legitimate charity that has helped over 20,000 sick and dying children for the past 14 years with their very own personalized songs, free of charge. I invite all of you to check out our charity for yourselves at www.songsoflove.org. It would only be in the best interest of Songs of Love to get as much money as possible for a car donation because it would bring in more money to the charity and the donor would get a higher tax write-off. In this particular case, the donor's car only had value as a scrap car and could not be auctioned off. It's the nature of what car donation programs are all about. Some can be sold at auction and most get sold off for the scrap metal value and the donor can only deduct $500 in that case.
We have ample documentation to clearly demonstrate that what this donor alleges is totally inaccurate. We are available to anyone wishing to investigate this matter further. There will be no further postings pertaining to this as I believe we have stated our case.
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#4 Author of original report

Facts related to Songs of Love email correspondance

AUTHOR: E-vendor - (U.S.A.)

I am the complainer and I would like to clarify some of the lies the employee has posted here.  At no point were ANY of the details listed here regarding the valuation of the vehicle discussed.  I was only told it was sold for scrap metal with no proof offered to me, no bill of sale detail, no listing of who bought it.  There was never mention of any concern about rotors in any discussion we had.  This employee will not be able to produce any such emails relating to these details as no such emails exist.  It is all lies.

Also, the vehicle was 17 years old(not 19 as the non-detailed oriented employee reports here), simple math shows 1992 to 2009 is 17 years.  The employee also failed to mention that the vehicle had an engine that had only 80,000 miles so the 230,000 miles are irrelevant.  I told the sales rep on my initial call with them that I can provide the mechanic paperwork showing the engine was replaced at 150,000 miles and I explained that I expected the value of the vehicle would consider this.  It was at that time they should have explained to me that they would make no attempts to get full value for this relatively new engine.  As you can see from the employee response, they are still ignoring this fact.  Also, the body was in fair to excellent shape with no rust.  I have pics of the interior and exterior still available.

In summary, similar to what I have experienced throughout this process, Songsoflove likes to spend lots of time with smoke and mirrors and spends very little time accurately speaking to the facts of this matter.  This is my direct experience with them and the facts are as I have presented.  It is shameful that they threw away an engine with only 80,000 miles on it and got inadequate value for the kids from this car(if that is in fact what happened here).  I will never know as they refuse to provide any paperwork related to this transaction.

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#5 UPDATE Employee

Songs of Love Rebuttal

AUTHOR: songsoflove - (United States of America)

Please accept our apologies for this lengthy response, as a legitimate charity being falsely accused in a rip-off report, we feel the need to be extremely transparent and detailed in this response.  Please read through it and feel free to contact us with any additional questions, toll-free at: 888-909-7664


Facts about the organization: The Songs of Love Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization that creates personalized songs for seriously ill children nationwide.  Our unique therapeutic work is used in over 350 hospitals nationwide and has been provided free of charge to over 20,000 children.  Our work has been featured in major media including 60 Minutes, ABC World News Tonight and the Today Show.  In order to have a source of sustainable funding, we began a vehicle donation program in December 2001 and have since been able to expand our services exponentially.  In our most recent fiscal year over seventy-eight percent of funds were utilized for programmatic expenses, with only twenty-two percent for administrative and fundraising.  This is well within IRS guidelines and due to this our efficiency we have been awarded The Independent Charities Seal of Excellence, which is provided to less then one percent of all charities nationwide.


Our vehicle donation program: Songs of Love maintains an in-house fundraising source, which complies 100% with all IRS and DMV guidelines.  As required by New York State law, Songs of Love is licensed as a Wholesale Vehicle Dealer, which allows us to transfer ownership of every donated vehicle to our organizations name, relieving the donor of any and all liability for their donated vehicle. 


Regarding IRS regulations, Songs of Love complies 100% with IRS guidelines put into effect over five years ago (January 2005), which reduced the amount of deduction a donor may take for a vehicle donation.  Per IRS guidelines, in most circumstances a donors tax deduction is limited to $500, or the gross proceeds of the sale of the vehicle, whichever amount is higher.  Please note the IRS expressly prohibits use of valuation guides, such as the Kelly Blue Book as they consider these values to be unrealistic to the actual valuation of a donated vehicle. When revising the regulations, the IRS stipulated that in the rare circumstances when a donor may deduct the fair market value for their donation, it must be based on a Private Party Value.  Additionally, even the Kelly Blue Book website states regarding the Retail Value:


Kelley Blue Book Suggested Retail Value is representative of dealers' asking prices for a used car, and the starting point for negotiation between a consumer and a dealerThe final sale price will likely be less depending on the vehicle's actual condition, popularity, type of warranty offered and local market conditions.


IRS publication 4303, detailing these laws are available as a PDF download on the main page of our vehicle donation website; additionally, the regulations are listed in the Frequently Asked Questions portion of our website and are available by speaking to one of our representative's and inquiring as to what the regulations are.


Regarding our procedure for evaluating vehicles and this specific complaint:  Songs of Love evaluates each vehicle donated to our charity based on condition of the donated vehicle and market conditions to determine the most beneficial use to our organization.  For the last year we have complete statistics (2008) forty-six percent of donors received a valuation above the minimum $500 threshold.  This is due to the fact that we strive in every way possible to maximize a donors generous contribution through utilizing public auctions, online auctions and even international auctions to expand the possible buyer base for these vehicles.  When cost effective, we contract with vendors to repair vehicles at wholesale prices so that we can maximize the resale value and have taken the time and effort to replace everything from starters to engines and transmissions.  We would not spend our time and resources doing this if we did not attempt to maximize every donation. Please note however, that there are instances when a donated vehicle simply does not have a high enough resale value to overcome the costs of repair, and thus is resold to a scrap processor to raise the highest possible proceed. 


Regarding this individuals specific complaint, this report misrepresents our email correspondence in which the donor was told exactly how much the vehicle was sold for (significantly higher then he claims in the title) and to whom and the reasoning behind our decision.  This correspondence concluded on November 4th, 2009 five full days before this report was filed.


Please note the specific considerations taken into account when evaluating this vehicle: the individual donated a 19 year old Jeep Cherokee with 230,000 miles on it and an outstanding vehicle recall for the brake rotors that he never bothered to fix.  The individual quotes the Kelly Blue Book for his estimate of the vehicles value, yet as noted above the IRS does not recognize this as a legitimate value, and even Kelly Blue Book states that less then 5 percent of all vehicle meet the Excellent criteria that the donor used to calculate the $1500-$1800 value stated in the complaint.  Per their guidelines, his vehicle, which was unsafe to drive (open recall for brake rotors) would certainly not be in excellent condition and at best would be the criteria for fair condition:

  •  Some mechanical or cosmetic defects and needs

    servicing but is still in reasonable running condition.
  • Clean title

    history, the paint, body and/or interior need work performed by a



Thus, if we use the Kelly Blue Book Private Party Value to establish a baseline figure for a possible value for this 1992 Jeep Cherokee Laredo in Fair condition, we are left with a maximum value of $950. After evaluating the cost of towing the vehicle twice to have the recall corrected, replacing the vehicles dead battery and then processing the vehicle through auction, the cost of auctioning the car would in all likelihood exceed the profit generated, causing our charity to lose money on this donation.  This was the reasoning behind selling the vehicle to a scrap processor, so we could raise a large enough proceed to write a song of love for a child in need.  Again, all of this information was provided to the donor in our email correspondence on November 4th, 2009several days before he filed this misleading report.


We will be more then happy to elaborate if anybody still has reservations about donating to us.  We pride ourselves on our transparency.


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