Better Business Bureau of North Alabama (BBB) is advising local businesses to be alert to potential sales calls from Progressive Business Publications, a Malvern, PA based company that has been named in more than 2,400 complaints filed through BBB during the past three years. Several North Alabama companies have been among those who have filed complaints.
BBB records show that most complainants allege they are falsely signed up for business newsletters by Progressive Business Publications and then invoiced for hundred sof dollars for the unauthorized subscriptions. Many of these complainants also allege that they are then contacted by International Credit Recovery,a Vestal, NY based company, who attempts to collect for unpaid subscriptions.
Some complainants said Progressive Business Publications offered them what were marketed as free publications, only to bill them later when the businesses did not cancel the mailings. Others indicate that they began receiving newsletters from Progressive Business Publications, and soon after a bill, yet they didn’t recall ever receiving a marketing call from the company.
Both Progressive Business Publications and International Credit Recovery have earned “F” ratings from their respective BBBs, the lowest possible rating assigned by BBBs. BBB serving Washington DC and Eastern Pennsylvania is currently reporting that 2,431 complaints have been filed regarding Progressive Business Publications through their BBB in the past three years. Their report shares the following information:
“While this company responds to customer complaints presented to it by this Bureau, this company's business performance record demonstrates a pattern of customer complaints alleging billing for unordered merchandise. Some consumers have claimed that they cancelled subscriptions but their cancellations were not honored. Progressive Business Publications responded to the BBB concerning the company's unsatisfactory business performance report.
The company sells its publications through telemarketing solicitations. It claims that it tape records telephone solicitations for quality control purposes. The company states that it obtains the ordering person's birth date to verify the order at a later date. According to the company's correspondence, orders are confirmed by fax within 24 hours, giving the orderer an opportunity to respond.
The company claims it has a liberal cancellation policy permitting the customer to cancel anytime within the first three months of the telephone order and receiving are fund on all unsent issues. New subscribers receive two free issues with the right to cancel according to the company. The company claims that its BBB complaint volume is negligible compared to its volume of business.”
BBB serving Upstate New York reports that their office has received 899 complaints regarding International Credit Recovery in the past three years. The company has failed to respond to 68 of these complaints and an additional 17 complaints were closed as unresolved. Of the 899 complaints, 499 were marked as being “serious” by BBB serving Upstate New York.
Your BBB offers the following advice toconsumers and businesses receiving phone solicitations:
· Find out who iscalling. If you have any question about who is phoning you, hang up andcall back after researching the company’s number.
· Be wary of givingany personal or business information to strangers. Such informationmay be used later as evidence that you agreed to a purchase.
· Be cautious aboutaccepting free or trial offers. Some businesses may distribute theirproduct at no cost for a short time, but then charge you unless you follow veryspecific cancellation instructions.
· If you feel youhave been charged for a product you have not ordered, call the companyimmediately to make your case. If that does not work, you can file a complaintwith your BBB, the Alabama Attorney General and/or the FederalTrade Commission.
· If you believe youhave been the victim of unethical debt collection practices, report theinformation to BBB and the Federal Trade Commission. Under the Fair DebtCollection Practices Act, debt collectors are required to meet specificstandards when attempting to collect debts from consumers.