DENVER (CBS4) – So many people are desperate to make money. A CBS4 viewer told us about an invitation that shows up in the mail.
It’s for a seminar about starting an online business, and the invitation makes it sound so simple.
CBS4 Consumer Investigator Jodi Brooks looked into the company behind the invite and found there’s a lot more to it when it comes to starting an online business.
How to start an online business? That’s what 180 people wanted to know when they showed up to an Internet marketing seminar held at the Double Tree Hotel in Westminster this month.
Michael Donnelly attended the all-day seminar and said it was “very illuminating.” When asked by CBS4 Consumer Investigator Jodi Brooks if he invested he said he did. He said he spent $5900 for internet tools to expand his business.
The company holding the seminar was Stores Online.
Donnelly said he researched the company and “ didn’t find any negatives.” He asked Jodi Brooks if she found any negatives. She said “yes,” and Donnelly responded, “Uh oh.”
CBS4 went to the seminar with a hidden camera. Once inside we had to sign a waiver that said no recording devices were allowed. So we turned the camera off.
Marty Johnson was a guest at the seminar. He said, “They presented it in a way that today was the only day that you could spend $6,000. Otherwise it’s $12,000.”
Stores Online, based in Utah, has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau and nearly 800 complaints over the last three years. Nearly a third of those complaints involve sales practices. Nine Attorney’s General have also sued the company.
After the seminar Brooks spoke with the man in charge. He said he was “very aware” of the BBB report and referred Brooks to Jeff Korn, Stores Online Chief Legal Officer.
Jeff Korn was reached by phone and said, “while that’s a lot of complaints and you compare it to perhaps over a million people who we touched during that time period — that’s probably a customer service record most companies would be proud of.”
According to the BBB, in January 2009, Stores Online was going to change the way they sold their product, including discontinuing seminars. When asked about that, Jeff Korn said, “they never said we were going to discontinue seminars. They did say we were going to change the manner in the way the product was delivered.”
Korn added, “There was some misunderstanding on the Better Business Bureau side as to what that meant.”
The BBB doesn’t think so.
Dale Mingilton is the President and CEO of the Denver/Boulder BBB. He said, “Our biggest recommendation is don’t go. If you see this business name, don’t go. There’s problems.”
Clay Roberts spent $6000 in 2008 with Stores Online. He said, “I’m not getting rich on it.”
His web based business is GPS dog collar tracking.
Roberts said, “they did make it sound like it’s really easy to put together a website. That it’s really easy to get out there and make money. But it’s not really easy.”
Roberts does admit he is happy with his experience with Stores Online.
As for Michael Donnelly, the seminar guest who paid the money, he said “they told us we had 3 days to get our money back.”
And even though refunds or exchange issues are a common complaint with Stores Online, Michael Donnelly did ask for his money back and says he received it.
The Colorado Attorney General’s Office has not been part of any litigation involving Stores Online. It is not policy for the AG’s office to comment on whether or not it is investigating a company.
The AG’s office does say if you have a complaint against Stores Online or any company, to file a complaint with its office.