RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A warning from the Better Business Bureau. It says an online company, called OnlineBusinessScams.com is charging for services it and other agencies offer for free. There's not much to it -- no fancy home page, just a place to log-in and some contact information. The BBB has some questions for the owner.
"It's a new offer and a new venture and on that you really need to watch," said Tom Gallagher with the Richmond BBB.
Gallagher says the company is charging consumers, in some cases, thousands of dollars to settle disputes with work-at home and business opportunity companies they've lost money with. But he says keep your cash - the BBB and other government agencies, like Consumer Affairs do the same work for free.
"We've got about 4600 companies in Central Virginia that pay dues to belong to BBB, to be an accredited business. That fee supports our work," Gallagher told us.
Consumers report they pay an up front fee and then send a letter of compliant to the company who then returns the complaint back to the person with an envelope addressed to the BBB. The BBB says it's not working with the company and doesn't subcontract its services.
"It's not only a red flag, it's not true, it's not the way we do things," Gallagher said.
OnlineBusinessscams.com is based in Phoenix, Arizona. According the BBB, it started its operation in March of 2011. It has an "F" rating -- and there are complaints from at 20 different states. Right now Virginia is not on the list.
"It's going to spread, this kind of thing is viral and it just will," he said.
The BBB has tried to contact the company but has not gotten a response. We emailed and called -- we are still waiting to hear back from them. When it comes to the complaints filed with the BBB Gallagher says many of them are resolved. He adds, regardless if a business is paying member or not, the BBB investigates all complaints the same.
"That doesn't effect the way we handle the complaints. If a company is a member or not a member or accredited or not accredited it doesn't make any difference in our process. We pay no attention to that at all," said Gallagher.
Gallagher says never pay for something you can get for free, and always know what you're getting when you pay. For more information or to contact the BBB, visit the link below.