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A Consumer Warning: Graduation Gifts That Never Arrive - 06/05/19

                                                  BBB Gives Online Florist an ‘F’ Rating for Pattern of Complaints

Eugene, OR – Graduation season is here and sending flowers to your graduate can be a great way to celebrate when you can’t be there in person. But Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific is warning consumers about a growing number of complaints against one online florist.

Troys Florist , based out of New Jersey, operates the website, http://www.troysflorist.com. The company pays to boost its presence in online searches across the country making it appear to be a local florist. BBB consumer complaints indicate they were billed for flowers that never arrived.

Emily Keizer of Florence, Oregon filed a complaint with BBB after ordering flowers for her grandparents’ anniversary.

“I was rushing to get something sent and made the mistake of clicking on the first mobile link that looked okay,” she said.

Keizer adds, as a millennial, she should be savvy to online scams, so if she was tricked, “there are probably lots of people out there who didn’t even realize their flowers were never delivered.”

BBB has received 191 complaints against Troys Florist, reporting the company delivered incorrect arrangements, charged for flowers that never arrived and did not honor refunds. The company has failed to respond to BBB.

“It’s always a good idea to use bbb.org to research online companies before doing business with them,” advises Dawn Johnson, Better Business Bureau Northwest +Pacific Spokesperson.

Here are a few additional steps you can take to help protect yourself online.

  • Shop with a credit card. In case of fraud, a credit card provides additional protections.
  • Keep documentation of your order. Save confirmation email until item is received.
  • Keep a clean machine. Install a firewall and anti-virus software. Run virus scans regularly on smart devices.

About BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has helped people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2017, people turned to BBB more than 160 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at www.bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Northwest + Pacific, which serves more than 15 million consumers across Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Hawaii and Western Wyoming.

A Consumer Warning: Graduation Gifts That Never Arrive - 06/05/19

                                                 BBB Gives Online Florist an ‘F’ Rating for Pattern of Complaints

Eugene, OR – Graduation season is here and sending flowers to your graduate can be a great way to celebrate when you can’t be there in person. But Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific is warning consumers about a growing number of complaints against one online florist.

Troys Florist , based out of New Jersey, operates the website, http://www.troysflorist.com. The company pays to boost its presence in online searches across the country making it appear to be a local florist. BBB consumer complaints indicate they were billed for flowers that never arrived.

Emily Keizer of Florence, Oregon filed a complaint with BBB after ordering flowers for her grandparents’ anniversary.

“I was rushing to get something sent and made the mistake of clicking on the first mobile link that looked okay,” she said.

Keizer adds, as a millennial, she should be savvy to online scams, so if she was tricked, “there are probably lots of people out there who didn’t even realize their flowers were never delivered.”

BBB has received 191 complaints against Troys Florist, reporting the company delivered incorrect arrangements, charged for flowers that never arrived and did not honor refunds. The company has failed to respond to BBB.

“It’s always a good idea to use bbb.org to research online companies before doing business with them,” advises Dawn Johnson, Better Business Bureau Northwest +Pacific Spokesperson.

Here are a few additional steps you can take to help protect yourself online.

  • Shop with a credit card. In case of fraud, a credit card provides additional protections.
  • Keep documentation of your order. Save confirmation email until item is received.
  • Keep a clean machine. Install a firewall and anti-virus software. Run virus scans regularly on smart devices.

About BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has helped people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2017, people turned to BBB more than 160 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at www.bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Northwest + Pacific, which serves more than 15 million consumers across Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Hawaii and Western Wyoming.

BBB IDs Portland-Based Timeshare Scam - 05/29/19

NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific

Danielle Kane, Portland Marketplace Manager | 503-833-2301

Dawn Johnson, Eugene Marketplace Manager | 541-514-8697

Tracy Vedder, Director of Communications | 208-519-6922

 

BBB IDs Portland-based timeshare scam

Consumers report $37,000 in losses

Portland – May 29, 2019—Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific is alerting consumers to a Portland, OR-based timeshare scam operating under the name M&T Property Management. Consumers have so far lost nearly $37,000 to this company.

BBB’s investigations team found that M&T is pretending to be a timeshare resale company and has gone through great lengths to make the company and associated website seem real. However, M&T has no Escrow, real estate, property management or construction licenses within the state of Oregon. The website, which was registered on August 21, 2018, appears legitimate, advertising an array of services such as brokerage and real estate investment management. 

M&T Property Management has reinstated a former Oregon company that has since closed. BBB’s investigation team contacted the owners of this company who confirmed they never sold their business to M&T and that any associated legal documents are false.

BBB also has reason to believe this timeshare scam could be connected to a former Seattle, WA-based scam operating under the name Beach Property Management. The company is using the same contracts, similar names and the same style of language on the website.

BBB brought this issue to the attention of the Oregon Real Estate Agency on April 23, 2019. Our investigations team tried to get in touch with M&T in April 2019 but was unable to reach anyone.

Several consumers have already lost thousands of dollars to M&T Property Management. Reports allege that M&T reached out to them with what appeared to be legitimate offers from buyers looking to purchase their timeshares well above marketplace value.

One couple was contacted about their property in the Dominican Republic and they accepted the offer. “We expected a smooth and prompt closing process, but instead we were surprised and suspicious when we were advised by M&T that we must first pay a Mexican Federal SAT tax of $3,476,” this Florida-based consumer reported to BBB.

The coupled paid. A few weeks later, M&T contacted them again requesting thousands more in Mexican taxes and then even more, which M&T claimed were Escrow fees. In total, the couple paid $10,200 via wire transfer using instructions provided by M&T.

“Finally, we exercised our right to cancel the entire transition and we were advised this process would take 90 days, then later told 120 days from March 15, 2019. Communication from M&T has essentially ceased,” the consumer wrote in his report filed on April 19.

Unfortunately, this case is just one of several that BBB is aware of, with victims spanning across the U.S. and in Canada.

 If you have been or know someone who has been the victim of a timeshare scam, file a report at https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker. If you are looking to sell your timeshare, follow these tips.

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ABOUT BBB:?For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands,?and?charities they can trust. In 2017, people turned to BBB more than 160 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at?bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada,?and?Mexico, including BBB Northwest & Pacific, which serves more than 15 million consumers in Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Hawaii and Western Wyoming.

 

BBB, OR Fish & Wildlife Warn of Phony Fishing, Hunting Licenses - 05/24/19

NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific

Danielle Kane, Portland Marketplace Manager | 503-833-2301

Dawn Johnson, Eugene Marketplace Manager | 541-514-8697

Tracy Vedder, Director of Communications | 208-519-6922

Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife: Michelle Dennehy | (503) 947-6022 | Michelle.N.Dennehy@state.or.us

 

BBB, OR Fish & Wildlife Warn of Phony Fishing, Hunting Licenses

Online Scam Hooks Consumers With False Advertising 

 

Portland, OR – May 24, 2019 – For Oregon consumers looking to hunt and/or fish this season, be careful when purchasing licenses as Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific has learned of an ongoing online scam pushing out phony licenses.

Oregon Department Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) contacted BBB NW+P to share that its employees have been made aware of at least two people who recently purchased items from the website www.fishinglicense.org after searching online for an Oregon fishing license. BBB has also confirmed two Oregonians filed a complaint and Scam Tracker report against fishinglicense.org just within the last month.

This is not the first time BBB has alerted consumers to this website, but concerningly, the page is still up and running. ODFW and other state fish and wildlife agencies have been hearing about customers mistakenly buying items from this website since 2017.

“While it’s not a widespread problem, it’s unfortunate that even one person would be misled when trying to buy an Oregon fishing license,” said Linda Lytle, ODFW License Services Manager. “This is not the first time we have heard about this and it isn’t just happening in Oregon.”

Fishinglicense.org, which claims to operate out of Coeur d’Alene, ID, has no office. The company operates under the umbrella organization, “Orange Grove LLC”, which claims to help consumers with a variety of services including travel planning, registrations and drivers’ licenses

Within the last year, there have been 20 complaints regarding the company mostly related to false adverting and fraudulent sales. There have also been numerous negative reviews left on the company’s BBB profile, which has garnered an F-rating. It appears representatives for fishinglicense.org have been responding to some of the recent complaints, though BBB cannot confirm at this time whether any refunds have been issued.

BBB cautions consumers not to use any websites associated with Orange Grove LLC, including fishinglicense.org or driverslicenseonline.org. This issue has been brought to the attention of the Federal Trade Commission.

Oregon fishing or hunting licenses can be purchased via the ODFW landing page. Consumers can also purchase a license at one of the sale agents listed on the site. On the website, Oregonians will be guided to the proper licensing processes and procedures for fishing, crabbing, bird hunting and big-game hunting.

For consumers who have purchased a fake license somewhere else, head to the ODFW website for help. 

For ODFW, combating this issue is imperative to protect consumers from losing money and to prevent them from going out with improper licenses, which can lead to further problems.

“We would just like consumers to be aware of this issue and not get tricked into buying something when what they really want is an Oregon fishing, hunting or shellfish license,” said Lytle.

BBB NW+P offers the following tips for consumers to protect themselves from online scams:

  • Check a site’s security settings. If the site is secure, its URL should start with “https://” and include a lock icon on the purchase or shopping cart page
  • Shop with a credit card. In case of a fraudulent transaction, a credit card provides additional protections; it’s easier to dispute charges. Debit cards, prepaid cards or gift cards don’t have the same protections as a credit card.
  • Think before your click. Be especially cautious about email solicitations and online ads on social media sites that bring you to a website. Many sketchy retailers can easily “spoof” an existing website to appear legitimate, when really, it’s a fake page all together.

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ABOUT BBB:?For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands,?and?charities they can trust. In 2017, people turned to BBB more than 160 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at?bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada,?and?Mexico, including BBB Northwest & Pacific, which serves more than 15 million consumers in Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Hawaii and Western Wyoming.