Victim Location 92071
Total money lost $1,100
Type of a scam Other
I was contacted via phone by Brad Engle with "The Menu" to advertise in a local Deli. It’s a very busy popular Deli with indoor seating & a large magazine type menu. I met with him and I was offered a full page ad for 18 months and also as a bonus, to be advertised in the "Best of Hillcrest & East County" (a free magazine style publication) & also in "The Best of North County" (also a free publication) for a cost of $1040.00 total. I paid $199.00 upfront for the set up fee. Then it was $181.33 starting Oct. 2017. Tricia from the Corporate office contacted me 10/17/17 and offered me a discount if I paid in full right then. So, I paid an additional $900.00 via a credit card. Between August 1, & Oct. 2017 I had to get a hold of the art dept. for my ad. The first publication was due out in Oct. I gave them my ad, they sent a proof, after some frustrating back & forth to get the ad right, I approved it & my advertising was completed. Here’s the problem. No actual advertising occurred as contracted. Unannounced to me, the Deli quit doing the magazine style menu just as I signed on. They went to a simple tri fold take out style menu, no advertising allowed. I just found this out, when I tried to update my ad (major headache, since they don’t have a real art dept.) I went to the deli to see the current one and found out they don’t even have the menu’s promised and haven’t for at least 10 mos. the girl said. So, my $1,100.00 advertisement never happened!!! The bonus (bogus) magazines are supposed to be distributed throughout Hillcrest area and North county. I’ve looked for almost a year and have never found a copy of either publication. When I called and asked in Jan. 2018, (to ease my concern)…they mailed me a copy of each publication showing my advertisement inside and said, all distributions must have been picked up already when I went to the designated sites. All lies, LIES & a big scam!! They print enough of these to mail to the clients and that is it. There is no distribution of the publication. There are no advertisements in Menu’s. I’ve now spoken to a few other advertisers with the same worry/concern and outcome I have. One lady has hired an attorney. I believe they got her for double. I have attached pictures of the Ad’s (that never were) and the billing/contract. They have several bad reviews on Yelp that I just discovered. They have several different company names as they have to shut down and start with a new company name with the Scam catches up to them. I have called them several times now and will not be transferred to a "manager". I have requested a refund. Tricia is still there and rude when you ask simple questions, like…please confirm your address. She responds with "l’ll let Marty give that to you" There is Marty, the Art/Distribution Manager, Tricia – New Accounts, Mikki- Art Coordinator and Sonja – Operator at front desk. Their "Corporate" address is a UPS box, same for the Art Dept. Address…a UPS box. in Canoga Park, CA. Please advise what needs to be done to shut their doors permanently. Thank you. *** ***
Victim Location 92253
Total money lost $368
Type of a scam Counterfeit Product
This company wanted to sell me advertising. They used a bait and switch tactic: the salesman represented himself as belonging to "Your Healthy Lifestyle" magazine, the prospective venue for running my ad. After a long discussion about the ad I’d run, the corresponding article I would write for this publication and the fees, I agreed. Then, he told me, as an aside, that, in addition to this ad, my ad would also be on a certain restaurant’s menu. I said I didn’t want that, but he assured me it was "thrown in" with the magazine ad.
In short, there was no ad in the magazine; the company told me, when I asked where my ad was, that it was only on the menu at the restaurant. However, when I went to the restaurant to check it out, there were NO ads on the menu at all. This ad did not exist.
The company billed me for the ad. I sent them a letter outlining the original agreement and demanding my money back or the correct ad placement. It was ignored. They continued to bill me. I ignored the bills.
They took money out of my checking account without authorization.
I took that matter to the bank, who investigated and reversed the charges.
On the exact same day the charges were reversed, this same company, under a different business name, wrote a fraudulent check drawn on my account.