US judge freezes Alberta marketer’s assets
BBB offers tips to help consumers avoid online scams
Edmonton, AB (Sept 14, 2011): A United States judge has frozen the assets of Edmonton-area internet marketer, Jesse Willms and ordered him to change the way he does business. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleges that Jesse Willms and his companies made over $450 million from thousands of consumers using deceptive marketing tactics and negative option billing.
The FTC action claims that consumers were lured by risk-free and trial offers for a variety of products including health, beauty and penny auctions. After signing up consumers received monthly credit card bills or high lump sum charges. Consumers were also required to follow a complicated cancellation process to stop future charges.
“Since 2008, BBB has received over 4,000 complaints about this individual and his companies,” said Ron Mycholuk, Community Consultant for BBB serving Central and Northern Alberta. “When a pattern of complaints is identified, BBB may contact the appropriate agencies, including the FTC and the Competition Bureau.”
Negative option billing occurs when consumers are required to opt-out of something instead of opting-in. When consumers fail to opt-out, they often receive recurring charges. Consumers are often unaware of these charges and risk reaching their credit card limits or being unable to pay other bills.
To help future consumers avoid being scammed by online offers, BBB offers the following tips:
· Read all terms and conditions. Review the information to determine exactly what you’re paying for and how much it will cost. Also, confirm any return, exchange and cancellation policies prior to purchase.
· Read your credit card statements. This helps consumers address unknown or unauthorized charges right away.
· Research the company you’re buying from. Visit edmonton.bbb.org or search online to see what others are saying about the company, its products and its services.
Jesse Willms is scheduled for trial in the U.S. in July 2012.
For more tips on purchasing online, visit edmonton.bbb.org or contact your BBB at (780) 482-2341.
Consumer tips and media releases, from BBB of Central and Northern Alberta, can also be found on our Homepage, Blog and News Centre. Please feel free to subscribe to our RSS feed to receive BBB news at your computer. We also have a Facebook Fan Page and you can follow us on Twitter.
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As the leader in advancing marketplace trust, Better Business Bureau of Central and Northern Alberta is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Every year, more than 65 million consumers rely on BBB Business Reviews to help them find trustworthy businesses across North America. Visit edmonton.bbb.org for more information.
For media inquiries please contact:
Ron Mycholuk, Community Consultant
BBB® Serving Central and Northern Alberta
Phone: (780) 488-6632 Ext. 232 Toll Free: 1 (800) 232-7298