Nationwide scam found headquartered in Southeast Memphis - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Nationwide scam found headquartered in Southeast Memphis

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The Action News 5 Investigators learned that Thursday, the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South will issue its second alert in eight months about Opportunity Sales, Inc. The Action News 5 Investigators learned that Thursday, the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South will issue its second alert in eight months about Opportunity Sales, Inc.
In the last week, both the bureau and The Action News 5 Investigators have received more complaints about the company's solicitations. In the last week, both the bureau and The Action News 5 Investigators have received more complaints about the company's solicitations.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC TV) - A scam that has generated consumer complaints in as many as 15 states is headquartered inside a $1/2 million home in Southeast Memphis.

The Action News 5 Investigators learned that Thursday, the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South will issue its second alert in eight months about Opportunity Sales, Inc., 5080 Le Chateau Cv.

According to the bureau, Opportunity Sales, Inc., hires teenagers and young adults to sell books and magazine subscriptions door-to-door nationwide. Its BBB record and original alert in September indicate the company has generated 43 complaints in the last three years in 15 states (adjusted from 14 in the record), alleging "high pressure sales tactics" and products/subscriptions "...that were never delivered."

In the last week, both the bureau and The Action News 5 Investigators have received more complaints about the company's solicitations.

Stephanie Smith of Eads, TN, said her family bought a set of books from an Opportunity Sales, Inc., solicitor. She said the solicitor, a teenage boy, said the books could be arranged to be donated to the Boys and Girls Club of his home state of Ohio -- and he would earn a percentage of the sale. 

Smith said her husband wrote an $195 check for several religious books to be donated. They were never delivered. She said her husband canceled the check after learning about the company's history.

Eric Howard of Memphis said a teenage representative of Opportunity Sales, Inc., approached him while he was mowing his lawn. 

"He was very polite and explained to me (Opportunity Sales, Inc.) helps underprivileged people raise money for college by selling the magazines and books," Howard wrote in an e-mail to The Action News 5 Investigators. "He was very convincing, so I ordered a few children's books for my 3-year-old daughter. 

"He said they would show up in ten days. A month later, nothing."

"It's a typical door-to-door magazine sales scam," said Nancy Crawford, communications director for the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South. "We've had complaints that said the receipts that they had received didn't even have the delivery address on them, so how could the company have ever sent them anything?"

We visited the home, nestled inside a manicured gated community in Southeast Memphis. Property records indicate it is owned by Robert L. Jackson, listed by the BBB as one of Opportunity Sales, Inc.'s principals.

No one answered the door. Jennifer Smith, listed in the bureau's records as the customer service contact for Opportunity Sales, Inc., answered when we called the company's phone number.

The number carried a Gary, IN, area code, matching a white van in the driveway that sported an Indiana plate.

"I can't answer any questions over the phone," said Smith. "You will have to put them in writing and mail them in."

An unidentified woman pulling out of the driveway in a vehicle with a Tennessee/Shelby County tag was also evasive.

"I'm not affiliated with them, but I know who they are," she said, refusing to answer any more questions.

The BBB shared these guidelines regarding door-to-door solicitations:

*Be wary of high pressure sales pitches that use emotion to sell their products.

*Practice your refusal script prior to opening your door to a salesperson. Saying, "I never make those decisions without consulting my husband/son/sister" may be enough to send the salesperson on to the next house.

*Always research the company with your Better Business Bureau at bbb.org - or m.bbb.org on your smart phone - before writing a check for a magazine subscription. 

*The Federal Trade Commission's Three-Day Cooling-Off Rule gives the customer three days to cancel purchases over $25 that are made in their home or at a location that is not the seller's permanent place of business.

* Victims of fraudulent magazine sales can file complaints with the BBB, their local law enforcement and their state's attorney general's office.

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