Numerous calls from consumers have alerted Hawaii’s Better Business Bureau® (BBB) of a non-transparent offer making the rounds throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Consumers are receiving a deceptive solicitation which includes an “energy rebate” of $5897.67, when in fact; it is an attempt to get them to listen to a sales presentation at their home.
The letter is from “Federal Credit Union” located in Scottsdale, Arizona. Calls to the local phone numbers on the vouchers are forwarded to a call center in Scottsdale Arizona. Call center representatives in Arizona advise they are National Rebate Center / Go Green Energy, which represent Federal & State tax rebates.
The call center representatives make appointments for home assessment by a company representative at consumer's residence, supposedly to find areas to save on energy. Before making appointments, call center representatives ask a series of qualifying questions to consumers.
When Hawaii’s BBB asked about the Energy Rebate Program voucher, the call center representative explained that the voucher simply shows the amount one can expect to save through rebates and energy savings. Hawaii residents have reported that when they declined the home assessment appointments, call center representatives asked if they would be interested in a free Caribbean Cruise instead.
As of 7/15/13, Hawaii's BBB has been unable to verify that this company has any physical presence in Hawaii through the State of Hawaii's business registration records or general excise tax license records, both of which are generally required to operate a business in Hawaii.
Further investigation has revealed the this company is associated with the company “Travel Union” Also Known as “American Travel Deals” located in Scottsdale Arizona. This company holds a BBB rating of “F” due in part to failing to answer 45 of 87 complaints against the business.
“Not employing ethical marketing practices may lead to dissatisfied customers, lost business and a loss of trust with the public” Says, Gregory D. Dunn, CEO of Hawaii’s BBB. “We find that when an organization behaves ethically, customers develop more positive attitudes about the business, its products, and its services”
Hawaii’s BBB offers the following tips to consumers when dealing with unsolicited offers:
- Ask detailed questions. Including if your information will be shared or sold.
- Be wary of "great deals" and low-priced offers.
- Get all information in writing before you agree to buy.
- Don’t be pressured into buying.
· Before you contact any suspicious companies, do your research and check with the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org.
Established in 1945, the Better Business Bureau® of Hawaii (BBB) is a nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest marketplace behavior. BBB provides objective advice, free business and charity reports, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses