|BBB Warns Local Consumers: Don’t Fall for Government Grant Ploy|
The Mountain States BBB is receiving ten to twelve calls per day from consumers who have been contacted by a company offering them “free” government grant money.
Consumer Grants USA, which also operates under twenty or more other names, calls local residents with an enticing promise of free grant money. Consumers are told that they are “approved for a grant from the federal government” in amounts that range from $8,000 to $30,000. They are frequently told that they “qualify” for the grant because they paid their taxes, or because they are senior citizens.
What’s the catch? Once the consumer is hooked, the telemarketer on the other end of the line requests their bank account information in order to deduct a “fee” of $199.00 to $249.00. If the consumer does receive anything, it is a publication titled “Government Grant Information Guide” that tells them how and where to apply for government grants. This information is available to consumers for free from public sources.
The Better Business Bureau of West Florida (www.bbbwestflorida.org) has an unsatisfactory report for Consumer Grants USA, due to unanswered complaints and a pattern of complaints. In the past 12 months the Florida BBB has processed 420 complaints against this company, 309 of which relate to selling practices. The Consumer Grants USA report is accessible under 20 different names and 10 different phone numbers on either the West Florida BBB Website or the national BBB site, www.bbb.org.
On November 9, 2004, the Florida Attorney General’s Office filed a six-count action against the company, alleging violations of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. Prior to this action, both the North Dakota and Ohio Attorney General’s offices have filed actions against the company. The information about these actions is part of the BBB report on Consumer Grants USA.
Pam King, President of the Mountain States BBB encourages consumers to protect themselves from unethical business practices:
Shop smart. Use the free services of your Better Business Bureau to identify ethical and unethical companies before you buy. In Weld County call 686-0245 or visit www.mountainstates.bbb.org. It’s just good business.