The Better Business Bureau (BBB) urges consumers not to do business with All Four One, or All 4 One, which lists an address in Gary, Ind., but has used phone numbers in Indiana and in the St. Louis area. Its website and sales tactics are virtually identical to two other door-to-door operations that have been taking money in recent months for books and magazine subscriptions that were never received.
In many of the BBB complaints, consumers say the salespeople who came to their homes used personal stories of struggle and tragedy to make plays for sympathy and get the consumers to order magazines.
All Four One has an “F” grade with the BBB, the lowest grade possible. Despite claiming an Indiana address, All Four One does not appear to be registered in that state.
Printed material used on the website of All Four One – www.all4oneinc.net – is an almost exact copy of the material used on the websites for two other notorious door-to-door magazine businesses, Strickly Business 1 of Missouri City, Tex., and Urban One, or Urban1, which lists a St. Louis address. Combined, Strickly Business 1 and Urban One have logged more than 300 complaints with the BBB since early 2011.
According to the BBB there is growing evidence that the phony companies are part of an extensive, organized network of thieves. These so-called businesses have schemed and scammed their way into hundreds of homes, using lies and deception to steal consumers’ money. “
The BBB has closed more than 50 complaints against All Four One in recent months. The All Four One website lists Alan Mullins as a company contact, with a northwest Indiana phone number. Calls to that number were not returned.
The BBB noted that the Hazel Crest, Ill., address used to register Urban One’s website was the same address used by yet another magazine sales business, Midwest Clearing Inc. of Hazel Crest, Ill., which has logged more than 400 complaints.
BBB complaints involving All Four One have come from 12 mostly Midwestern states. Losses range from $39 to $591. Fourteen complaints are from Ohio, 10 from Missouri, seven from Indiana and five from Illinois.
A man from St. Charles, Mo., said he bought subscriptions from two young women who came to his home last August, claiming to represent All Four One. He said magazines ordered from one of the women ultimately were delivered, but the other subscriptions – for which he paid $184 have never arrived. He said the women told him they were selling the subscriptions to help pay for education and to improve their lives. “It was against my better judgment, but I bought the magazines anyway,” he said.
A woman from University City, Mo., said she stopped payment on a $72 check to All Four One after having second thoughts. She described the salesman as “disarming in his friendliness.” The man initially convinced her that he was using the job to escape a difficult past.
An Indianapolis woman said she lost $101 to All Four One after agreeing to purchase a cookbook and a magazine subscription. She said she spoke by phone with a man who identified himself as Eric Thompson at the St. Louis area phone number. He promised to look into the matter, she said, but she never received her order.
The BBB offers the following advice for persons approached by door-to-door salespeople:
· Check for a BBB Business Review by going to www.bbb.org
· Remember that you are under no obligation to interact with a salesperson that comes to your home. If you feel at all threatened, contact police immediately.
· Do not invite a stranger into your home unless you have made prior arrangements to meet with him or her.
· Many communities require a special soliciting permit for companies selling door-to-door. Before buying anything, ask to see a copy of a permit, as well as any personal identification. Take down that information in the event there is a problem later.
· Do not be taken in by sad stories, pleas to help a student or organization or by solicitors claiming they are raising money for charities, unless you know the claims are true.
· If you do decide to buy, pay with a credit card in case you need to challenge the purchase later.
The BBB of Acadiana works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses. Please contact the BBB at www.acadiana.bbb.org or (337) 981-3497 24 hours a day for information on businesses throughout North America.
The BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.
Acadiana residents can now have BBB information in the palm of their hand with the official BBB Search app, a convenient, mobile BBB solution available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The app can be found at: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bbb-search-find-local-businesses/id440014505?mt=8.