AG Cooper stops two "work from home" companies
Release date: 5/16/2007
StoresOnline, iMergent barred from business in NC, must pay refunds
Raleigh: Two Delaware companies that promised to help consumers set up online businesses have agreed to stop doing business in North Carolina and to provide full refunds for North Carolina consumers who file complaints with the Attorney General’s Office, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced today.
“These companies marketed their products as an easy way to make an extra buck,” said Cooper. “But in fact, most consumers paid a lot of money up front and got very little in return.”
Wake County Superior Court Judge Michael Morgan signed off on an order late Tuesday that bans iMergent, Inc and StoresOnline, Inc from selling or marketing products and services in North Carolina until Cooper’s complaint is resolved in court. The order also requires the companies to provide refunds to North Carolina consumers who complain to the Attorney General’s office. Cooper is asking the court to permanently bar these companies from unfair and deceptive business practices in North Carolina and to require them to pay $5,000 per violation.
According to Cooper’s complaint, iMergent and StoresOnline failed to comply with North Carolina’s law for business opportunities and misrepresented their Internet products and services as being easy to use for consumers with little or no computer experience. He also alleges they failed to provide consumers with the proper written notice of their three-day right to cancel as required by law for sales made off premises, such as at workshops.
The companies claimed they would help people choose a product to sell on the Internet, set up an online “storefront” and market the product. In mailings, they claimed that previous customers were making thousands of dollars a month and as much as $280,000 a year with businesses started through iMergent and StoresOnline.
Since 2002, iMergent and StoresOnline have held several workshops to pitch their services in North Carolina, including workshops in Charlotte, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Fayetteville, Wilmington and Asheville. At the workshops, the companies urged consumers to sign up for the service, at a cost of $2,700 for three websites or $5,900 for six plus a monthly hosting fee of $24.95 per website.
Cooper’s office has heard from more than a dozen consumers about the bad practices of iMergent and StoresOnline since 2002. The Better Business Bureau has received more than 400 complaints about these companies from across the country in the last three years.
“Be skeptical of anyone who promises that you can make a lot of money with very little work,” said Cooper. “Before you buy into any business opportunity, check them out with my office.”
Consumers can contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.