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SCAMS
101

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Friends In Business
& Scams 101Welcome To


Assemble Crafts
(or Electronics)
at Home


 
Translation:  Send us money for supplies
and we'll tell you the many ways your work sucks.


In this lesson, I'll be highlighting one assembly "opportunity" that happens to be my personal favorite, simply because this one wants a lot more money than most.... $250 at the time of this writing.... and it's been around a very long time in many incarnations.  But the truths I'm about to tell you apply to any and ALL nationally-advertised "home assembly" income opportunities, so don't skip this article just because you never heard of it.

The name? 

TRD Systems (today).  In the past you may have known it as TRDL Electronic Group, ARDL International, ARD International or something close (or not so close).  Check 'em out and you'll find they all belong to the same man.... Erwin Koltay or Ervin Koltai or whichever skin he happens to be wearing when you read this.

Most "assembly opportunities" charge a lot less, like the one that claims the hair bows you'll be putting together with your own little hands are sold at Dollyworld. 

Now let's stop and do a little math, shall we?  (Don't panic.... we won't be using any numbers.)  I know tourist traps put high pricetags on stuff, but how much can you sell a hair bow for?  How much would you HAVE to sell a hair bow for when the simple act of putting the thing together required advertising nationally for people to do the job, shipping supplies to a remote location, providing "technical assitance" to the fumble-fingers in the group, shipping the bows back, and finally shipping them out to Dollyworld and tacking on a hefty profit, HUH?? 

What ever happened to MINIMUM WAGE?  What ever happened to AUTOMATION??  What ever happened to hiring LOCAL independent contractors and paying them a REASONABLE AMOUNT per piece?

(Enough ranting, woman!!  Start the article!!)

(Gasp!.... I'm okay now.... here we go....)

I BELIEVE EVERY NATIONALLY-ADVERTISED HOME ASSEMBLY PROGRAM IS A SCAM....

AND I BELIEVE THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS.

From whence did I derive this personal opinion?  Well, common sense should step in here....

(Golly whiz, I wish mine had stepped in before I poured nearly $1,000 into this stupid little venture.) 

Think about the real world.... far away from the fantasy world of "biz ops." How many real companies do you know that advertise all over the country for people to assemble their products and then charge them for supplies? 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think if you do a survey, you'll find that most of them assemble products in their own factory.... and for those few that do send out assembly work, you'll probably find they send it locally (where they can keep an eye on people)....

And I'll bet you money they don't charge their home-based assemblers for supplies or "buy back" the products from them.

The idea is that the company will sell the PRODUCTS for which THEY provide the materials, and THEY will reap the rewards after having paid the assemblers for their TIME and LABOR. 

One more time:....

The money should flow in ONE direction only, and that is.... FROM the customer who buys the product TO the company that makes the product using materials bought BY this company who will be keeping the profit, and FROM that company TO the assembler who asks no reward other than to be PAID for their labor.

Now you will find the occasional "opportunity" that promises to give you the supplies free.  (Little ooops here.... if you read the fine print, you'll find that's generally only after they accept a certain number of "units," which they probably won't.)

And then you'll find the occasional company that actually accepts your first shipment and sends you a paycheck.  (Another little ooops.... that rarely happens more than once.  See, when you take that first little paycheck to the bank, you'll be so excited you'll race right home and order more supplies.... LOTS more.... and voila!  They have what they were after.)

I carved tiny dollhouse pencils and strung beads and made little bitty bows 'til I nearly lost my MIND!!. 

I plucked myself bald!! 

I did it for several different companies, and I wore the little nubs right off the ends of my fingers.

And they bought it all back and I got rich, right?

Oh sure they bought all of it every last piece and now I vacation four months a year at my private villa in Rome let's move right along shall we?

PROBLEM NO. 1:

The materials are intentionally inferior.

For example, the little silver tape that wraps around the pencil doesn't have any sticky stuff on it.  The perfect sample bow has a piece of gunk underneath, holding it all together, but you're not allowed to use any gunk, so it falls apart every time you take it off the "incredible bow-maker" (which looks suspiciously like a spool with six little nails in it).  Then you paint letters on wooden calendars with a child's watercolor paintbrush.  I admit it seemed a little odd when they said any calendars painted with a different (i.e., real) paintbrush would be rejected, but they must know what they're doing....

(oh yes, they know)

The quality of the materials makes no difference whatsoever.

Why?

Because they aren't IN the business of making and selling this crap.  They never were.

They are in the business of selling the UNASSEMBLED crap to you, their Official Crap Assembler.  You will then sacrifice your last ounce of sanity turning this UNASSEMBLED crap into ASSEMBLED crap.  You'll put your little heart and soul into it.  You'll pluck your hairs out one by one.  When all your fingernails are chewed, you'll go to work on your toenails.  And before you realize something's amiss, you'll probably have tried several companies and spent your kid's college fund trying to find that ONE little item you're smart enough to make.  (Trust me, it's not easy to admit you're too stupid to carve a toy pencil.)

But such an item doesn't exist.

Now...

Could I be making all this up because I have an axe to grind? 

Sure I could.

So allow me to back up my outrageous claims with an experiment which I will address in....

PROBLEM NO. 2:

If you survive long enough to send in any of your masterpieces (which is highly unlikely), they reject them every time.

I thought it was me.  "Can't you do anything right??" I shrieked into my bathroom mirror.  (One company actually YELLED at me for doubting them, and I really felt like dirt then, because I knew their other assemblers were making good money doing this simple little job that I couldn't handle.) 

(I knew because they told me.)

(What I didn't know then is that abusing their "home workers" is a favorite tactic.... one that ensures you'll keep your mouth shut a little longer and maybe even invest some more money because you feel SO inadequate.  If you doubt me, get a load of these two discussions on my bulletin board where Mr. Koltay/Koltai himself defends his company.  [At the bottom of each page, you'll see links to the entire discussion, and I know you won't want to miss a thing!  There are 15 "Koltai" messages, and they're a real hoot!  Of course it's entirely up to you whether you want to do business with this man or not; I'm just doing my civic duty by giving him a forum in which to express himself.]:.... Complaint and James has a nose ring.)  (Like most of our links, these will open a second browser window, so you can look around all you like without getting lost; just close the window when you're ready to come back here.)

Now about that experiment I promised:

One dark night there was a special on T.V. about this very thing.  They recruited a professional to make beaded jewelry.  She made the most stunning, perfect pieces you could ever imagine.... a hundred times better than any of us could do.... and the show sent them to the company for payment. 

Can you guess what happened?

EVERY LAST ONE WAS REJECTED!

Why would they want to buy her stuff?  Then they'd have to SELL IT, for pete sake!!  That would mean they'd have to go out and find REAL CUSTOMERS.... and why would they want to do that when they already HAVE real customers who think they're assemblers?

BUT THERE'S A GUARANTEE!!

Ooops!  I can see it's time to read The Anatomy of a Worthless Guarantee if you haven't already memorized it. 

Most of the guarantees are for 50 percent if the supplies are returned in reusable condition.... but it's only 50 percent, and they're sure not going to be in reusable condition after you try to put the stinky little things together, are they? 

And it's a moot point anyway.

You see, they all promise to refund your "security deposit".... ("Hey, Bub!  They can't be sending out expensive supplies free to every Tom, Dick, and Harry that asks for them, you know!!!").... AFTER they "buy back" a certain minimum number of items from you.

And that.... will never happen.  ("Hey!  We've got standards, you know!")

So it goes in the world of Biz Ops.... you're stuck with a worthless guarantee and you can't do a thing about it.

And just for fun, I should mention that the supplies you pay $39.00 for can usually be picked up in a craft store for three bucks or less. 

IF YOU'RE STILL NOT CONVINCED:
HERE'S ARE SOME MESSAGES FROM THE TRENCHES

The following is an actual email.  I have it on file, and there it will stay in case a fine upstanding dude by the name of Kevin Koltay (who says he's never been Kevin but I sure didn't make it up) decides to threaten me with "Federal Court" (that's what they all do.... in fact, if they followed through, I could probably spend most of my time there, but it's funny how people who know they're crooks are usually just lots of hot air, and anyway, that has nothing to do with Mr. K. since he operates by "The Code of Ethics").

One more thing.  I'm not stupid.  When I'm "pretty sure" something is a scam but would be hard-pressed to prove it, I don't give names.  I have no hesitation in this case.  It's a been-there/done-that kinda feeling, although I don't pretend to have been-there/done-that with any of Mr. Koltay's companies.

This is snipped directly from the email.  Not a word has been altered, since I have no interest in protecting the (not-so)-innocent.  I didn't even fix the boo-boos.  But before you read it, please allow me to make one thing perfectly clear:.... I can't prove this woman is telling the truth.  Based on a whole pile of unhappy experiences with similar "opportunities," I happen to believe every word she says, but you might not and that's your choice.

"I didn't know you had so much interest in this scam artist.  YES, I am talking about Kevin Koltay.  I've been scammed before but this is the first time we had to loose that much.  At first it seemed real when I first saw it in classifieds somewhere in the web.  They offered an opportunity to work as a recruiter for them to find them people who would be willing to pay them 'non-refundable' deposit.  Well so I though it ould be a great opportunity to make money on the web.  I was fairly new to the internet then.  So then my husband got interested and paid $250 deposit and send for that starter kit.  Before we even received that kit we told my family in Massachussetts.  My brother is a graduate from electronics school and he can disassemble and assemble almost anything that has to do with electronics.  So, my father and a brother thought that they finally found a job they could do at home and make 'GOOD' money doing it.  They rushed in and paid $500 for both of them.

"Then we received our sampler and a kit to assemble first modulator.  My husband bought all necessary tools to assemble that kit.  First of all the instructions were not clear (I think it was done on purpose to confuse people).  Then my husband spent over 6 hours assembling that thing and no matter what he did it would not work.  Then he opened up the sampler and compared to see what he did wrong.  Later he discovered that some parts that they sent us were different from those that that were on the sampler.  We sent that non-working modulator back to ARD and expained the problem about our findings on difference in parts.  Also, we asked them to tell us exactly what my husband did wrong.  And what we have received???  Well a long letter of explanation telling us how to assemble it correctly, just as they promised to do.  Yeah wright!!!! :-)  They sent one line saying that the parts they sent were correct and he should follow their directions they send with kit.

"Then my husband spent some more time but this time he took off the parts that were different from the sampler and placed them in his rejected modulator.  Guess what???  IT WORKED!!  We send them invoice asking for more kits.  They send us that modulator back saying that it worked "somewhat" but that wasn't good enought for them.  When my husband opened it, he noticed that it was opened by ARD and there were somekind of spots that looked like oil spray.  Also, it was really clear that they have moved or did something to those parts and then blamed my husband for it.

"When we finally realized that we are just wasting our time and money on postage materials we asked them for our deposit back.  Koltay started telling me that it is not refundable and they will not return our money back.  Then after long and nasty e-mail talk with him I saw that it is not going anywhere.  Then I told him that I will tell everybody and anybody I will come across who would be interested in his scam.  And since I use to work for a short time as a recruiter for him I had web site and I knew many others who was interested in this.

"He finally got scared and send us our deposit back minus $50 for first kit and sample because it wasn't in original condition.  And had me promise him that I will keep my mouth shut.  Well I did, for some time and I stopped working for him too.  I didn't wanted to lie to honest people who were looking for honest way to make money.

"My brother and father had the same problem with Koltay and since they signed up under me they were blaming me and asking me to talk to Koltay and ask for their deposit back.  You know what he told me???  He said that I broke his rules about not signing up any body like neighbors and family members.  Now I know why!!  LOL!!!  Six months later they still can't get anything out of ARD.

"I wish I would have saved all of the letters I got from him but the problem is I have changed computers since than and didn't care about saving those letters to disc.  SORRY!!  I JUST HOPE THAT SOMEONE WOULD HAVE GUTS TO TAKE HIM TO THE COURT AND MAKE THAT LOOSER PAY TEN TIMES MORE THAN HE STOLE FROM PEOPLE.  I DON'T CARE WHERE THESE MONEY WILL GO JUST AS LONG AS THAT JERK WILL PAY.  BETTER YET, JAIL!!  THAT IS RIGHT HE NEEDS TO SPEND SOME TIME IN WORK CAMPS SO THAT HE CAN LEAN THAT IF YOU WANT TO BE RICH YOU HAVE TO BE PREPARED TO WORK HARD.  All those who steal will end up in jail sometimes in their life time, he should too!!!  Don't you think so???  Oh, that LIAR!!!

"(Lesley, you can use this e-mail if you want, all I ask is DO NOT post my last name anywere please!!!!  And if you know any other way I can help my brother and father to get their $500 back please let me know.  Thanks.  Lily T.)"

And here's another story exactly as I received it, typos and all....
this one from Steven Williams (who gave me permission to use his name).  It's another one of those "I can't prove it but I believe every word he says" kinda situations.

I bought 2 CD modulator assembly kits (1 for me, 1 for a friend) from "Erwin Koltay" back near August 1997 when his company was called TRDL Engineering Group" for $200 each ($400 total). I received 4 packages during our communications. Two sample CD modulators pre-built and operating correctly, and 2 assembly kits where I was to put together 2 CD Modulators. The parts that I was suppose to use to built a CD modulator were different and substandard from the parts inthe working sample. The resistors were different and the condensor wires were signigantly shorter than the one's in the sample. We couldn't contack Koltay by telephone as the phone number was always busy, and his instructions in his letters were not to contact him by phone. I sent him a lterr asking for a replacement condensor (you can get one replacement part for free). When it arrived it was the same kind of condensor that we already had.

My next observation was that the assembly instructions were vague for a device that was so complicated. After a few steps, maybe step 7 or 9, the instructions said to solder the parts together as in the sample. Considering the sample was in a small package with all the components "jumbled" together and nearly impossible to see, it is my belief that Koltay had no intention of anyone ever completeing a CD modulator and having it work. One of the CD modulators samples didn't work at first either, because it came with a dead battery which we had to replace. I tried to ask Koltay for a refund, and he refused. I told him (by e-mail) that I thought his program was fraudulent, and that if I didn't get a refund that i would report him to consumer protection agencies. He replied with angry e-mail which threatened that if an investigation didn't find anything wrong with his operation, that he would hire a lawyer in my city and prosecute me.

Then I tried to get a refund through the Pinellas county, Florida consumer protection department. As part of their mediation, I was to return everything that I received from Koltay. I returned the samples and the modulator assembly kits by priority mail, with delivery confirmation. However that was my mistake that I ONLY used confirmation delivery, because what I didn't know was that they only make publick the city, state, and zip code where the delivery was made, the US Postal services doesn't show you what actuall street address the delivery was made to, if you use deleivery confirmation. My packages was confirmed as delivered, but I couldn't get any written record of the street adddress that the package was delivered to just the city, state, and zip code...which matched Koltay's address. Of course, the honerable Mr. Koltay, denied ever receiving anything, so I never got my money back, and he has 2 new smaples to use on another "customer".

I rest my case.

(And lose my lunch.)

Take me back to the Scams 101 Index!

Listen to MaaMaw!     

Are you an Internet Marketing Wannabe?  Have you tried slogging through truckloads of how-to information and found the whole thing so overwhelming you can't quite bring yourself to actually DO anything?  Help is on the way!

There's a new course that really pulls it all together, condensing years of money-making experience into a wonderful step-by-step, hand-holding, checklist-style, kick-in-the-pants teaching format.  If you have a shred of motivation, you'll be amazed to find yourself actually (gasp!) moving forward.

                                                    So pack up those tired old excuses and check it out . . . . .


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PROTECT YOURSELF FROM SCAMS!  Research all business opportunities thoroughly, and never blow off other people's bad experiences.  Ask around (and listen!).  The Scams101 Message Board is a good place to start.  What's that?  You've found a Biz Op and you're wondering if it's endorsed by FIB?...  Not unless it's listed in MaaMaw's Magnificent Toolbox.





Me & Katie
HERE'S WHERE TO FIND ME:

  Lesley Fountain                          Click Here to Send an Email
  P. O. Box 542                                  Phone:  (707) 682-0303
  Fortuna, CA  95540                                          ↓        ↓        ↓

 Some days I get so many calls that email is my only hope of responding
  in a timely manner.....   PLEASE leave your email address when you call.

Copyright 1998-2007 by Lesley Fountain.  All Rights Reserved.
Some images on this page copyright www.arttoday.com




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SCAMS
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