Update from Ralph Bristol Morning News - BBB Middle Tennessee can be heard Fridays at 7:35am on the Ralph Bristol Nashville Morning News, WTN 99.7 (FM Radio)
[July 13, 2012- Nashville, TN] BBB warns businesses of a local Middle Tennessee company that has been soliciting companies across the country for thousands of dollars in an office supply scam.
BBB of Middle Tennessee has received numerous complaints from businesses claiming to have been scammed by a company calling itself Intelligent Savings Network, or ISN, Inc., located at 1420 Donelson Pike Ste A-13 in Nashville. The company targets victim companies with its deceptive sale practices by claiming to be relocating their warehouse and therefore selling their inventory at a significant discount. However, complaints state that sales representatives misrepresent the price and quantity of units sold; representatives will say "one" when in actuality the unsuspecting business owner is purchasing one gross unit, or 12 items rather than one. "Bundles" of supplies are billed at a much higher per item rate rather than the advertised bulk rate.
Complaints also allege that the ISN sales representative claims they have already spoken with someone within the business who has approved and given authorization for the office supply order; when the business agrees, they later find out no one has given the alleged authorization and the sales representative has fabricated the authorization by calling in advance and obtaining the name of the business' chief financial officer or accounts receivable person.
Many complaints state that they received no prior phone call or message; they merely received a large shipment of unordered office supplies and an invoice for upwards of $3,000.00. The average amount of invoices reported to BBB was roughly $4,500.00, with one company being charged over $12,000!
Although ISN, Inc. has responded to BBB complaints by agreeing to authorize returns of the unordered supplies, BBB continues to receive new complaints alleging similar deceptive sales practices. In addition, information on file with BBB indicates Richard Holof, Officer/Director for ISN, is also listed as a partner for SVT, Inc located in Bloomfield, MO. BBB St. Louis' Business Review for SVT, Inc indicates that company has similar complaint allegations and has been issued an "F" rating by that BBB.
If your company has been contacted or victimized by ISN, Inc. or Intelligent Savings Network, BBB urges you to file a complaint online at: http://nashville.app.bbb.org/filecomplaint.
To prevent becoming a victim of office supply scams, BBB offers the following advice:
- Train your staff. Advise employees who are not authorized to order supplies and services to refer any such sales people to the purchasing department.
- The purchasing department should be instructed not to respond verbally to unsolicited phone offers for office supplies. Require that all sales pitches be made in writing.
- Institute strict purchasing and accounting controls. Every purchase should be documented by issuing a purchase order to the supplier with an authorized signature and a purchase order number. The handling of invoices, etc. should be centralized and authorization closely checked.
- Keep a list of regularly used vendors. This will help to protect your business against schemers who claim that your company previously used their services.
- Always check out a company's reputation by obtaining a BBB Business Review by visiting www.Nashville.BBB.org or call your local BBB if you're unable to locate a Business Review.
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The BBB of Middle Tennessee, Inc. was founded in 1961 as a non-profit Tennessee organization serving 38 counties in Middle Tennessee and 7 counties in Southern Kentucky. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada.
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