This week and last, we received several calls from consumers who wanted to check out work-at-home companies they saw advertised. We thought our readers would be interested in reading about one such company in the news recently.
Last week, a U.S. District Court issued a ruling on a complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against a work-at-home opportunity marketer Christopher Andrew Sterling. The FTC brought the complaint against him in November 2012 as part of “Operation Lost Opportunity,” a federal-state crackdown on scams that falsely promised jobs and opportunities to “be your own boss” to people who are unemployed or underemployed.
The Court found that Sterling violated the FTC Act and the FTC Business Opportunity Rule and ordered him to be permanently banned from selling any work-at-home opportunity, and any business opportunity covered by the Business Opportunity Rule. The proposed settlement also permanently prohibits him from misrepresenting material facts about any products and services, selling or otherwise benefitting from consumers’ personal information, and failing to properly dispose of customer information.
“YOU CAN MAKE $300 – $1000+ A DAY” and “…$15 each GUARANTEED” for each rebate processed are just some of the claims made by Christopher Andrew Sterling on three of his websites, www.sterlingvisa.com, www.rebatedataprocessor.com, and www.creditcardworker.com. Sterling led consumers to believe that if they purchased the product they would make a substantial income simply by processing rebates or credit card applications offered to the public by a select group of marketers he furnishes.
In fact, all Sterling actually provided, if anything, was an information sheet on how the purchasers could become affiliate marketers in which they would have to create their own Internet ads for various products or services offered by third-party sellers. The only way an affiliate marketer would earn money is if a consumer clicked on the ad the affiliate marketer created and purchased the third party seller’s product or service. In addition, on his websites, Sterling implied or stated that if people paid a $50 fee, he would provide Internet accounts or customers for them, but the promised businesses were never delivered.
The Court ordered a $69,289 civil penalty that will be suspended based on Sterling’s inability to pay. However, the full amount will become due immediately if he is found to have misrepresented his financial condition.
Your BBB recommends consumers proceed with caution and check out any offers with the BBB before proceeding.
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