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The Better Business Bureau of Southwest Missouri is investigating a local telemarketing company that may be cheating the Bureau rating system in order to stay in good standing with consumers. KSMU’s Rebekah Clark reports.
Springfield-based MTEK, Inc., an office supply telemarketing company, had an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, or BBB, mainly because the business had received no official complaints for its operation. However, Cara Restelli, community outreach director for the BBB, said that her office recently learned that several other companies based out of Springfield do the same type of business at the same location, and have either the same owner or same principle as MTEK, Inc. The only difference between the companies, she said, is their names.
“Because of the different names, each individual company had their own grade with the Better Business Bureau.”
According to a release from the BBB, each time company owner Richard Morsovillo opened a new company name, the BBB rating was wiped clean, giving consumers the impression that the business had a very good rating.
“So what we were able to do through our investigation is connect all of the companies together and try to lump them, or group them, into one BBB rating so that our customers and consumers have a more accurate visualization of who the company is, what type of business they do, and what their grade is.”
The BBB says the various companies have been named High Performance Laser Works, Dataline Technologies, Microtek Solutions, Dynatek Solutions, Intratek, and Graphic Labs. All together, the BBB says these companies have received 63 complaints in the past three years.
In 2000, Missouri’s Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Morsovillo for his business tactics. The lawsuit accused him of committing unfair and deceptive practices, like lying about shipments and overcharging consumers. According to the BBB, the lawsuit resulted in a settlement, and the name of the company changed.
Consumers should be aware of telemarketing scams. Ron Carrier, Assistant Attorney General for Missouri, said that consumers should be on high alert when receiving offers.
“Take their time, process the information, don’t make an immediate decision on whether or not to do business with somebody who may be telemarketing you. Instead, get the information they are providing you and do a little bit of research.”
Also, consumers can call the consumer fraud hotline at the Missouri Attorney General’s Office to see whether the office has received any complaints against that particular company or person before doing business.
Missouri businesses are required to register with the Secretary of State’s office. A spokesperson for Secretary of State Robin Carnahan’s office, Laura Egerdol, told KSMU that the role of the office is minimum. She says the office merely receives and logs the documents, rather than providing oversight of whether the business is legitimate.
For KSMU News, I’m Rebekah Clark.