I hate getting ripped off like this. It sucks and it hurts.

Services for Real Estate Pros with Virtual Pictures Corp. (VPiX)

Internet scams. Bait and switch schemes. The bozo who says he can get you on page one of Yahoo for $49 bucks a month.

No matter where you go, there's a lot of idiots out there who invent scheme after scheme to take your money and give you very little in return. Tired of Comcast crappy services? No problem. There's a website that lets you VENT about Comcast. It's called ComcastMustdie.com and you can also vent at Customer-Circus.com

Both websites have lots of horror stories from real customers, but Customer-Circus.com is letting you rant and post about anything that bugs you. I posted my rant about a Las Vegas company just now that screwed me out of $404.00.

We market to real estate agents and there are a few firms out there that say they have the cleanest, 90-something percent accurate list, verified, double opt in, list of every REALTOR in the U.S. 

So this firm I went to seemed to be pretty good. Satisfaction Guaranteed. 94% accurate. NCOA certified. So I bought their big big list for $404. It was supposed to have 1.3 million REALTOR names, addresses, phone numbers, etc. on the CD Excel (.csv) files.  It remains my thinking that we do not have that many active REALTORS right now. Many firms are dying. Many broker offices have shut down. Others are retiring in record numbers and / or are getting out of the business. I expected a more realistic list of 900,000 agents and broker offices. Not 1.3 million. 

Take a look at the website. They sport pretty boxes and pretty CD-ROM labels

What I received was a 33 cent burnable CD with (7) files on it. No pretty box. No pretty CD label. It looked NOTHING like the CD pictured on their website. 

The REALTOR agent / broker list was one huge, 300 megabyte CSV file of 1.3 million REALTORS. I thought it would be broken down into 50 folders. One for each state. The list was riddled with typos. Errors. Missing fields. And when I went to check on some of my clients in Alabama, like Robert McMurray of Realty Plus Gadsden who's been in business in Alabama since Neanderthal man became extinct -- his business was not listed. Neither was BG Pierce of Excite Realty in Gun Barrel Texas. Neither was Jenniffer Zimmerman of Alaska, etc.  Dozens and dozens of clients I am working with and had worked with had NO address listed in the Real Estate Agent List Pro CD. 

They said the list is updated daily. My list says it was last updated April 9th, 2009. Something was smelling pretty fishy. 

The website says 100% satisfaction. I'm not satisfied. The list is pure crap. Nobody scrubbed it. Nobody cared. 

I demanded my $404 back and my request is falling on deaf ears. Nobody from the firm will call me. Bart wants his money back. This must be their way of saying: Screw him.

Fine. I sent a letter with screen grabs from the site, the photo of the 33 cent CD I got and now I'm filing charges of Mail Fraud against this firm. So much for Bart going away quietly. Now I'm pissed off and now the AG's office is going to investigate them.

All I have to do now is file a complaint with VISA and I get my bank to reverse the charges AND they get to stare down the barrel of the Attorney General inquiry by having their entire company placed under a microscope.  

Mail Fraud is a serious crime and not many people know about this law, or how to get even with companies that screw you over. You buy a product over the Internet, you pay for it and you are told and shown the product is 94% accurate and does certain things, comes in this pretty box, nice professional looking disc label.

When you get a 33 cent burned CD with some scribbled titles on the label with a black Sharpie... this is Mail Fraud, and is a Class 3 Felony if convicted. This carries a fine of $10,000 per offense and up to 3 years in a Federal prison.

If you feel you are a victim of any company who over promised and under delivered, you need to know the law and how to write a nasty gram letter stating the facts. Each state has an AG office (Attorney General) office who will work with you to get the facts and prosecute firms that practice deceptive marketing and use bait and switch. 

Don't be a victim of these kind of companies. Even if you spent only $49, it's worth to let other people know about the firm and you can post your horror story on Websites like Customer-Circus.com


-- bart  

Posted by

Bart Wilson | CIO
Virtual Pictures Corp (VPiX®)  
iPhone: (719) 645-9940  |  Skype:  vpix360 


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C Tann-Starr
Tann Starr & Associates, Inc. - Palm Bay, FL

OMG - I am so sorry to hear that you've gone through such a terrible ordeal. That totally whomps. Please keep us posted.

Sep 12, 2009 12:53 PM #1
Michelle Gibson
Hansen Real Estate Group Inc. - Wellington, FL

Bart - Most people don't know what to do when they get ripped off or they let it go, I'm glad you're fighting back.

Sep 12, 2009 12:57 PM #2
Bob Force (REALTOR®)
Weichert - McKenna & Vane - Mount Airy, MD
The FORCE in Maryland Real Estate


I hope this made it to your list of does and don't that appears on your blog.

I laugh at the offers to put me on the first page of google, yahoo, and msn.  Ask how they do it and never get an educated answer.



Sep 12, 2009 12:59 PM #3
C Tann-Starr
Tann Starr & Associates, Inc. - Palm Bay, FL

Michelle, this is very true and I am glad he took the time to share this with us.

Sep 12, 2009 01:00 PM #4
Bartley Wilson
Virtual Pictures Corp. (VPiX) - Monument, CO
VR Software and 360° Solutions

Hi Michelle, Bob and C Tann-Starr,

I installed Norton Security and when I went to their website, I got the Fraud Alert on my web browser. But I did a Google search of the firm and found nothing. So I thought it was okay to buy from this firm.

Boy, did I learn my lesson. 

I'll let you know all know what the AG's office says next week, and I will get my $404 back from my bank next week.

I'm good at researching companies reputations on line and this one just caught me with my pants down. 

- bart

Sep 12, 2009 01:14 PM #5
Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional


These scamsters always count on the fact that no one will hold them accountable. Go get 'em!

Sep 12, 2009 01:17 PM #6
Marney Kirk
Cummings & Co. Realtors - Towson, MD
Towson, Maryland Real Estate

Bart, I am so sorry this happened to you, but yes, please keep us updated. The only way to take them down is to fight it and put it out there! Thank you for doing so!

Sep 12, 2009 01:21 PM #7
Bartley Wilson
Virtual Pictures Corp. (VPiX) - Monument, CO
VR Software and 360° Solutions

Thanks. I'll keep everybody posted. I'm okay. I'm just shocked and bewildered that I got so blindsided like this. 

- bart

Sep 12, 2009 02:18 PM #8
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

For $400 I'd be pissed off too.  Hell I was pissed off for $78.  Orthowhite is also a rip-off.

Sep 12, 2009 05:23 PM #9
Kari Battaglia, PA
PalmerHouse Properties - Nokomis, FL
Buy Sell Love Florida

I must be on a scammers list because I get at least 1-3 phone calls a day from those phoneys guaranteeing me 1st position on search engines, guaranteeing me qualified leads, etc.  The only guarantee is that my wallet will be a lot lighter if I buy into their garbage.

Sep 13, 2009 12:43 AM #10
Terry Lynch
LAR Notary and Closing Services - Saint Clair Shores, MI


Great Post....I hope you get your money back.

I am going to disagree with you on one point, at the beginning of your post you state "there's a lot of idiots out there who invent scheme after scheme to take your money".

The truth is, these people are criminals and lowlifes, but they are far from idiots. They are smart, sophisticated people who take advantage of our greed and ignorance. Calling them idiots diminishes the danger they pose to honest people.

The shame is, that most of them could make an good honest living if they put their skills to an honest pursuit.

Sep 18, 2009 10:11 AM #11
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