May 29, 2012 3:43 PM by KATC
The Better Business Bureau of Acadiana is recommending local residents use extreme caution when responding to ads from People's Life Styles Inc. and other work at home companies.
Every day, work-at-home ads appear in newspapers around Acadiana as well as the internet and television, and can range in scope from selling merchandise online to stuffing envelopes, assembling products or completing clerical work among other tasks.
One such company operating out of Louisiana is People's Life Styles Inc., which operates out of Slidell, La. The BBB of Acadiana has received several calls on this company over the last several months.
The company currently has an "F" rating with the BBB due to concerns with the industry in which this business operates; 76 complaints filed against business; failure to respond to 61 complaints filed against business; four complaints filed against business that were not resolved; one serious complaint filed against business and an overall complaint history with BBB.
According to the BBB of Southeast Louisiana, "This company has an unsatisfactory record with the BBB due to unanswered and unresolved complaints. Our file shows the company has received an unusually large number of complaints in our three year reporting period which involved customer difficulty in obtaining a refund. We have learned that the firm is offering a list of companies, and the consumer must contact these firms to see if there is any employment available.
"This firm is not an employment agency. We strongly suggest that you find out in advance the company's limited refund policy."
The BBB Business Review for People's Life Styles Inc. can be found online at http://www.bbb.org/new-orleans/business-reviews/work-at-home-companies/people-s-life-styles-inc-in-slidell-la-90004699 .
In general, work-at-home companies are regularly monitored by U.S. Postal Inspectors, who look into possible fraudulent schemes. Residents risk investigation and possible prosecution by law enforcement if they become involved in an illegal scheme.
While their ads claim high earnings and short hours with little or no experience, BBB files nationwide show there is no evidence of anyone making the promised wealth. Generally, these jobs require up-front fees for information or supplies and only the person who ran the ad makes any money.
The BBB offers the following tips to avoid being taken by a work-at-home company:
* Do the math. If the income potential was really that good, nearly everyone would be using this type of employment to provide for themselves and their families.
* Ask for local references that you can contact yourself (not someone in a video or a taped audio recording).
* Find out where the company is located (physical location). Check with the Better Business Bureau that serves that area. Use www.bbb.org.
* Don't reach for your wallet if the company asks you to provide or invest money up front.
* Insist on speaking with a live person (i.e., rather than a telephone recording) about the opportunity. Be sure you get actual information, not just a sales pitch.
* If there is an emphasis on you doing additional recruiting for the company, back off quickly. Not only is this a strong sign of an illegal pyramid scheme, but, if you participate, you are participating in a felony and could face prosecution yourself.
The BBB of Acadiana works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses. Please contact the BBB at www.acadiana.bbb.org or (337) 981-3497 24 hours a day for information on businesses throughout the U.S. and Canada.
The BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.
Acadiana residents can now have BBB information in the palm of their hand with the official BBB Search app, a convenient, mobile BBB solution available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The app can be found at: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bbb-search-find-local-businesses/id440014505?mt=8.