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Mason City citizens should be wary of door-to-door satellite TV salepersons

MASON CITY – Two NIT readers contacted our newsroom days ago about a potential scam and we thought it would be worth posting a caution to the public to be wary of satellite TV salespersons operating in Mason City.

The salesmen seem to be offering either DirectTV or Dish Network. Whichever one you have, they will try to convince you to either switch to the other service or they will try to offer a better deal than you have currently. They will even throw in expensive computer products and gift cards.

In the end, they will want your credit or debit card now and will want payment upfront before a technician can come to your home and set up the new equipment. The installer may never show up.

The salespersons will seem very knowledgeable and according to the source for this warning, may not even know they are scamming you. They will also say that they are “leaving town today” and need to get you hooked up now so you can take advantage of this great deal.

Here is the experience as described by a Mason City couple who say they narrowly avoided a scam just days ago:

Last evening around 5:00 pm a man in his late 20’s knocked on our door. He had on a white polo shirt that had BOTH direct TV and Dish network logos on it. His name was Caleb Christen from Rochester, MN- he claimed to be a 3rd party seller of both companies and wanted to know if we would like to switch to DISH for a lower payment and receive an Ipad II for switching to DISH, since we already had DirectTV. We invited him in and listened to what he had to say. He explained he could lower our payment, we would have newer equipment that would record up to 6 channels at once and 2000 hours of shows and movies with the latest and greatest DVR. I asked a ton of questions, about the equipment and how it works. He threw back model names and numbers and showed me features, the kid new his equipment and had knowledge of the system I have now. So in a nutshell we thought we were switching to DISH for $96.80 per month and receiving an Ipad II along with all the premium channels for 3 months. He even told us if our contract was not up with DirectTV he could help us get out of that by paying the cancellation fee.

HE SOUNDED SO LEGIT, SO SMART, SO BELIEVABLE!! He was petting our dog the whole nine yards!

HERE’S THE REAL KICKER I TOLD HIM THAT THERE WAS SCAMMERS OUT RIGHT NOW IN TOWN TRYING TO SELL DIRECTV- HE FIRES BACK AND SAYS THAT HIS COMPANY HAD TO PURCHASE A LICENSE FROM THE CITY TO GO DOOR TO DOOR – SO TRUST HIM – WE ARE OK. SO WE TRUSTED HIM, HE CALLED IN, CHECKED OUR CREDIT, TOLD US IT WAS GOOD TO GO, THEN HE CALLED ANOTHER REP. HE HANDED THE PHONE OVER TO ME AND I TALKED WITH A REP AND THEY VERIFIED MY NAME AND ADDRESS THEN NEEDED MY DEBIT CARD TO PAY FIRST MONTHS BILL AND THE INSTALLATION FEE. THEN HE TOLD US THEY HAVE AVAILABLE TIMES TO INSTALL TODAY – EITHER NOON TO 4PM OR 4PM TO 8PM. WE TOOK THE 4 TO 8 INSTALL.

Well THANK GOD we have fraud protection on our accounts. The installer never showed up. My wife called the phone number to the company at 5:20pm.  The Rep literally put her on hold and then came back. They claimed to have called the installer. They told my wife that apparently the installer is not answering his phone, but we left him a message to call you asap, and we also will do a follow up call to make sure the installer has contacted you.

Matt these people are 100% BELIEVABLE!! So we waited til exactly 8pm tonight to call them back to just tell them we don’t want to switch.

Well when I called back I just got put into a “loop que” and it just kept telling me someone would be with me. My wife called her fraud department-since she works for Wells Fargo. We found it interesting that this company ran the card for $1.00 then $1.00 then the $96.80. Luckily we caught it in time (tonight), the transaction was pending and did not go through yet.

What needs to be told to people is if it wasn’t for the fraud protection plan we have, this SCAM would have gotten our money- because once a transaction pends its gone- THEY GOT YOUR MONEY- But now Wells Fargo is hot on their trail.

Also the fraud department told us that these kids (salespeople) may not realize that they are scamming people.  They get hired, learn what they need learn and the higher powers don’t have to do the dirty work. And they don’t realize they are scamming, they are just trying to do a job to get a paycheck-hard to believe though.

I’m tellin’ ya Matt this kid was sincere and very smart, talked about where he was from and how he does things- really quite weird to us, to be someone that was out scamming people.

SO I LOOK THE COMPANY UP THAT THIS KID WORKS FOR (SATTON MARKETING) – IT’S OUT OF UTAH AND BAM!! THEY ARE A SCAMMING COMPANY.  THERE ARE BLOGS THAT ARE EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED TO US.

 

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A brief internet search for Satton Marketing Company showed that the company was investigated in Wisconsin.  Click here to read that.

MADISON – Satton Marketing of Orem, Utah, has been cited by the Department of Workforce Development’s (DWD’s) Equal Rights Division (ERD) for operating a traveling sales crew without proper registration, in violation of Wis. Stats. § 103.34, also known as Malinda’s Law. The ERD is asking the state Department of Justice to pursue the maximum penalties and daily forfeitures allowed under the law, which total $55,000 in this case. “Malinda’s Law protects workers and homeowners from the potential dangers posed by unlicensed traveling sales crews,” DWD Secretary Reggie Newson said. “The law also ensures that companies provide important protections to workers, including limiting the hours they can work and requiring inspections of the vehicles that transport the crew members.”

According to ERD findings:
– Satton Marketing employed a 12-member traveling sales crew to conduct door-to-door sales of Direct TV
and Dish Network upgrades and services starting in May 2012, without registering with the state Equal
Rights Division (ERD) as required by state law.
– Crew members reported they were staying temporarily in Satton-rented apartments in Fitchburg in Dane
County while they engaged in door-to-door traveling sales activities in communities including Waunakee,
Madison, Sauk City, Beloit, Janesville, Blanchardville, Arlington, Darlington, Lancaster, Poynette and the
town of Dunn, between May and July 2012.
– In July, Village of Highland Police reported observing a Satton crew member selling house to house
driving a car with Texas license plates.
– A consumer in Poynette reported a crew member went door to door trying to get consumers to switch
from Direct TV to Dish Network, and reported that Satton crew members would be in the state until the
end of August.
– In Lancaster, a crew member from Texas was cited for selling within city limits without a permit.

When ERD contacted Satton Marketing executives, CEO Phillip Stockton stated that crew members were independent contractors exempt from Malinda’s Law provisions. ERD responded that the state law prohibits traveling sales crew members from being categorized as independent contractors. DWD recently completed its investigation and determined Satton Marketing was conducting unregulated traveling sales crew activities in Wisconsin in violation of Malinda’s Law, and has referred the matter to the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) to seek the maximum forfeitures allowed under the law.

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