We have an update to a 12 On Your Side Alert from several months ago, when we told you about a warning from the Better Business Bureau on a company called Franklin Financial Solutions. The BBB said employees with the company "cold called" seniors with deceptive work-at-home offers. After our story aired, we got other complaints. We did more digging to see if he could track this company down and get some answers.
Our investigation started with a phone call. An elderly Petersburg woman claims she was duped out of thousands of dollars by Franklin Financial Solutions. "If we received one contact like this there are others out there. I know, I know it, I have been doing this too long," said Tom Gallagher with the BBB.
Gallagher was right. After our story aired in February, the emails started coming in from all over the country. The company's pitch — you can make lots of money by working at home selling credit card terminals. Many victims said they never collected. Instead, they claim they paid thousands to sign up for the offer, but never saw a profit.
Gary from Washington State said he was fooled out of $1,800. Tom from Michigan said his 75-year-old mother invested $2,500. Michael in Iowa said, his 77-year-old father lost $15,000. The company claimed to be based in Wyoming. For months, we've been trying to contact them. Our phone calls and emails still haven't be returned.
We did a get response from the BBB in Wyoming. It too is still waiting on a response.
"We have made several request for the company to let us know exactly it is that they are doing and what it is they are soliciting from potential customers," said Dale Dixon, CEO of the Wyoming BBB. "We figure it is best to hear from them and get their side of the story. However, they are not telling us so we are not exactly sure."
The company still has an "F" Rating. Dixon said anytime there are big promises, big money and little time involved, red flags should go up. When we aired our story in February, there was a Wyoming address, now there is an Arizona address. The actual address is a mystery.
"We don't know. It claims the address in Jackson, WY," said Dixon. "You can see it is not there, we have talked to neighbors."
We went beyond the BBB to the Attorney General's Office in Wyoming. In an email it said:
"At this time, it appears this company never had an actual physical base of operation in Wyoming. It appears the actual location of company is in the Phoenix, Ariz. area. At this date, the concerns of people involved with this company are still under review. Correspondence regarding the company has been sent to Arizona. In some cases, refunds have been provided. In other cases, consumers have resolved issues directly with the company or utilized dispute provisions of their credit card issuer."
Dixon said, "If you send money or give a credit card number or provide personal information to a company or business that only has a post office box and there is no way to verify where it is physically located, you risk losing money. Plain and simple."
We checked with the Arizona Attorney General's Office, which said, "The AG's office in Ariz. does not release complaint information by law. We do not publicly discuss enforcement actions until they can be made public."
"Don't support them is the best way to put them out of business," said Dale.
Three months and six states later, our search for answers from Franklin Financial Solutions continues. If you've had a negative experience with Franklin Financial Solutions, you can contact the BBB or Consumer Affairs.
BBB review page for Franklin Financial Solutions (Surprise, AZ) - link
BBB review page for Franklin Financial Solutions (Jackson, WY) - link