Friday, October 15, 2010

Retold from Wikipedia: Are those kinds of door-to-door magazine sales scams?

Are those kinds of door-to-door magazine sales scams?

Dear Wikipedia,
I had a random door-to-door magazine salesman arrive at my residence and he was pitching deals about magazines that cost $1.80/issue while showing me lists of magazines I could subscribe to. He appeared college-aged and said that he'd earn 100 communications points if I decided to accept a sale. I told him that I didn't need magazines right now but he told me about how he needed to meet his quota of 20,000 points in 3 weeks soon or else something unfavorable would happen. He claimed to have 16,500 points right at the moment. He then said that it would help a charity (like St. Jude's Hospital) and help him get a vacation to Hawaii, then get into college somehow.
The guy, claimed to be Michael Reynolds, said that he's from southern Ohio and hopes to get into Ohio State sometime. He claimed to be adopted, therefore he couldn't get student loans, since he couldn't find and track down the info about his biological parents. He also said that his adoptive parents are Mormon, after pointing out and commenting about a booklet about Chastity on my coffee table that some of the LDS Missionaries left me weeks ago.
Then he pitched about donating kids' magazines to St. Jude's Children Hospital instead, and I would get a post card from them in 1-10 weeks saying thanks, a biography about a child patient, his/her diagnoses and etc., and a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Then I decided to go with the transaction.
He then said that it's $48 for a 2-year subscription to that hospital, so I calculated and that would be 26.66 issues. It was really 24, and when faced with this math disparity, he said that the magazines RANGE from $1.80-$3/issue. It would really be $2/issue forNational Geographic for Kids.
Michael was quite friendly and polite and I was so pressured to pay that I told him I was going to post-date the check instead. It's because I have too little in my account right now but after November, I would get my monthly deposit, so I set it at November 2nd. At first, he agreed to it. Then he asked to borrow my phone to call his boss, T. Bradburn, at 770-851-68**. It would only go to voicemail, so he tried twice; same result. When he couldn't reach him, he told me that he'd need permission because checks can't be post-dated without it, so he asked me to put in today's date but promised to hold it until next month, and even invited me to call his boss to ask that the check doesn't get cashed until November.
He also told me that he's a "contestant" who's part of a traveling group in a van that his boss drives, and they stayed at Omaha, quite a bit north from where I live, and he needed to add 2 more magazine subscriptions by tonight at 8:00 Central. (It was about 5:30-6:30 when I dealt with him.)
After I completed the transaction, he gave his most heartfelt thanks, got me to write good comments about him (so he gets another 100 points) and went on his way. I went on my way too because I had an Accounting tutoring session to go to. I think called Bradburn's number again, intending to leave a voice message. He answered this time, and when I explained what happened, who visited, and so forth, once I asked that the check only gets deposited after November starts, he said "Too bad!" and hung up. This was a big red flag.
I thought this over for a little bit, then decided to chase down Michael on my bike and confront him about his boss's treatment of me over the phone. He sounded apologetic and assured me that he'd do his best to personally make sure that the check doesn't get deposited until November, and made some comments about not intending to treat customers disrespectfully and so forth. When I asked about his boss Mr. Bradburn, Mike said that he smokes in his car (he mentioned a van instead earlier...), had a pretty rough childhood, and is like Rocky Balboa. I asked him who I could go to in case the check was deposited too early anyway, and to complain about Mr. Bradburn. He said that Bradburn's boss is David Fussler (or Fussman or Fusser?), and I told him that I'd find out more about him online. Mike was once again apologetic and friendly and we bid each other our farewells.
I wrote down the company name as well and left that at home but I don't remember what it is now. (Acronym is "SSI" - S...... Sales, Inc. I don't know if the first "S" stands for Sunrise, Sunshine, or something about as long as that.)
Did these guys just screw me? Do I have to tell my bank to cancel Check #578 or just give a special request not to register the transaction until November, just in case?
Moreover, what can you find out about these people? And what do you know that I don't, about such traveling young magazine salesmen? (They canvass college towns apparently, because I've had several other visitors like Mike once every half-year or so, but I was able to turn them away in ways that I couldn't turn Mike. But why do they want the college students' business?)
I look forward to your answers. Thank you,
-- (talk) 00:22, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
That sure sounds like a scam to me. ♫Mr. R00t Talk♫ 00:24, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
Yes. You. Were. Completely. Scammed. Indeed, royally scammed. Let me count the ways: 1) he needs the points 2) its for the kids 3) prices are variable 4) you have to subscribe /now/ not in three weeks (the refusal to accept a post dated cheque) 5) the mobile phone boss who must be approached for permissions but won't pick up 6) the contestant 7) the mobile phone boss who distains your call: we've got the cheque, dummy: you're history 8) the personal apology 9) the boss' rough childhood, FFS. I've probably missed a few, but you get the picture. --Tagishsimon (talk) 00:34, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
why do they want the college students' business. Because you're that exotic combination of "have some money" + "naïve". There are few ready substitutes for age and the lessons learned from repeated experience. --Tagishsimon (talk) 00:40, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the response, Tagish. If I find some info and background on the company, I may report them to the BBB. Now, would I be able to ask my bank to cancel Check #578 once it arrives so it doesn't get debited to the scammers?
By the way, may I please post the boss's full name and phone #? When I was writing the number down, Mike then said the prefix was 158, and I stopped him and told him that phone prefixes cannot start with "1;" they had to be 200 or above, so I looked at his boss's business card and got the correct number. Then Mike claims that he is "sometimes dyslexic like that."
Also, could they commit ID theft with the name, address, routing & account # on my check? How so? And if so, how do I prevent it as soon as I can? -- (talk) 01:07, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
Not only are you being scammed, the kids doing the selling are in big trouble, too. See (talk) 01:04, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
Call the bank, put a hold on the check. Pretty simple. You seem to be aware that the possibility of it being a scam is exceptionally high. It has scam written all over it. As for possible problems with them having the check info, ask the bank. They'll know pretty well, and since they are the ones who end up having to chase down the funds if they get removed (at least, that's what my bank had to do when someone misused my own check numbers), they'll probably be the ones with the incentive to let you know if something is weird. (E.g. put a hold on your account and get you a new number, which is not very hard.) --Mr.98 (talk) 02:07, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
Actually, YOU are the person who is liable to have to track down funds that get removed. I've had this happen to me; my account number was used by a wireless company to "electronically draft" out of my account. I didn't authorize it, didn't have an account with this company. I told the bank and they told me to call the company and have them return the money! My argument that they had allowed an unauthorized transaction fell on deaf ears; it was my problem. In their eyes, if someone has my account number, they are allowed to draft out of it!
I did call the company and they did return the money (after a few days and a couple of phone calls), so that was less trouble than fighting the bank. And the bank knows that, and they have some of the highest-paid lobbyists there are writing laws in their favor, so who knows what I would have found if the company had refused to return the money?
Given the brazen nature of the people you are dealing with, I would close the account. If you just stop the check, you are depending on too many other people to behave the way we expect them to. These folks are out-of-sight con artists.
Also, just by-the-bye, if you want to contribute to St. Jude's, they take checks in any amount at any time convenient to you -- no part of that money stops off at a magazine company or a salesman's pocket. I tell all phone callers and door-to-door sellers (now that I'm older) that I never respond to solicitations from any of them, because it just encourages them. It does not matter how worthy their cause sounds.
rc (talk) 04:20, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
Well, it may vary state-by-state (and maybe by bank). In California, when someone did all sorts of hijinks with my Wells Fargo checking account, it was a pretty trivial thing for the bank to reverse it (I had to fill out some fraud paperwork) and they didn't hold me liable for any of it except for an overdraft fee that was accrued during the same time period (which I probably could have gotten reversed if I'd had the energy to fight it). --Mr.98 (talk) 12:26, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

[edit]Here is some info on their organization

Hi, I just got back home and therefore had the chance to review the receipt. The company's name is Someday Sales, Inc.. Their address is P.O. Box 574, Arden, NC 28704. The sales agent is read to be Michael R. (as I indicated above) and the "code" is 512. (That could be an employee ID #.) The receipt # is 25983, and some another company's info on the bottom right of the receipt is "(CSI) Currie Systems, Inc. - Huntsville, AL - (256) 704-CURRIE (2877)." I'll be googling Someday Sales to see what more I can learn about them; see if they have any remarks on or -- (talk) 05:12, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
BBB rating: F. Have you put a hold on the check yet? --Mr.98 (talk) 12:32, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
Hello, same OP, different IP (thanks to being on the move with my laptop nearly every day.) I have asked my bank to cancel Check #578, and they said it would be a $25 fee; it would, after all, save me $23. And they said that I have to visit the bank and sign a form. I'll be available after 2:20 CST this afternoon so that's exactly what I'll do. -- (talk) 18:00, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
BTW the NYT did a good article a few years ago about the mistreatment of employees on magazine crews and the industry's general shadiness.[20] Calliopejen1 (talk) 16:07, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
Lesson for all of us: never buy anything at the door. Either don't open the door at all, or say "no thanks, I never buy anything at the door". Never let anyone start on their sob story. Itsmejudith (talk) 17:10, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
And if you want to give them money, pay in cash and view it as a donation with no reward: don't do it expecting to have gained anything. (talk) 23:21, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
Unless it means life or death [21][22]schyler (talk) 03:18, 16 October 2010 (UTC)


  1. This is what I commented in reply to this article:

    A guy named Michael Reynolds came to my door at about 5:25 this last evening and went over the same drill as the above comments.

    This guy also had a cigarette smell, but when I confronted him about it, he said that his boss smokes in the car, which causes the smell to cling onto him. (He said he was transported in a VAN with a group earlier!)

    The website link will tell you the more comprehensive story.

    Anyway, when I tried to call his boss, who was Tim Bradburn at 770-851-6839, I explained what just happened and whether he can hold the check 'til November (since I would be in better financial shape) then he said "Too bad!" and hung up. That was the rudest phone call I've ever had in a while, and from a complete stranger.

    I plan to call my bank as soon as I can this coming morning to tell them to cancel Check #578 from getting processed.

    I should've looked up the BBB's and your site's company reports online while he was there so I could see how he'd look and try to pathetically refute it.

  2. For information on the traveling door-to-door sales industry and traveling magazine sales please visit our websites:

    We are a non-profit watchdog organization that has logged over 300 high profile felony cases and 88 documented deaths all directly related to selling magazines or cleaner products door-to-door.

  3. This type of activity is occurring all across the country.
    Unfortunately you have only exposed the very tip of the iceberg.
    It is much worse than you can possibly imagine.

    Our non-profit watchdog organization "Dedicated Memorial Parents Group" has logged and documented
    over 300 high profile felony cases and 88 deaths directly related to the traveling door-to-door sales industry.
    Most of this activity centers around the sale of magazine subscriptions, cleaner products, and vacuum cleaners.
    Most of the felony cases include: assault, sexual assault, rape, vehicular homicide, and murder.

    I highly recommend that you warn your community to NOT open their doors to these people and
    above all DO NOT let them in your home. If visited by a traveling door-to-door salesman go directly to your phone
    and dial 911. In almost all cases the salesman standing in front of you will not have a solicitation permit
    and will be a scam artist or a convicted felon.

    For more information on traveling sales crews and the door-to-door sales industry please visit our websites:

  4. Ok im sorry to say that i was scammed by these people I gave them a check in november 2010 And never recieved magazines. Didnt know it was a scam until afterthey cashed check.Does anyone know what i can do,if anything.

  5. Same deal in Lincoln NE on 10/08/11. Two unsightly, college-age males came to my door and gave a 5 minute speech about needing college tuition, winning some contest, and a trip to somewhere. They asked to come in (to have something to write on) they practically pushed the door open. I was afraid and I felt sorry for them. Long story short, I ended up writing a $48 check for a magazine subscription and they left. I thought is was a really crappy business practice but whatever... Anyway, it has now been four months to the date and still no magazines. I intend to delve deeply into this. I will keep you posted.

    Info from the SSI receipt (which I still have) is basically the same as the info above. The sales agent was Frank Jablonski (the last name is hard to read) It also says TAMGBY in large hand-written letters at the top.

  6. 5 months later:
    The magazine company still has no record of the subscription.

    I found out through my bank that the NC bank they're based out of is Mountain First Bank and Trust Company

    I found out through that bank that their account was opened in Ashville N.C. The phone number is 828-350-8022

    I filed a police report with the Lincoln Police.

  7. There were a ton of red flags in this conversation. You have to be able to pick up on that or you will definitely get scammed in the future.