Lawyers sent a cease and desist order to bargain blogger Melanie Kyle. Ms. Kyle taught a number of "DIY classes" for a check in the amount of $2,400.00, the value of an advertised gift by Consumers Reward Solutions. They demanded the ceasation of these classes, and she heeded the warning. However the classes ended, school is still in session since her students were issued disqualification letters on April 8, 2011. Members who had absolutely nothing to do with the teachings of Ms. Kyle were issued the same letter as well. I will present to you the disqualification letter members received to explain all this further.
This notice is to inform you that your account with ConsumersRewardSolutions has been disqualified.
It has come to our attention that you participated in an organized effort led by http://savingmoneyintoledo.com and Melanie Kyle to defraud the Website and its advertisers.
Specifically, you paid Ms. Kyle approximately $25.00 to: (a) tell you which Sponsor Offers are the "easiest" to complete; (b) "teach" you how to sign-up for and subsequently
cancel those offers; and (c) remind you via email when it was time to cancel.
The Website is marketing to bona fide consumers that are genuinely interested in trying the products and services made available throughout the Website, especially those on
the Sponsor Offer pages. Neither the Website nor its advertisers will accept individuals who complete offers and immediately cancel them for the sole purpose of obtaining the
reward. Such activity jeopardizes the entire model for well-intentioned, legitimate consumers and will not be tolerated.
You will receive a check for $300.00 in full and final settlement of this matter, which should overcompensate you for any charges to your credit card for Sponsor Offers
completed through the Website, as well as the fee you paid to Ms. Kyle. Further, you are not eligible to participate in any other websites owned by ConsumersRewardSolutions.
If you have questions or believe you are receiving this message in error, please contact us at email@example.com.
Now the question... Did they send the letter to nonparticipants as well to avoid payment to legitimate members? This is what I think. They sent out the letter because its easier to send letters to everyone instead of winnowing out those at fault. And really, there is no way for them to know who attended these classes without asking the blogger. If CRS has strived to pay their members and added a cancel limitation to continue doing so, then they most likely are not scamming. But all companies are capable of seizing the opportunity to deceive no matter how wrong it is. On the legal side, the company may not want to start a war by beguiling legitmate members. You can't accuse someone of something they never did. The best way--and possibly the only way--of ruling out those caught in this rattrap is to compile a list of names and e-mails of every student for CRS to scrutinize. Those not on the student list would be absolved. Ms. Kyle is cooperating with us to resolve this matter with the company, and we're very appreciative of her efforts. I hope they're receptive to our ideas and are willing to cooperate as well.
Did CRS hire an undercover "student" to collect all this information to fuel their suspicions? Because I doubt anyone under Ms. Kyle's teaching would have told them directly as that would expose their offer cancellation activity and e-mail reminders. The company did the right thing though by stopping this once they found out. Online "classes" for freebies hurt CRS' business model, and risked causing a partial downfall of a paying company. In this case, I think CRS has the upper hand based on the classroom curriculum and Ms. Kyle's teaching methods. This isn't an assailment on Ms. Kyle per se, but her actions that precipiated a radical change within the company. You can teach someone how to successfully complete a DIY site without giving away too much information. A line was crossed by instructing members to cancel offers prematurely, and sending e-mail notifications of when to cancel offers. Members should cancel offers on their own as it is their gift site. Any newcomers in her class may suffer for their erudition from these classes, as they may violate another company's rules by defrauding offers if they think it's OK. Early offer cancellation is forbidden, and is not tolerated by most DIY networks. Those are my reasons for siding with CRS. Put yourself in their shoes. CRS see their $2,400.00 gift advertised through a "class" giving fallacious information. If they don't stop it, they lose revenue and their company's gift program starts to crumble. A cancellation limitation was smart on their part to prevent anymore malicious practices. I would have done the same thing.
I understand Ms. Kyle probably didn't realize the negative impact this could have on Consumers Reward Solutions and it's members. I've been in the hot seat before and it isn't very cozy. So I will accept that a mistake was made, and will not press this issue any further. What matters is that she has owned up to it, and is doing something about it. I'll keep you guys posted on what happens next.
As for the cancellation limitation, it appears everyone has to abide by the new rule whether they signed up before March 16th or not. I will just copy and paste what a member has allowed me to post. Below is the back and forth correspondence between a member and Dave. I was sent this April 4, 2011, so there may have been changes in the company since then.
From member to me:
"I asked Dave and he did mention that even if you have signed up before march 16th the 30 (2 offer) limit still applies to offers after that date.They also seemed to have taken down quite a few of the offers that would extend past the 30 day period also and replaced with a few 7 day 10 days offers. However, from what I can see with these other sites a lot of money can still be made.
What I was concerned about was I had asked him about the offers I completed and a few of them did not show up as completed so I'll need to send in confirmations. Is that normal? I've done a few sites before and referral, however not crs before.
I guess that can be disregarded for now, he sent me another e-mail basically stating he was not sure and to ask him again in a week.
We have an investigation going on currently. Can you email me in a week and I will be able to answer correctly.
Sent: Sat, 02 Apr 2011 00:52:41 -0400
To: Svc Acct
Subject: 30 day limit
New rules will apply for all.
Sent: Wed, 30 Mar 2011 07:49:09 -0400
To: Svc Acct
Subject: Offer Question
If I signed up before the new rules were in effect, any offers I do now will the rule still apply to me?
Maybe the wording confused him, he said today he will be finding that out in a week. So, you may want to contact him next week as he will know for sure then. I explained to him in the second e-mail that I signed up before the march 16th, and that's when he said that he would get back to me."
On April 19, 2011 I asked this member for an update. Their response is below.
me, "from wozniack
dateTue, Apr 19, 2011 at 12:49 PM
subjectRe: CRS question
hide details Apr 19 (5 days ago)
Sorry to bother you again. But could you also let me know if you have to keep your offers for 30 days? It seemed to me by what you said on the forum that maybe Dave wouldn't hold you to the newly adopted 30-day rule, but I am not entirely certain about that. Its hard to get a definite answer from Dave, sometimes you must guess!
member, "from member
dateTue, Apr 19, 2011 at 3:44 PM
subjectRe: CRS question
hide details Apr 19 (4 days ago)
Not a problem at all. I asked him if I needed to keep them 30 days and he referred me to the rules..even though I signed up before they were in place. He hasn't directly answered the question, but I'm just going to keep them 30 days.
I asked him about my offers again 3 days ago and he said:
We can do it manually.
I will need all email confirmations sent to this email address.
Please number them and try and send all at the same time.
Also, Can you send me the link of the offer you completed.
So, I sent him the confirmation e-mails for the third time. One of the companies didn't send a confirmation e-mail, so I cannot even login to view my account.
I wish he would say Yes or No to the 30 day rule."
Albeit no "Yes" or "No" answer was given, Dave refered me to the gift rules as well, and made it pretty clear that everyone must go by the 30-day rule now. I'll share with you all what he said to me.
His initial response after I asked him about it:
Dave, "From: Freegiftgroupdirect
Sent: Mon, 04 Apr 2011 20:18:52 -0400
Subject: [106-152811CB-25E3] Site questions...
We are in a transition time right now and I can answer that question correctly.
Can you email me in a week and I will have the answer for you.
My reply a week later, "me"
Sent: Mon, 11 Apr 2011 16:19:38 -0400
To: Svc Acct
Subject: Re: [106-152811CB-25E3] Site questions...
I will just copy and paste what I sent you last week in hopes that you can
"I noticed a 30-day rule cancellation rule on a gift site I signed up for a
few months ago. Does this apply to me even though I registered before this
change went into effect? The site I signed up for:
Also, could you tell me how long I have? I should have about 2
left on the Gucci gift card site since we are given 180 days total. I
waited a while on this one for new offers to spring up before I did it. How
often are new offers added to your pages?"
Dave, "from Svc Acct
reply-to Svc Acct
dateWed, Apr 13, 2011 at 5:55 PM
subject[106-152811CB-25E3] Site questions...
hide details Apr 13 (10 days ago)
All gifts moving forward will be under our new rules.
Please read them carefully and if you qualify for another gift, then go ahead.
For those still interested in CRS, please see the write up on their gift rules below.
Consumers Reward Solutions-- Best known as the "Canadian company", Consumers Reward Solutions offers mega deals for trying and buying consumer products. Offers must be completed within 180 days of registration. Do your offers all in one sitting, then you must keep all but 2 offers for 30 days. Once your 30 days are up, send customer support your offer confirmations for approval. Each sponsor must provide written verification of your offer completion to CRS. Following CRS's receipt of such verification, CRS will send an e-mail message to you asking you to confirm your delivery address where your gift will be shipped. Qualification time varies by sponsor, but may be in excess of 30 days. You may even be asked to sign a release form to obtain your gift. Sign and scan your form, then send it to customer support for approval. You have 90 days from date of qualification to satisfy the fulfillment instructions. Please allow 6 to 8 weeks for shipment.
On the subject of CRS, I need to address a very important matter. In August of 2010, I presented this blog: Surf's up... In that blog, I'd written this paragraph, "There’s more. Bear with me. There is an omitted ‘S’ in “consumers” when pulling up their company, but this screen shot will confirm that whether or not an ‘S’ is in “consumers”, it is the same company. They go by both so there are no mistakes. This knowledge also proves that the above complaint is really about them." -- That was false. I received a message from Shane Crawford at ZOOZ Solutions Ltd., stating that ConsumersRewardSolutions is NOT also ConsumerRewardSolutions, as ConsumerRewardSolutions is a customer loyalty program and not an internet marketing company with a full-fledged gift program that ConsumersRewardSolutions maintains.
Shane Crawford's comment:
I am with ConsumerRewardSolutions.com (without an S on Consumer), and we are not happy that you are posting false information about our company.
“There’s more. Bear with me. There is an omitted ‘S’ in “consumers” when pulling up their company, but this screen shot will confirm that whether or not an ‘S’ is in “consumers”, it is the same company. They go by both so there are no mistakes. This knowledge also proves that the above complaint is really about them. ”
This is false, we are in no way affiliated with the ‘problem’ company. It would seem that we have chosen a poor domain name, after reading the problems people have been having with this other company. (ConsumersRewardSolutions.com)
If you have any questions for me, you can contact me through our website http://www.consumerrewardsolutions.com
My reply, "Shane,
I apologize for the mix up regarding your company. It was not done intentionally, your company was mistaken for ConsumersRewardSolutions. I take full responsibility for this mishap, however. I removed the part with your company name as well as the image that accompanied it. In my upcoming entry, I will tell members that your company, ConsumerRewardSolutions, is NOT ConsumersRewardSolutions. The name can very easily be confused with the Canadian company, ConsumersRewardSolutions, so everyone should know who is really who. I’m sorry this upset your company, that is not the purpose of this blog.
To everyone reading, myself and Shane communicated via e-mail and all is well. I feel really bad about this, and will work on clearing up this matter in May’s blog.
ConsumerRewardSolutions and ConsumersRewardSolutions can easily be mistaken for one or the other; however, these are separate companies. It is hard to tell with the letter 'S' being the only difference but there is one. What makes it more difficult is both companies are in Vancouver, BC! And they're blocks away from each other-- what are the odds??
ZOOZ Solutions, Ltd., a global web application provider since 2004, was founded by Shane Crawford, President of ZOOZ Solutions, Ltd. In 2006, ZOOZ Solutions built a web application for the pet food retail market apropos rewards management. The web site was remodelled to magnify the company's diversity in catering to any business, not solely the pet food sector. Retailers have used this trusted program since early 2007, the year ZOOZ Solutions, Ltd. was incorporated. ZOOZ Solutions still develops web sites in Vancouver, BC, though their priority is ConsumerRewardSolutions. ConsumerRewardSolutions has helped small to medium-sized businesses to national chains offer rewards loyalty programs for their customers. Short list of their happy clientele is as follows: The Valley Feed Bag, Inc., Pet Solutions Supermarket, Anipet.com, Rocklin Family Pet Shop, Mr. Pets, The Pet Store. ConsumerRewardSolutions is constantly evolving and adding features to streamline their products, making them a convenient, cost-efficient tool for any business.
In the reports below there is one for ConsumersRewardSolutions in Largo, FL, and one in Vancouver, BC.
BBB reports: http://westflorida.bbb.org/find-business-reviews/name/consumers+reward+solutions/
The first BBB report takes us here:
Consumers Reward Solutions
11350 66th St
Largo, FL 33773
I discovered the Florida connection last year but thought nothing of it. But the e-mail shown is definitely CRS since they've replied to members under that address!
The second BBB report takes us here:
765 101 1001 W Broadway
Vancouver, BC V6H 4E4
This report has all the Canadian company info laid out for us. Company and registrant name (CRS, Elise Petri...), gift sites, Broadway address, etc. It's them. Shane Crawford also denied any tie to the Largo, FL BBB report. Small details in lettering and BBB reports are often overlooked and become a big issue. I liken this to the RewardStream confusion last year: http://www.diyfreebies.com/2010/07/ -- Address and domain likeness combined CRS and RewardStream, and I do not want that happening again. My apologies once more to the President of ZOOZ Solutions, Ltd., Shane Crawford. These things happen more often than not.
Received $225.00 in Sears gift cards from MyPoints. I have to wait until the $25.00 gift card arrives before I can post a pic. The two cards shown are each $100.00. MyPoints gave me 12,494 and 9,483 in bonus points for shopping with their "new merchant double points", so that's over $150.00 in free gift cards! The bonus points were like a gift as I only made two purchases, and I got back double that amount. It really pays to be part of a points program, and its fun watching your balance grow!
*links 'n such*
http://giftpile.net/G/landing?campaignId=3530&subcid=12173530Taa13e1b369e3823#cid=3530#sid=52#vid=1748 - offers unknown, no refs/$1,000.00 check
http://giftpile.net/G/landing?campaignId=3761&subcid=44#cid=3761#sid=147#vid=1920 - offers unknown, no refs/check value of Macbook Pro
http://giftpile.net/G/landing?campaignId=3763&subcid=44#cid=3763#sid=147#vid=1752 - offers unknown, no refs/$1,000.00 check
http://giftpile.net/G/landing?campaignId=3762&subcid=44#cid=3762#sid=147#vid=1758 - offers unknown, no refs/check value of Dell laptop
http://giftpile.net/G/landing?campaignId=3626&subcid=128240&email=&ref=10003#cid=3626#sid=81#vid=1760 - offers unknown, no refs/$1,000.00 check
http://giftpile.net/G/landing?campaignId=3737&subcid=33826#cid=3737#sid=149#vid=1815 - offers unknown, no refs/$1,000.00 check
http://giftpile.net/G/landing?campaignId=3764&subcid=44#cid=3764sid=147vid=1750#sid=147#vid=1750 - offers unknown, no refs/$1,000.00 check
http://giftpile.net/G/landing?campaignId=3531&subcid=12173560T34aee2b2a38ab44#cid=3531#sid=52#vid=1754 - offers unknown, no refs/value of 2 Apple iPhone 4's
http://popular-gifts.net/G/landing?campaignId=3668&subcid=11357.13564&uid=OmDXIF8gv41pRv3bheoqDlJlPlPjGjf4#cid=3668#sid=143#vid=1690 - offers unknown, no refs/$1,000.00 check
http://giftextraordinaire.net/G/landing?campaignId=3533&subcid=agqeg#cid=3533#sid=105#vid=1769 - offers unknown, no refs/$500.00 check
http://worldrewardsnow.com/giftpage.aspx?gid=2&pubid=49301&subid=49301_preview&SID2= - 13 offers, no refs/$1,000.00 check or Home Depot gc
http://gadgetcenter.us.com/?session_id=e6257ea4705111e0be4996455407cece - 10 offers, 1 ref/Dyson DC25 animal vacuum
http://myexclusiverewards.com/rd_p?p=206244&t=15388&c=&a=16015 - 6 offers, no refs/16gb iPod nano with multi-touch technology
If you need a reliable loyalty program for your customers look no further than ConsumerRewardSolutions: www.consumerrewardsolutions.com If you need a web application ZOOZ Solutions, Ltd. can help: www.zoozsolutions.com -- Shane Crawford at ZOOZ Solutions, Ltd. changes how you connect with the online world through innovative ideas and creative designs to promote your business.
Well, that's all folks. We'll see how the disqualification situation pans out with CRS. I guess they are still "investigating" matters. Found a bunch of Consumer Gain links for those who haven't done them yet. The Ifficient link is there for testing purposes, if anyone wants to try. I cannot at this time due to a lack of offer variety on the last page. The sites I registered for worked perfectly, btw; that is a good thing! Will continue to add more links as I go, so you may want to check back in.
Bye for now,