SCAMBOOK DOESN'T CARE IF A COMPLAINT IS REAL OR FAKE

Last Update: 31 January 2013

Summary

This website provides a summary of events relating to a dispute posted on the Scambook website (www.scambook.com) on the 21/Jun/2012.

 
Latest Update: 1/Feb/2013 - I have lodged official complaints with the following California regulatory and consumer bodies: California Department of Consumer Affairs, California Department of Justice, California Secretary of State Office, Los Angeles Department of Consumer Affairs, and the Better Business Bureau.

 
My name is Louis Marshall, I run a web development business in Melbourne, Australia called Bravo Web. On the 17/Jan/2013 I was contacted by Ryan Fitzgerald from Scambook regarding a complaint listed on their website against me.

The short version is like this:

First they asked me to pay to 'investigate' the complaint against me (by becoming a member of their site). When I said I wouldn't give them my credit card details, they revealed that the claim could still be disputed via their contact page on their website.

I supplied them with lots of supporting evidence showing the claim against me was false (see the 'Supporting Evidence & Documentation' section below).

A few weeks passed and they contacted me again saying the evidence I supplied wasn't sufficient. I told them it was now time for them to contact the person making a claim against me and ask them to provide evidence. In their wacky world-view, they think it's the accused's burden to provide proof of innocence. At this point I had enough, I knew the company was bogus. They also implied again that I sign up for a paid account in order to contact the accuser.

 

What people need to understand about Scambook is that they are a business, not an impartial mediator like they claim. Like any other business, their remit is to make money, and they do this primarily by getting businesses to pay to have negative comments against them removed via their fake 'dispute resolution process'.

The complaint against me was made-up by an individual who had been harassing me in June/2012 (more on this in a moment). However, from research and recent events I believe it's quite possible that Scambook also fabricates
complaints to extort money from businesses.

Timeline of Significant Events

This section lists key dates and events relating to the dispute between me (Louis Marshall) and Scambook.

15 July 2012 → a complaint is lodged against me on the Scambook website. I don't know anything about it because my spam filter ate up the email (Gmail is very accurate when it comes to gobbling up spam).

20 July 2012 → Scambook send me another automatic email, I don't know anything about it since it got gobbled up by my spam filter again. I guess Scambook was keen to 'get my business'.

17 January 2013 Ryan Fitzgerald (ryan@scambook.com) contacts me to let me know there's a complaint listed on their site about my business (bless his heart). Apparently Ryan is a Senior Business Investigator.

17 January 2013 → I take the bait and tell Ryan Fitzgerald that I'm interested in disputing the claim and proceed to send him a bunch of supporting evidence showing the claim against me is false (see 'Support Evidence & Documentation' below). The key piece of evidence is an excerpt of my PayPal records showing no transaction for the amount claimed by my accuser on the date he said (i.e. the transaction never happened).

17 January 2013 Ryan Fitzgerald tells me that I need to sign-up for a 'free' account on their website in order to dispute the claim.

17 January 2013 → I go to sign-up for an account on their website to dispute the claim. I find that the 'free' account requires me to provide my credit card number. I tell Ryan I don't want to pay to have the claim investigated, he said a credit card number is required to "verify [me] and [my] business".

17 January 2013 → I tell Ryan that he's not getting my credit card number. That I see a conflict of interest here, that on the one hand a person can post a complaint against me for free, but I have to pay to have it investigated. I tell him there are other effective ways to verify people besides asking them for their credit card number (e.g. how online dating websites do it).

17 January 2013 Ryan now reveals there's another way to dispute the claim against me. One that doesn't require me to pay. However, he attempts an 'upsell' by saying it will take longer to investigate and there's "no guarantees it will get removed." This implies that if I pay, the complaint would definitely get removed.

17 January 2013 → I submit my dispute using their 'non-paid' method.

18 January 2013 Brian Taylor (brian@scambook.com) of Scambook contacts me to ask why I didn't complete my registration. I tell him I don't want to pay for their service. He gives me some line about credit cards being used for 'verification purposes' and also says "Unfortunately, it does not sound like you have any interest in addressing your profile or resolving your consumer complaints". Really? I've just spent hours gathering evidence and talking to Ryan.

22 January 2013 → I receive an email from Scambook saying I need to provide more evidence. I now realize this is a selling method designed to get me into dialogue again with Scambook, so their 'sales guys' can attempt to sell me something again.

22 January 2013 → I tell Scambook they need to contact the person making the complaint against me to get evidence from them.

30 January 2013 → Scambook tell me I need to provide more evidence again. It's becoming clear now that no matter how much evidence I provide them, it somehow wouldn't be good enough. It would keep going until I finally paid them to remove the complaint (their plan from the start).


30 January 2013 → Scambook tell me "...the burden of proof falls on you". What hog-wash, and especially considering I have already provided proof. Even if the proof wasn't good, it's the accuser's job now to disprove it.

30 January 2013 → I tell Scambook don't worry about it, they can keep their claim on their website and I will dispute it elsewhere (on my blog, etc.). I start doing some research and find other people are saying Scambook is not a legitimate business (e.g. www.scambookscam.com).

30 January 2013 → There's a few more emails back and forth where I say I'm going to put the word out about how they're dodgy. Scambook continue with their ruse, trying to make out like they are a legitimate business. I'm not buying it any more - I've had enough of their lies.


Supporting Evidence & Documentation

In this section, I'm going to show documents which backup my claim (something Scambook doesn't require people to do when making a complaint against you).

The first set of evidence shows that the claim against me is false. The second lot of evidence shows Scambook's deplorable behavior when I tried to dispute the claim against me.

This is the false complaint made against me on Scambook's website:
Scambook False Complaint
http://www.scambook.com/company/reports/64637/Bravo-Web-Package

Note: 'gino' is a pseudonym (alias) used by the guy who was harassing me in 2012. His real name is Paul. He was 'displeased' with me because I was dating his ex-girlfriend.

Also, very suspcious behaviour on Scambook's part, they actually altered the posting details later:
scambook fake complaint

The original screenshot of the complaint shows the poster as 'gino22' and the date as 21/Jun/2012. If you go to the link now, you can see they've altered the name to 'lenny88' and changed the date to 26/Jun/2012 for some reason.
___


As part of the campaign of harassment, a form was filled out by someone pretending to be me, saying I wanted to donate money to a charity:

harassment by paul

It's my personl opinion that this form was filled out by Paul. This could be verified by hand-writing comparison if someone was so inclined. The bank (Westpac) spotted that this was not my signature and reported the crime to their frauds division. Note: the account number listed on the form no longer exists, I had to cancel this account because of continued theft from it.

___

This is a death threat SMSed to me by Paul:
death threat by paul

In addition to the theft of my money and threats, there was other harassing behavior (e.g. stalking, interference with property, etc). The only reason why I didn't report the matter to the police is because Paul suffers from 'problems' which made me believe police involvement wouldn't of helped the situation. In the end, the harassment stopped after I contacted him mum (effectively his carer), and discussed the problem with her. He is very lucky to have such a caring mum.

___

This is an excerpt of my PayPal transactions during the period Paul claims I sold him a website:

scambook fake complaint

You can see that there is no transaction on the date Paul claims (i.e. 21/Jun/2012) for $850. Scambook has this excerpt but said it wasn't 'sufficient evidence'. Fine, then get Paul to show you his PayPal transaction record for the period showing the transaction.

This is the email correspondence between me and Scambook showing how the conversation unfolds. The email correspondence is also available to download as PDF file → scambook-fake-complaint-against-louis-marshall.pdf (4 MB).

Notice that 'til the very end they still push the image that they are a legitimate business; whilst subtly implying a number of times that payment was required to 'investigate' or 'remove' the complain against me:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to Do if You've been Scammed by Scambook

If you've had unsatisfactory dealings with Scambook (e.g. they attempted to coerce you into paying to have a complaint against you removed or 'investigated', they ignored evidence you provided them refuting a claim against you, etc.), I'd encourage you to lodge an official complaint with one (or all) of the following agencies:

California Department of Justice (←online complaint form)
California Secretary of State Office
Los Angeles Department of Consumer Affairs
Better Business Bureau

It's also important to let other people know about your experience so the word gets out there not to trust the proclamations of Scambook. I suggest posting on forums, or posting on your Facebook page, blog, etc.

 

Websites Refuting Scambook's Legitimacy

Would you be surprised that there's a lot of websites out there complaining about Scambook? I was, early on I thought Scambook was a legitimate business, but that's the beauty of their business, they are wolves in sheep's clothing.

Is Scambook a scam itself
www.scambookscam.com
Scambook Extortion?
International Offshore Law & Affiliates
scambook.com are a bunch of thieves extorting your money
Scambook Extortion? Is Scambook A Scam?

...and lots more. Many people have spotted the deceptive and immoral nature of Scambook's 'business model'.

 

Contact

If you'd like to get in touch with me to discuss this matter, please use the following details:

 

Email: louis_mar@hotmail.com

Phone: +61 401 151 599 (SMS if you ring and don't get me at first)

 

Beware of RedBalloon - I'd like to advise people to be cautious when dealing with RedBalloon (www.redballoon.com.au). I had $390 worth of credit with them which went missing. It was only after lodging a claim with VCAT that they finally agreed to return the missing money. These guys aren't great people to deal with, they really need to have a think about how they do business in my opinion.