Based on customer complaints and customer reviews on file, Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota ® (BBB) is issuing a warning about HOMEsoft Systems Incorporated, which claims an address in Spring Lake Park, Minnesota. BBB has heard from consumers who paid money upfront for training materials they never received and job opportunities which never materialized. The company has an F rating with BBB.
“Beyond complaints from people stating they never received what they paid for, we have questions about the company,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “They haven’t provided much tangible information in response to our inquiries, so it’s impossible to say whether they simply got in over their heads or if there was ever an actual business behind these employment offers.”
Customers began contacting BBB – through customer reviews they posted – earlier this year alleging the company was seeking nearly $3,000 upfront for employment opportunities as independent sales contractors in the home security industry. Soon after, complaints began coming in from consumers who said they had accepted employment offers from the company, paid $45 for training materials and then were left in limbo. BBB has received four complaints of this nature. Three of those complaints have been closed unanswered; the other complaint is currently pending.
In late July, BBB learned that the address claimed by HOMEsoft Systems Incorporated – a virtual office in downtown Minneapolis – was no longer valid. From there, a consumer provided a secondary address in Spring Lake Park. BBB is attempting to determine whether there is anyone on the premises. There is signage on the office suite they rent, however the door was locked during business hours when a BBB staffer visited the premises recently. BBB has also tried to call the phone number listed on the company’s website: 888-670-4417. That number is not in service and has been out of service for many weeks.
However, the company’s web portal is operational and it appears interested job applicants can still purchase the company’s training packages. Based on complaints on file and many unanswered questions, BBB advises the public to be wary of any employment listings or offers made by HOMEsoft Systems Incorporated.
BBB has made several attempts to contact HOMEsoft Systems Incorporated. A company representative has provided emailed responses to BBB inquiries. In those responses, HOMEsoft’s representative stated they are very active trying to open offices in other states. They also said their phone issues were due to a switch they made when “their online phone service wasn’t working well.” BBB replied to that by noting any legitimate business would make it a priority to ensure their phones were working. The company didn’t respond to that observation.
Here are some additional red flags to watch out for when searching online for employment opportunities:
- Personal financial information is required – Never give out your financial information such as your credit card number, bank account number, Social Security number, etc. to someone you don’t know – especially online.
- They request that you pay an upfront fee prior to employment – A legitimate job offer will never require payment upfront.
- The potential employer hesitates to answer general questions about the job – If the person interviewing you is vague or dodges questions about what the company does or what type of work you’ll be doing, be cautious.
- Promises of good pay with minimal effort – This could be a sign of a “work at home” or pyramid scheme. Remember, if everyone could make a living wage working from home, everyone would do it. And pyramid schemes are illegal and not sustainable over time.
BBB advises job applicants to research firms before applying for or accepting a position by visiting bbb.org. Suspect job listings should also be reported to BBB and the employment website or publication where the advertisement is listed.