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Scammy mail: The K-Designers example - Vakkotaur

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August 5th, 2006


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01:15 pm - Scammy mail: The K-Designers example


I've mentioned this bit of scammy advertising (here and here) that attempts to trick the recipient of a post card into calling a number so as to bypass any Do Not Call listings. Since then, I've gotten yet another card from these jokers.

This time I didn't just toss it. Instead, I've scanned it so it can be an example for me to point out a few things. Also, I'm transcribing it so that search engines can find this entry and match it to any inquiries based on the text or phone numbers.




Notice a few things about this. First, there is no return address. That's suspicious as whoever sent it doesn't want anyone to know who they really are. There is no stamp, nor the typical post office applied postage, but something obviously from a place that sends out a lot of mail. Also, see that line with "AUTO**5-DIGIT"? That means that it's part of a mass-mailing. There were enough of these that sorting them all by ZIP code was beneficial to the sender to get a lower postage rate on the lot.



Ah, the incredible state of almost. The bulk-printed script that tries so hard to seem like personal writing so utterly fails. The emphasis on FREE is suspicious as is the short time limit. If this was truly an "award" then they wouldn't have to say "free" and certainly not twice, now would they?

It's also amusing that it opens with "I've been unable to reach you..." when there is obviously contact information is known enough to let them mail this.



The full text of the back of this alleged post card is as follows:

I've been unable to reach you about a free gift. Please call 1-800-728-3902 within the next five days to find out how to receive your FREE George Foreman Grill.

Chris Johnson

Awards Coordinator

And just to make it a bit easier for searches, that phone number not to call is 18007283902 or 8007283902 or 1 800 728 3902 or 1-800-728-3902 or 800-728-3902.

For anyone who didn't bother with the links and wonders just who these jokers are and what this about, this is from K-Designers and they want people to call them so they can try to sell siding. Supposedly if you endure their sales pitch(es) you will actually eventually get a grill. Gee, why don't they say who they are or what their product is before people call?

Looking around the net some, it seems they went with this gimmick when Do Not Call went into effect and they couldn't interrupt your supper anymore. That should give some idea of how ethical these jokers are.



UPDATE 03 November 2008:

In the space of a few minutes from 3:23 CST to 3:31 CST (by LiveJournal's clock) today there were several posts all from IP Address (140.239.81.98) each claiming to be a different satisfied customer, in at least three different states. All from the very same IP address. All in a few minutes. What does that mean? One person, using the same computer, pretending to be multiple people. This is called Astroturfing as it is an attempt to appear to be a grassroots thing but is, like astroturf, not the real thing. This is the second time someone at a single IP claimed to be multiple people, all of whom happened to be defending K-Designers. I hardly need to say what this says about the company, or at the very least about some of its employees.



UPDATE 22 AUGUST 2009

They have a new card now. It's still a "free gift, call us" ploy, but at least now the card has K-Designers' return address as an identifying mark.


Current Mood: annoyedannoyed

(84 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:tkcoyote
Date:August 5th, 2006 07:15 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Working at the postal centers, I see a lot of these letters (man, a whole lot of them) and I get severely annoyed by them knowing most folks just throw them away. I feel they should be charged a larger fee for sending them in bulk, but no...they get a discount. It's cheaper if they send more out. What makes even more work for me (which I should be grateful for?) is when the customers simply write "Refused" on it and send it back. I get to deal with that letter all over again. Hehe...so one has to ask how they're making money. They pay for these letters to be sent out, they pay for their telemarketers to bother people once they call, and they give them a supposed free grill? Oh, let's not forget the triple shipping and handling charges as well as "We're going to sell you this frying pan for $150 and get this grill absolutely free!!!" It's kind of amusing in a way. :)
[User Picture]
From:vakkotaur
Date:August 5th, 2006 07:37 pm (UTC)
(Link)

If they were honest enough to have a return address and show themselves to be trying sell something right on the card then I could use USPS Form 1500 and put a stop to it. So these spammy folks have gotten around that, too, dagnabbit. You're right, all this does is waste trees. How is it all paid for? Well, I suspect they have a high turnover from paying as little as they get can get away with and there likely are a few suckers that actually fall for this crap. And those suckers get to pay for all the scammy advertising.

Funny - (Anonymous) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 16th, 2007 04:08 am (UTC)
(Link)
Thanks for posting this information. Today I received one of these stupid postcards- I'm glad I read your blog, now I know for sure not to call. Thanks!
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 24th, 2007 03:57 am (UTC)

Annoyed as well

(Link)
Just received one today. You will probably be interested to know that your post may have made a difference in the way this company advertises! well, kind of. The wording is identical, except for the signature. Its now signed:
Chris Johnson
Awards Coordinator
K-Designers

-What still makes it a scam is their not admitting what their REALLY contacting you about. They talk themselves into believing their actually in the right because its your choice to call, your choice to listen, and your choice to buy. I made my choice before I got 5 feet from the mail box.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 16th, 2007 04:24 am (UTC)

Thanks 8~)

(Link)
Thanks for the info. I kinda figured there had to be a catch.
8~)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 22nd, 2007 04:05 am (UTC)

Me too

(Link)
I got one today as well. Mine is identical to yours. Though I wasn't fooled at all, I thought it was pretty sneaky so figured I would Google it to find out who it was.

Thanks!
From:(Anonymous)
Date:April 26th, 2007 07:46 pm (UTC)

Re: Me too

(Link)
i got a phone call fro these guys and decided i would google the number and it took me here :P seems these guys are scammers. Im gonna go light a joint and call them back and bitch them out. or at least mess with them!
From:(Anonymous)
Date:June 28th, 2007 10:43 pm (UTC)

1-800-SAVE-902 or 18007283902

(Link)
The lastest is now a postcard that just says:

Congratulations!
You have won a FREE GIFT!
Call Immediately to receive your free gift.
1-800-728-3902
(1-800-SAVE-902)

Absolutely FREE
J.E.I
From:(Anonymous)
Date:July 17th, 2007 01:56 am (UTC)

Re: 1-800-SAVE-902 or 18007283902

(Link)
I just got the same card.
I actually hope they call me because I'm on the National DNC register.
I've gotten several hundred dollars in settlements for phone calls.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:July 25th, 2007 08:03 am (UTC)

i rather have this then a phone call though.

(Link)
i work for a advertising firm and we see this a lot, but to tell you the truth this is the best way. You guys might think badly of it, which is fine, but if K Designers advertised in the traditional sense like a few of my clients do, the cost would be far greater, meaning the cost is then passed on to the consumer because the company is not going to pay it. When you think about it.... when is the last time you called off a billboard or a TV add after you saw it? 40 sheet billboards (the big ones on the side of freeways) through Viacom on a 16 week contract can far exceed $80,000.00 and thats just one.... imagine if you are trying to advertise in every city your in! In the end, i don't like junk mail anymore then the next person out their but i rather have more mail and less radio/tv/freeway adds.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:August 6th, 2007 02:01 pm (UTC)
(Link)
i just got one with newer print saying "Congratulations! you have won a FREE GIFT" etc. thanks for creating this page. i knew it was a scam but wanted to check to see how wide ranging it reached.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 7th, 2007 07:18 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I received a call flyer that said I won a Free Gift from the Jetson Enterprises, Inc. or J.E.I. at 1-800-728-3902. When, I called, the woman said the company was located in Sacramento and offered us a free George Foreman grill and an Anniversary pen. I was offered a free presentation to show me their windows & siding as a promotional opportunity at a deeply discounted rate. In return, I had to choose to replace windows or siding and advertise for their company by giving a list of referrals and placing their sign on my lawn. I declined their offer. When I checked the Internet, the number came up under K-Designers located in the bay area or No. California area-not Sacramento. Should use receive a similar offer, I would cross-reference their information. These companies must provide their 'free gift' or can be turned into the Better Business Bureau.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 3rd, 2008 02:17 am (UTC)

K Designers

(Link)
they do actually have a K Designers is the sacramento area, the actual city it's in is rancho cordova... I've been looking for jobs and they called me in for an interview after less than a week - which made me a little wary... then I went in for an interview today and it was like the guy was trying to talk me in to taking the job... He was showing me examples of how much i could make, all the "bonuses" they offer... companies usually don't tell you how much you'll make at the first interview, much less advertise it to you. I called my friend who knows companies in the area I live pretty well... turns out she works for K designers for 2 weeks and didn't make squat. It was a long time ago though... if anyone knows more about how much KD's employees ACTUALLY make... please reply.
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Re: K Designers - (Anonymous) - Expand
Re: K Designers - (Anonymous) - Expand
Re: K Designers - (Anonymous) - Expand
Re: K Designers - (Anonymous) - Expand
From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 18th, 2007 05:27 pm (UTC)

1-800-SAVE-902 or 1-800-728-302

(Link)
I received a similar card - although this card had my Name (or current resident) and complete address - even zip+4
THe card is printed in large fonts - easily read - the card is orange the print is black !
I am happly that I checked this out through Google - As I had no intention of calling the number for a "Free Gift" in any event.
Thanks for the posting
khopp@ideaone.net
From:(Anonymous)
Date:December 9th, 2007 03:00 am (UTC)

Re: 1-800-SAVE-902 or 1-800-728-302

(Link)
Thank you for posting all of this information!

I just got one of these for the first time today. The card in circulation now does not list the grill, it's orange with black lettering with "CONGRATULATIONS!" at the top, and separate lines for each of: "You have won a FREE GIFT!"; "Call IMMEDIATELY to receive your gift"; "1-800-728-3902"; "(1-800-SAVE-902)" and "Absolutely FREE". At the very bottom it says "J.E.I."
-DLE in Banks Oregon
From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 16th, 2008 06:35 am (UTC)

An "Ethical" company

(Link)
I also had a "wonderful opportunity" to work for K-Designers. The company Managers love to repeat "How ethical our company is" while their "ethics" is based on reaping people in two levels - both homeowners and their own Sales Reps who they call "Marketing Directors". Poor ethics starts right from this "position". Sales Reps are encouraged to show up as "big shots" telling homeowners that they are "not a commission sales people", but "Marketing Directors", so they don't care about making a sale but rather want to "establish a promotional home in the neighborhood". This is total lie as these Sales Reps are mostly very new employees who are deeply in need to make a sale and a living. Which is, in turn, hardly possible because of the company business system, "designed" to take maximum profits out of Sales Reps' hard work.
Sales Reps ("Marketing Directors") are not employees but independent contractors, and are on 100% commission with ZERO reimbursement for absolutely anything - gas, very long miles, lodging, tolls etc. Average week ends with 1000-1500 miles on the odometer. No benefits, insurance, holiday pays etc. The Management deducts all expenses on each deal from the Reps' commission.
Charging everything to homeowners and Reps really makes the company "debt-free". Not many people can stand there long, and 99% leave within a month or two, in worse financial stage than when they joined the company. Just a couple of managers remain the same in each branch (there are 18 or 19 branches around), because they ARE employees with all benefits.
This is an "Exclusive family club", nicely "designed" to reap profits by all means. This is definitely NOT an ethical company no matter how good the products can be. The products are really good, but K-Designers produce NOTHING - they are simply resellers of quality products made by Revere, LBL Windows and a couple more good companies. The average markup is about 50%.
Advice to homeowners: if you have enough guts and power to resist to malicious sales practices - agree to see K-Designers' presentation, say "NO" 5-10-15 times, let the Rep to drop the price at least by 50%, and then you may sign-up and get a good product at the fair price. If you know that you can be convinced - you better stay away from them.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 24th, 2008 10:39 am (UTC)

Re: An "Ethical" company

(Link)
I have read everything stated above, and I hope to give anyone who reads the reviews a brief explanation of what all this means. K-Designers, tells everybody they could/can be a promotional home for them. The reason they do this is due to the unbelievable cost of advertising elsewhere (ex. 1 billboard in Sacramento is over $20,000 per month). K-Designers has decided to take the millions of dollars they would need to invest in advertising and split it down the middle with their homeowners. K-Designers is one of the more expensive outfits to do business with and no one can deny that, the reason for this is due to their absolute dedication to consumer/employee satisfaction. The customers of k-designers receive the highest quality service, installation and warranty. The employee’s receive full medical, retirement and advancement opportunities. The Marketing Directors (contractors) receive mileage reimbursement, hotel reimbursement and have an option of participating in the company medical insurance plan. Many people above have stated none of this is true, and I can’t imagine why they would. Moving forward though. As you have probably already figured out I work for K-Designers (currently), I have been with the company for over 8 years and was a Marketing Director for over 3 years. I to this day remain friends with homeowners who did business with us years back. So to end all this I want to tell you about a homeowner in San Francisco that K-Designers did work for. “A little bit of time ago K-Designers fully remodeled a home in SF that cost close to $20K, the homeowner soon after passed away. The children who inherited the home were unable to pay for the project, K-Designers told the children they were very sorry for the loss they had, and as a gift to them, they could keep the home they grew up in, k-designer would pay the balance of the loan.” In the end, we are not the least expensive, we obviously cannot guarantee our salesman a commission check, but we can guarantee you peace of mind when you contact us. We truly do our best to keep everybody happy, but in the end with tens of thousands of customers some our bound to be upset, and we all know someone out there that cannot be made happy regardless what you do for them, but we try. On a side not; The owner of the company every year has presents delivered to families that cannot afford to give their children gifts for Christmas, he also volunteers his time to work feeding the homeless and fixing up homes for needy families. I found out about this company from a volunteer at the church, that volunteer was the owner of K-Designers.


From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 27th, 2008 08:03 pm (UTC)

WHY THE BIG DEAL

(Link)
WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL. THEY SENT A POST CARD FOR YOU TO CALL IF YOU WANTED TO RECEIVE A FREE GIFT. YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO CALL. IT APPEARS THAT YOU HAVE TO MUCH TIME ON YOUR HANDS AND SHOULD PROBABLY CONSIDER GETTING A HOBBY.
[User Picture]
From:vakkotaur
Date:October 27th, 2008 08:41 pm (UTC)
(Link)
They sent a few post cards. Eventually I scanned one to use as an example of scammy advertising. I am surprised at how much attention this got and how worked up some folks are over it. It's also interesting that a post from 2006 is still getting such rabid attention in late 2008. Myself, if it weren't for the e-mail alerts that LiveJournal sends when a new comment was left here, I wouldn't think about this post any more.

I am tempted to say that my hobby is outing fraudsters and scammers, but as I said above, if it weren't for folks responding to this posting I'd hardly even think of it. I really must thank all of the folks who have replied. Your responses have brought me far more amusement than I had ever expected from such a mundane posting.
vakkotaur - (Anonymous) - Expand
Re: vakkotaur - (Anonymous) - Expand
K Design - (Anonymous) - Expand
From:(Anonymous)
Date:April 12th, 2009 02:03 am (UTC)
(Link)
Thanks for this post. Just got a postcard from them (it is now April 2009) and knew right away it was scammy but wanted to check out what exactly they were up to.

Found a reference of them dating back to 2003 with this same racket:
pg 57 - Fleecing Grandma & Grandpa
http://books.google.com/books?id=-wQlCXZllv8C&pg=PA56&lpg=PA56&dq=%221+800+728+3902%22&source=bl&ots=v89QVrlDqT&sig=OVzjQhrJIOlwM5q_NRmj6SIw9AI&hl=en&ei=nz7hSbK4D5eStAPbsdW3CQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=20#PPA57,M1

as well as on several of the "who called us" type websites like:
http://800notes.com/Phone.aspx/1-800-728-3902

http://www.callercomplaints.com/SearchResult.aspx?Phone=800-728-3902

Also check out:

http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/k-designers-c122297.html

Thanks for helping to shed light on these scumbags.

From:(Anonymous)
Date:April 29th, 2009 08:03 am (UTC)
(Link)
It's funny that some people think "they should get something for nothing". If you didn't want to get the presentation, you should have said NO! You gave some up some of your time, and got a FREE Geroge Foreman... Sure you gave up some of your time, but your time must be that valuable if you have nothing better to do then to trash the companies that send you junk mail. These companies are doing creative marketing, and your getting basically a "free gift". Next time just say "NO", and I do not work for this company!!
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 7th, 2009 11:00 pm (UTC)

THE K-DEISNGER RIP OFF

(Link)
Yes, I worked for them a short time also here in Clackamas Oregon. All of the sleeze ball tactics are correct. Google K-Designers scams. They like to rip off old and ignorant people. They also rip off the sales people. It was so sleezy that it took many showers to get rid of the feeling. I went on at least 10 sales calls with my managers and they could not close a single one of those crappy appointments and they got to hand pick the good ones for themselves which were all local of coarse. Is all I can say is . . .RUN . . .. Run very fast from this company. You will be burned either way!
From:(Anonymous)
Date:August 1st, 2009 03:49 am (UTC)

k-designers

(Link)
I just returned from applying for a salesman’s position with K-Designers or as K-Designers call them "Marketing Directors “ or MD’s). I sure wish I had researched the company before I wasted an afternoon. I had posted my resume on careerbuilder.com, a site I have been fairly impressed with. I received a call from corporate headquarters in California saying how impressed they were with my resume and would I consider coming in for an interview. The first clue should have been that there was a team of recruiters and it mattered not with one you talked to. I asked for the local managers phone number, should I have a problem, and was told to call California, (clue two). Once I arrived I noticed the front reception counter piled high with literature and brochures. The person in the front office was assembling binders. I had to do an extremely brief application that was not much more than name address and phone numbers. Then before I was allowed to get up off the cheesy uncomfortable couch I was directed to sit on to fill out my job app I was told I had to watch a brief educational DVD. While watching the DVD I overheard the lady making binders say she was preparing them for the next training session. (Clue 3) I mean there were a lot of binders. I was than met by the manager and taken to his office. He had to tell me how everything worked, starting how the corporate office headhunters contacted me (duha!)

I have almost 40 years in the construction business. Most of those years I have owned my own successful contracting business. I have a college degree. I know my trade. Anyway for approximately 20 minuets the manager told me how I should of ran my business, and how I surly had made every mistake in the book and how K-Designers was the only company really doing things right. He also told me how their products were extremely unique to the market. In the past 40 years I have work with many of the companies K-Designers represent and knew he was taking liberties with reality. I was tempted to get up and walk out. It was the worst, most unprofessional interview I have ever been in. I felt it was a total joke and waste of time. Never once was I asked about my education or my commitment to my customers, or my abilities. I asked if salesman were reimbursed for travel and expenses and was told there was a program for that, no specifics. I was told K-designers salesmen were not known to worry about money.

As I left the interview I literally felt dirty. I stopped at my sons’ house on the way home and told my daughter in law I felt like I needed to take a shower… My recommendation to anyone thinking about either working for K-designers or purchasing any of their products is to do your research. I know if I had done mine I wouldn’t have wasted a half a day of my life.

K-Designers dose represent some well-known manufacturers but from what I could tell they do not manufacture anything themselves, they are simply resellers. Their products can be purchased from most reputable suppliers and installers. With that in mind remember the salesman or MD’s as they call them is working on commission and this I can say with confidence from my interviewing experience is he may or may not have building experience. It was quite obvious that technical building experience was not of any interest with the manager I interviewed with. Your new project will only be as good as the installers they send. (Look, they know this and will stress the way they hand pick their installers but how do you know?) With that in mind consider calling the products distributor in your area. They will usually be more than happy to supply you with reputable dealers and installers. You will most likely end up saving between 20 to 50 percent on your job, remember someone has to pay the MD, salesman and that someone is you. At the very least don’t sign anything until you have had a chance to check out references and do your homework. Try to find your references on your own. A business isn’t going to give you a customer’s name they had trouble with.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 3rd, 2009 07:05 am (UTC)

Re: k-designers

(Link)
Sad thing is, you didn't even work for the company, yet you still take the time and trouble to criticize a company you truthfully did not do your due diligence about. So you wasted an afternoon. but did you really? You may never know, but to ramble on and on about a company with 142,000 HAPPY customers over 31 years, perhaps it is jealousy over their success that drives you? I purchased products from this company several times. Happy with the end result. fulfilled on their promises. What you buy with K-Designers is the peace of mind that if you need them, they will be there for you. For me, that is more than enough. Please beware of ex employees who fail. Customers that you could never please, and people who have never worked for a company yet have the time in their day to make false accusations about a leader in theri industry. do your homework. If you do, you will be happy with the end result.
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Re: k-designers - (Anonymous) - Expand
From:(Anonymous)
Date:June 18th, 2010 02:23 am (UTC)

Re: k-designers

(Link)
I just find it interesting that some of these posts, allegedly different complaints from various customers and former employees, are written in the exact same style, even the same words are misspelled and the grammar is the same. This leads me to believe that some of the complaints are illegitimate.

Too bad, because I interviewed with them this week, and I was hoping to get accurate information, not merely reports from the same person over and over again.

By the way, I have an M.A. in English, so the similar grammatical mistakes were not hard to miss.

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