St. Louis, Mo., Nov. 13, 2013
– Better Business Bureau
(BBB) is advising extreme caution to companies considering doing business with New Heights Development & Research
, a sales lead company with offices in north St. Louis County.
Financial planners across the nation have told BBB they paid the company between $1,400 and $2,000 each to provide guaranteed customer leads for their businesses, but New Heights reneged on the agreements and has refused to refund their money.
“I was just too trusting,” said a businesswoman from Menlo Park, Calif. She paid New Heights $1,500 eight months ago for seven appointments with potential customers. She said she has received no appointments and has been unable get any of her money returned, despite the company’s printed guarantee of a full refund.
“I want my $1,500 back,” said a financial planner from Spring Park, Minn., who said the company promised him seven appointments more than a year ago, but has produced nothing.
New Heights Development & Research has offices at 12420 Lusher Rd., in the Spanish Lake area of St. Louis County. The company has an “F” rating with BBB, the lowest possible. New Heights has not responded to several complaints filed with BBB.
Michelle Corey, BBB president and CEO, said customers of New Heights have a right to be angry.
“This company has an ethical obligation to either provide the services it promised or give these businesses their money back,” Corey said. “For New Heights to treat its customers like this is indefensible.”
Records with the Missouri secretary of state list Jeremy Steven Moyer
as the registered agent and sole organizer of New Heights. The records show that the company registered in Missouri in October 2012.
Most customer complaints are from financial or retirement planners who said they first learned of New Heights’ services through an email solicitation. They said they paid the company after assurances that the company’s call center operators would contact potential customers and make guaranteed appointments for their businesses. The complainants said New Heights promised to supply customers with at least $250,000 in investable assets.
“They were promising to put people into chairs,” said a financial planner from Newport Beach, Calif., who paid New Heights $1,500. “They didn’t put one person in a chair.”
A woman from Flemington, N.J., who said she got nothing in return for a $1,400 payment, told BBB that most of those being hurt by New Heights are “newbies” in the financial planning business who can ill afford to lose money. “I am a single mom of a two-year-old . . . I am heartbroken.”
Other cases involved the purchase of simple lead lists – lists of several hundred names that the businesses could use to contact about their services. Two complainants, including a financial advisor from Kirkwood, Mo., said they tried to get refunds after they spent hours calling people on the list. They discovered that many of the numbers were either disconnected, unanswered, or were answered by people who were not interested in working with a financial advisor or who already were customers of the caller’s company.
“They had a commitment to me and they broke it,” said the Kirkwood businessman who paid $450 for a batch of dead-end leads.
“It was very frustrating,” said a man from Clearwater, Fla., who paid $400 for a lead list, but got no business. “It’s just not right.”
A man who answered the company’s door on Lusher Road last week told a BBB investigator that the company was still open for business. He said he would have either Moyer or Steve Stacks
, identified as another company official, contact BBB about consumer concerns. No one has contacted BBB.
The company also has not respond to a BBB letter outlining a pattern of consumer complaints.
The company’s website at www.newheightsdr.com
says the company founders “had one goal in mind, to go above and beyond all competition by generating our own leads in-house and guaranteeing our information.”
BBB offers the following tips for businesses considering buying guaranteed leads or lead lists:
- Deal only with reputable companies that provide these services. Ask for the names of satisfied customers and call or write them before signing a contract.
- Be wary of promises from salespeople that are not part of a written contract and read any contract or agreement carefully before making any payments upfront.
- Try to find out how the lead list was compiled. Did a consumer respond to an online questionnaire? Was he or she screened in a prior phone call? If you are not satisfied with the responses, it might be best to walk away from the deal.
- Be careful of purchasing lead lists for what seems like a very low cost.
- Pay by credit card in the event you may want to challenge the purchase at a future date.
- Contact BBB for a BBB Business Review by visiting www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.
Contacts (News Media Only): Michelle Corey, President & CEO, 314-645-0606, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Chris Thetford, Vice President-Communications, 314-584-6743, email@example.com, or Bill Smith, Trade Practice Investigator, 314-584-6727, firstname.lastname@example.org