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Sales Seminar Questions

By Michael Jordan
WSAV News 3, 8/22/2001

This article is reprinted without permission from WSAV.com under the fair use doctrine. © 2001 Media General
Original url: http://www.wsav.com/consumer/MGBIPJBJPQC.html

A News 3 viewer sent us an e-mail to tell us about a sales seminar she was invited to attend at the DeSoto Hilton in downtown Savannah. Elsie Millican did some digging - and wants you to know what she discovered. Elsie said, "I'd like the public to know about it. Do the homework, check on them. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." Elsie's talking about a packet of information she received in the mail describing a business opportunity.

Promoters want you to attend a three-day seminar in Savannah to learn about investing in snack and soda vending machines. The brochures really make it sound great, saying:

You can have it all -- more money than you've ever dreamed of -- and the time and freedom to enjoy it.
The info packet promises an $1,150 rebate check towards the purchase of your own vending machines if you'll attend the seminar.

Elsie did an internet search of the company Natural Choise USA. It turns out Natural Choice and its parent company paid a million dollars to the Federal Trade Commission back in 1996. This was because of allegations that Natural Choice misled people by exaggerating the money they could make with vending machines. According to the FTC, Natural Choice tries to convince customers to buy packages that include a snack, sode, and change machine. The FTC says some of the people who gave testimonials at Natural Choice seminars in the past were actually being paid to speak.

The Georgia Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs doesn't have any complaints on file about Natural Choice since the early nineties, and the FTC won't comment on whether there are any investigations underway now. But an FTC spokesperson has some advice for you if you're planning to attend this weekend's seminar in Savannah:

Experts say the vending machine business is hard to break into. Don't be pressured by high-pressure sales tactices to make a quck investment in anything. Like Elsie Millican says, If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. When it comes to money, if they're paying you to start a business, check them out. It won't hurt a bit.

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