Saturday, May 25, 2013

Follow-Up to February 14 Post: Attention Authors, Have You Received a Call Like This?

On February 14th of this year I made a blog post about a telephone call I received from a service claiming to promote authors. Today the following was posted on Goodreads as a followup to my post. Very Interesting.

Your instincts were correct in dealing with Close-Up TV News.
I wanted to share with you my experiences with Close-Up TV News. Understand my experience is not unique. This is a telemarketing scheme - scam - and hordes of people are affected. They are being investigated by the FL, CA and NY Offices of Attorney General, the BBB and the FBI Melville, NY office. This is not the first fraud scam that has been perpetuated by these people.
Close-Up TV News contacted me via telephone and led me to believe that I was contracting for interviews on Close-UP TV News. The paperwork I later received referred to Close-Up Talk Radio. Never did anything or anyone refer to or use “blog talk radio”. I actually did not know until about two minutes before the interview, when I called-in for the interview, that the interview was being conducted under “blog talk radio”, NOT Close-Up TV News or Close-Up TV News Radio. That was extremely misleading and a misrepresentation on their part.
In my case, the services Close-Up TV News provided were, and are not in dispute:
  • The 4 interviews
  • The 30 second promotions
  • The DVD recordings
  • Press release with photo or video distribution to major news outlets - there was nothing personalized about this. The release was distributed through a random newspaper clipping service.
The services not provided were: Close-Up TV continues to not address these services.
  • The email list - Anthony Holmes required that I agree to clear my calendar to be available to accept requests for public speaking engagements and be able to travel after he sent requests to the Fortune 500 companies urging them to schedule me. According to Holmes, “If we tell a Fortune 500 company to hire someone, they do”. I agreed.
  • Press release with photo or video distribution to media publications
  • Press release with photo or video distribution to networks - Anthony Holmes required that I agree to clear my calendar to be available to accept requests for interviews and be able to travel after he sent requests to the networks and radio and television talk shows urging they schedule me. I agreed.
  • Promotional campaign for products, services, books, etc.
  • Provide company visibility on the major search engines
  • Professionally scripted interviews
  • Live streaming from website (Holmes insisted this feature be added to my website)
  • Podcast of interview series (Holmes insisted this feature be added to my website)
  • Stats on live callers to show
  • Stats on listeners
  • Detailed year long media campaign
  • Under the second contract dated 1/17/2013 the same applies. Close-Up TV continues to not address these services.
Provided: 
Website design – Close-Up TV News did not redesign page 1 however I do not dispute that Kevin Rocke recommended that a pix be relocated, and I did that. Rocke also answered a question re the legality of using the guest book feature. Rocke made no changes on page 2 and there was no input, suggestions or recommendations for page 3; though Rocke did compliment me on a job well done.
The website was actually an existing working website that had been designed and maintained by me. The redesign had been demanded of Close-Up TV News (Anthony Holmes and Louis Ceparano) and the work was to be completed prior to the release of the press release or the first interview. I felt I had no choice but to agree – a contract was never signed.
Not Provided: 
Close-Up TV continues to not address these services. 
Website tech support – Questions were asked and not answered. The banner was changed without authorization or approval. I asked that those changes be removed – they were not. While I liked the visual affect, it was not usable because it was not layered.
Website design completion – There was no input on pages 2 or 3; unauthorized changes were not undone.

Lou Ceparano and Anthony Holmes are on "watch" lists because of their prior convictions. Agencies are building cases against them as I write.
If you did not record your phone conversations with them - do it now. Start building a way to protect yourself. If you need more information on how to do this, let me know. I now have a large database of people who have been scammed in this scheme. Do not be embarrassed because of being caught up in this scheme. Believe me you are in good company.
Be embarrassed only if you do nothing to stop this. Help protect others.

Ceparano has since admitted to the NY BBB the services were not rendered. He also said the reason the services were not rendered was because it was a year-long contract. That stuck his foot in his mouth because then there was no justification for approaching me about a second contract when there was 10 months left in the one year contract.

On my website you can follow the paper trail and read the articles I have written and published on this experience in an attempt to help others. There were many before me.

Also, from what I have found out, which I am not sure what is true, they are listed as a sound recording service in NY when actually, I believe they are a telemarketing company. I don't know about your state but in FL they are not licensed to conduct telemarketing.

I did get a letter from their attorney insinuating their business was suffering because of my complaints. I thanked them for giving me credit for the complaints submtted before me and that it perhaps was not fair to those previous complainers. The tone of the letter was leaning toward extortion. The threats were definitely there - do this or else. He never denied to me that the services were not rendered and he never proved that the services had been performed. Neither has Ceparano - but he did admit they were not done in writing to the BBB in NY.

Anyway, as things happen and articles are written and published, I am posting them on my website so hopefully other authors can avoid this mess. www.janethorton.net 

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