Sunday, February 22, 2015

Spammed by RewardZoneUSA.com

I received a text on my phone - supposedly from the email address offers@gmail.com - that said:
Your Entry Has Won the Best Buy Drawing! Redeem your Best Buy Giftcard worth 1500$ here: i>?http://ferb.us.to/QEJv
Not wanting to click on a link spammed to my phone, I typed the link in my laptop browser and was redirected to http://www.surveysandpromotions.com/Flow.aspx

This website is registered through GoDaddy to Mohit Singla, who also owns over 40 other websites. Other sites associated with RewardZoneUSA include, but are not limited to:

  • http://www.NationalConsumerCenter.com
  • http://www.american-prize-center.com
  • http://www.dailycashsweeps.com
  • http://www.dreamcarsweeps.com
  • http://www.freesamplefinderusa.com
  • http://www.mydreamhomemakeover.com
  • http://www.samplesandsavings.com
  • http://www.surveysandpromotionsz.com
  • http://www.sweepstakesaday.com

I think it is rather interesting that they own a site called "National Consumer Center", when their job is actually marketing. There is a National Consumer Law Center, which is a consumer justice organization. To me, this shows that Mohit Singla & friends are not above the use of deceit.

Clicking on one of the links at the bottom of the page I was initially directed to, I was sent to a page of the website RewardZoneUSA.com which is also registered to Mohit Singla.

According to the Business Consumer Alliance, "Rewardzoneusa.com offers an incentive program to individuals who sign up for promotional offers advertised on their various websites." and their contact information is as follows:
address: 128 Court Street, 3rd Floor, White Plains, NY 10601
telephone: (917) 283-2375

Two people are listed as heading the company:
Mr. Ryan Schulke, CEO
Mr. Mohit Singla, Managing Director

The given physical address of 128 Court Street, in White Plain is the Morrell Insurance Building and the building had the 3rd floor available for rent, according to an ad placed on Loopnet about a year ago. I have no idea if RewardZoneUSA actually has its office there or if they are using it as a mail drop.

In its defense, RewardZoneUSA does have an A Plus rating from the Better Business Bureau, but they also have complaints filed against them at Ripoff Reports. Again, in fairness, Mohit Singla did post a rebuttal to the complaints. According to someone who also posted a review, it is possible - though extremely difficult - to win anything from RewardZoneUSA.

According to their BBB listing, RewardZoneUSA is also known as Fluent, Inc. On the Fluent website, Ryan Schulke really is an officer of that company. I didn't see Mohit Singla listed there. He may not be high up enough on the ladder to get listed, though he does have a LinkedIn profile where he says that he is Director of Compliance at Fluent.

Fluent is a marketing company and they even have a video of YouTube where they talk about what they do and you can view it below
I realize that there are going to be companies set-up to sell us things and to makes us all kinds of offers. But, I have never done business with Fluent, Inc and I have no idea how they got my cellphone number.

If you want to, you can contact them at their website.

I have severe doubts about Fluent, Inc's honesty:

First, the mailing addresses for RewardZoneUSA and Fluent, Inc are 25 miles apart. RewardZoneUSA's address is in White Plains and Fluent, Inc is in New York City. Why not use one address for both places?

Second, the registration for RewardZoneUSA doesn't give their physical address, as if they have something to hide. If I hadn't found their BBB and Ripoff Report listings, I wouldn't even know it. Also, why is Mohit Singla the registrar of the site and not Fluent, Inc itself?

Third, why did they send me an unsolicited text message? For that matter, how many other people have also received texts like I did and what if, at least, some of those people have to pay for the texts they receive? Here's a rather hypocritical tweet they sent out on their Twitter page just last year:
Fourth, why did the text I receive not have Fluent, Inc's email address as the sender? Are they trying to hide their responsibility?

Fifth, why no Opt-Out option for received text messages from Fluent and its subsidiaries, as required by the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 that Fluent calls for other people to follow?

Sixth, why does Fluent even own a website with the name "National Consumer Center" when there is already a consumer justice organization with a very similar name? By the way, if the NCLC wasn't aware of this before now, they will be when they check their emails because I just sent them one informing them of this.

Seventh, given that Best Buy is on record as not offering gift cards to people via text message, why does Fluent, Inc offer them?

I could go on, but I think my point has been made.

It's entirely possible that the email I received was sent out without Fluent's knowledge or permission and that someone has gone rogue and sent it out on their own. But, as mentioned in the Ripoff Report and Better Business Bureau's listings, it all traces back to Fluent Inc, whether they sent it out or not. If this was sent out by a third party working on behalf of Fluent, then it's Fluent's job to put their dog on a fucking leash!


Duane Browning
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