Sunday, September 03, 2000

Marketing firm closes amid state investigation

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS, Ohio — A marketing company that is the subject of a state investigation has closed its doors.

        Employees of the Purchase Plus Buyer's Group in suburban Westerville said company officials told them the business owes customers at least $100 million. It's not clear whether any investors will get their money back. The company had about 100 employees.

        “After serious consideration of the situation and possible alternatives, we can see no realistic way to reverse the sales decline,” Chief Operating Officer Tom Acey said in a statement to employees.

        Attorney General Betty Montgomery sued the company Aug. 23, accusing it of failing to pay promised refunds.

        The company sold $400 membership packages that included phone cards that didn't always work and discounts on goods and services that no longer were honored. Members were to be rewarded for selling the products and recruiting others to join.

        The company once pledged returns of as much as $11,000 on each $400 investment, but many consumers said in recent months that commissions weren't being paid. Purchase Plus had about 65,000 customers around the nation.

        Purchase Plus was founded by Westerville resident Gene Armold. He sold it in April to Ted Lindauer, a California lawyer who has been involved with other companies that have been examined by regulators across the nation.


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