One of the drawbacks of life online is being open to scammers. There are countless people out there who will try every angle to get us to either fall for a ploy or pay for a product or service that may, at first glance, look genuine.
For over a year now businesses registered with NoCowboys have been called by representatives from an outfit based in India called vt designz.
We have had hundreds of complaints about these calls, mainly because they fraudulently claim to be associated with NoCowboys.
The M.O is almost always the same: A call from an Australian number offering Google presence for a one off payment and the offer of a website for under $2000. Sometimes the callers will say that they can remove reviews. All of the offers are inaccurate and misleading.
The phone number itself is a sure fire sign that something is not right – it can’t be called back on. We’ve tried. NoCowboys would never call you from a company called vt designz, or on an Aussie number.
Most NoCowboys customers have paid these calls little attention but have reported that they are ongoing and persistent, leading to harassment.
They usually follow the posting of a review by a customer – and that’s because NoCowboys reviews are public and anyone can see them.
The experience of one NoCowboys business is a sobering example of what can happen when vt designz’ offers are taken up – but thankfully it has a happy ending.
Josh Farmer from Elite Waterblasting in Auckland signed up with NoCowboys at the beginning of the year and he says that as soon as he received his first reviews, he was contacted by phone by vt designz.
“vt designz contacted me the day after I joined NoCowboys. They informed me that they were part of NoCowboys and could offer some amazing deals,” Josh says.
“They promised me that they would be able to have me organically ranking on the front page of Google for the top keywords in my industry. They went on to promise that for $390 they could have me there in a month and that I would remain on the front page for life for this one off cost.”
Josh was keen to optimise his marketing online and he believed the offers to be fully genuine. He was starting to gain traction with his online reputation marketing with NoCowboys and saw this as a way to increase on that.
“I agreed to paying the $390 for front page of Google for life, as well as arrange them to build me a website, which they promised to be the best site around and would be fully completed in a one month period. I mentioned that I would speak to my current marketing team to see if they could match the pricing that they were offering me, but they insisted that I take their word for it and offered me a further discount if I was to pay that night, which I did,” Josh says.
“From memory they offered this to me at the discounted price of around $1400 but did not really explain that this was in a foreign currency. All up they took NZ$2400 from my bank account.”
After payment had been taken, Josh waited to see some results… and that’s when things started to unravel
“I waited patiently for my website to be built but after a period of about two months I was starting to get very angry at the fact that my site was now a month overdue. I expressed this to them and they kept on making excuses.
It was about now that Josh realised something fishy was going on.
“Another month and a half went by (a total of three and a half months) and they finally told me the site had been completed. When I saw it I was highly disappointed, as it looked like a 10 year old wearing a blindfold had developed my website,” Josh says.
Completely annoyed that he had paid good money for a substandard website, Josh did what most of us would do and asked for his money back.
“After all this, I requested a full refund from them, which they refused to give me, even though they had promised me a website built in one month or a full money back guarantee. They then promised some of it back but never gave me it – they kept on stuffing me around and making excuses.
“Luckily when I paid them I had made the payment through a third party payment portal called 2checkout, which I believe is based in the States. When I told vt designz that I was going to contact 2checkout they insisted that I do not do this and that they would give me a full refund. After a couple of weeks of not receiving the refund I decided that enough was enough and contacted 2checkout, who were horrified at the treatment I was put through and they processed the full refund, which I received within a week,” Josh says.
At this point things got nasty and Josh was threatened through a series of WhatsApp messages from a vt designz representative named Sam. Josh has kept every single communication with vt designz and they are an example of outrageous and inappropriate ‘business practices’.
One of the exchanges (pictured above) contains direct threats to attempt to ruin Josh’s reputation and indeed a fraudulent review was placed on his NoCowboys profile and removed after it could not be authenticated. The very same review was posted on Josh’s Google My Business Profile.
This is not the sort of behaviour that anyone would tolerate from anyone offering a service and it’s a great result that Josh was able to get all of his money back and that any attempt to slander him on NoCowboys has been thwarted by our review authentication process.
Josh has since had a fantastic website delivered by a local company, SMEgoweb, who he says “came to the rescue and made me an absolutely amazing website in a short period of time“. He is also going from strength to strength with his online marketing through NoCowboys. He’s relieved that he was able to get all of his money back and warns anyone else of falling for what vt designz offers.
NoCowboys has tried to deal with these cowboys too
After a quick Google search we were able to locate vt designz and called their office in India. We demanded that their representatives stop from fraudulently asserting they were associated with us. It hasn’t made much difference and that’s the problem with online phishers and scammers. There’s little you do except ignore them and block them.
Here’s how you know that it’s not us on the end of your phone:
- We would never call you from an Aussie number
- We would never try to tell you we can remove reviews (unless our system picks up they are not authentic, for example from a competitor)
- If the promise sounds too good to be true it probably is – for example ranking you on the front page of Google for life for one payment of a few hundred dollars)
- We would never try to pressure you into anything
- We would never try to make you pay from third party sites like 2checkout
- NoCowboys is always totally professional in the way we communicate with you and deal with you
Basically if it seems fishy, chances are its not us on the end of your phone!
It’s also important to remember that old adage – all that glitters isn’t gold – because like all old adages it’s still completely true.