SUN LAKES, Ariz. - Dorothy Rien thought she would make some extra money blogging for the Phoenix-based company, WebsiteBusiness.com.
“Oh, thousands of dollars every month,” she says. Instead, the 74-year-old quickly found herself deep in debt. “$121,150.00 in just a little over two months,” she said.
It all started when Dorothy received a cold-call from Website Business late last year.
“They said they were going to develop all these websites for me and then I was going to have my own websites and sell all my blogs,” she explained.
To get started, she says the company asked for her credit card and signature on more than a dozen contracts.
Dorothy says she didn't realize more than $120,000 had been charged to her credit cards until they were maxed out.
“Here I was feeling really stupid because I had signed those contracts and sent them back,” she said. “They were making all these promises and they're so nice and I believed them.”
Dorothy disputed the charges on her credit card but she says Website Business pressured her to drop the disputes.
“They called and they made all kinds of threats against me and sic their attorneys on me and everything,” she said.
3 On Your Side wanted to know how a blog could cost someone so much money but when we began asking questions, the lawyers got involved.
3 On Your Side now knows an agreement has been reached but the details are apparently being kept a secret.
In a statement to 3 On Your Side, Dorothy's attorney writes:
“On behalf of my client, Dorothy Rien, the parties have amicably and wholly settled the matter and cannot discuss the terms because of the confidentiality provisions of our agreement with websitebusiness.
Ms. Rien has been instructed not to communicate with the media as said action will violate the terms of the Agreement. Please respect this request.”
We also reached out to Website Business for comment but haven't heard back.
We also checked with the Better Business Bureau and found Website Business has more than 80 complaints and an F-rating.
According to the BBB, “Generally, complaints allege that consumers signed up for the business opportunity, were not happy with the service or did not feel like they got what they paid for and wanted a refund but couldn’t get one. Complaints also allege the company uses high pressure sales tactics to get them to buy into the business. Some allege rude customer service representations, etc.”