Monday, September 25, 2006
Help Me Howard: Internet
Jamie was looking for ways to expand her business. So she hired a promoter. She called Help Me Howard after that promoter did nothing and almost put her out of business. Here's Seven's Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- There is an old saying, "Sex sells."
And Jamie Sloan is counting on it.
Jamie Sloan: "We have everything from bath and spa products with pheromones, to edible fun lotions for the bedroom, to lubricants, to adult toys."
Jamie has turned the products into a unique business: taking them to women, in a fun way.
Jamie Sloan: "I do passion parties, which are in-home parties for women only that feature sensual products, and we do presentations in someone's home."
As a single mom, the flexible schedule helps her out.
Like most single parents she needs more income.
And that's when she met another parent.
Jamie Sloan: "I met him at my kid's softball league. He actually ended up being one of the coaches."
The other parent was a promoter who offered to help Jamie expand her business through the Internet.
Jamie Sloan: "He does like marketing. His business was marketing."
The promoter promised Jamie he could get her hundreds of leads.
Jamie Sloan: "He had email lists for me, he had different programs. He wanted to create a widget, which is an icon that people download."
The cost: $4,500.
Jamie Sloan: "I was very hesitant in the beginning because I'm a single mom. I really don't have that kind of cash flow sitting around."
But Jamie scraped the money together and just asked the promoter for one thing: to put those promises in writing. He refused.
Jamie Sloan: "He said, 'That's going to cost you more money. I'm trying to give you a break here.'"
Since he was her son's coach, and seemed trustworthy, Jamie paid him and soon regretted it.
Jamie Sloan: "We had a verbal agreement. It was to have launched on June 30. Then he told me July 8, and now we're looking at Sept. 7 and still nothing."
After Jamie complained, he did send her a couple of dozens leads. But, they were dead ends.
Jamie Sloan: "Most of them were wrong numbers, disconnected numbers, people who were not interested at all."
She then told the man, "Enough."
Jamie Sloan: "I've contacted him several times. Emailed him. Told him I want my money back."
He refused, so instead of calling him again, she dialed the number to Help Me Howard.
Jamie Sloan: "I called Help Me Howard because I wasn't getting anywhere. I was silly enough to go into this without a written agreement, so I knew the police wouldn't help me."
But, without a written contract, is Jamie out of luck? Let's turn to the fellow with that framed law degree on the wall.
Howard Finkelstein: "No, she is not out of luck. This was a deal about technology, and it's technology that is going to save her. Jamie saved the emails back and forth with the promoter. Many of his promises are outlined in those emails. Those emails are written proof of what the verbal agreement was."
And, in the emails, the promoter clearly seemed to be making promises to increase her business. Writing, "What you need to keep in mind is I am giving you a cutting edge marketing plan. I am going to bring in a lot of extra business," and "OK, getting closer to D-day for you. I have a lot to go over."
When we talked to the promoter he agreed to settle this, offering Jamie half her money back and 200 leads he had gathered.
Jamie says, "OK" and will now focus on a business she truly believes will be successful.
Jamie Sloan: "It's a very, very, very fun evening out for the girls. They get educated. They get to buy great products in a safe environment."
Patrick Fraser: "Glad we could help Jamie get some money back. She was lucky to have the emails, they helped, but Howard says if you are going into a small deal with someone, get it in writing, pay as the work is done and, remember, it does not have to be a fancy contract. You can write it, keep it simple and clear, and if someone doesn't want to put it in writing, as Howard says, don't walk away -- run away."
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