Worldwide Internet Consulting: Franchise Scam

Ian del Carmen is selling territorial franchises for Worldwide Internet Consulting. Nothing says “proven business model” like pitching a get-rich-quick scheme (make $500 an hour!) that teaches you the supersecret concept of building websites for local businesses and charging them for it. With only 133  million search results on Google for “web design,” who wouldn’t want to pay $697 (plus $97 annually after the first year) to buy a franchise.

Here’s the website’s registration info.

Domain name: worldwideinternetconsulting.com

Registrant Contact:
   Fireball Planet Corporation
   Fireball Planet Corporation ()

   Fax:
   G/f Feron Bldg 9590 Kamagong cor Bagtican sts
   San Antonio Village
   Makati City, Metro Manila 1203
   PH

Can we presume that Ian del Carmen is operating out of the Philippines only because the weather was too hot to operate the scam out of Nigeria?

The website doesn’t mention the term “franchise.” Instead, we get code for it like “we’re only accepting one partner per territory.” However, the e-mails pitching the business flopportunity include phrases like “Just grab your franchise here” and “see the details of this franchising offer.”

For credibility, the sales pitch notes that Microsoft, Google, and Amazon have territorial managers too. Comparing a scam “franchise” to salaried employment at three of the largest online companies? That’s ridiculous.

Of course, you do get ready-to-print business cards that state you’re a “Certified Marketing Consultant.” Oh really? Why not “Certified Dupe” instead?

Now let’s look at the particular legal aspects of this franchise scam.

  • The biz flop is being sold in county-size territories within the United States. However, potential franchisees are not being supplied with Uniform Franchise Offering Circulars (UFOCs) as required by federal and some state laws.
  • There does not appear to be any attempt to qualify to do business in each state where franchises are being sold.
  • Utilizing the term “partner” in the sales pitch suggests that equity may be sold as part of the deal. If so, there appears to be no effort to comply with U.S. federal and state securities laws.

Don’t think that I’m just picking on poor Mr. del Carmen and his flopportunity. There is at least one U.S.-based Internet marketer (social media guru) treading on thin ice with something similar. If that marketer doesn’t clean up his act, I’ll be posting about his scam too.

If you’ve been deceived into buying an illegal franchise in the United States, here’s what to do.

1. Demand a full refund.

2. Contact the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

3. Contact your state’s Attorney General’s office.

4. If you still want blood, hire a good trial lawyer to destroy the con artists who duped you.

05/16/09 – Someone hacked and destroyed this post. It was restored but comments were lost. Because this post was targeted, comments will be closed indefinitely. Not rewarding bad behavior.

Author Mike Young, Esq.

Mike Young has been practicing business and technology law since 1994 and is an angel investor in startups. He's been an entrepreneur since 1988. To get legal help from Attorney Young, click here now or call 214-546-4247 to schedule a phone consultation.

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