Crestford Lending Group-Malcolm-Scammed My Son out of $2000
Copy of letter my daughter in-law sent to BBB: We are experiencing some financial challenges, like so many others in today's economy and job market. Besides needing to consolidate some bills, we also needed some money to pay for car repairs, along with some miscellaneous needs. Even though our credit is less than perfect, we thought it wouldn't hurt anything to try. I went to www.google.com to begin searching for potential lenders and located 4 or 5, including the Crestford Lending Group. I completed the online questionnaire located on each lenders web site for a loan of $10k and received a rejection notice by email from all of them, except for the Crestford Lending Group. I was contacted by Ms. Alicia Rivers to discuss the terms of the loan and the only catch was that we had to pay a $1200 down payment, that would go towards the total loan amount. We also discussed a few other loan amounts, the down payments required and monthly payments. We finally decided on trying to get approved for $20k to include paying off the high interest loan on my husbands truck, which meant that the down payment would now be $2k. I was excited, but became a little concerned by that time, so I did some research online about the company. I researched their web site http://crestfordlendinggroup.com, googled them again on the Internet and searched the Better Business Bureau, but found nothing negative about the company. I then contacted Ms. Rivers at Crestford Lending Group and informed her that we were ready to move forward with the loan and Ms. Rivers sent me the contract agreements by email. We reviewed, completed and my husband signed all of the contract agreement forms we had received and then submitted them to Ms Rivers attention by fax, along with copies of Michael's drivers license and check stubs. I contacted Ms. Rivers by phone and confirmed with her that she had received everything and was told that they would have to be reviewed and that she would get back with me. I received a call from Ms Rivers a few days later informing me that the loan had been approved and discussed making the down payment. I informed Ms. Rivers that it would take 3 weeks to come up with the full $2k down payment. Then Ms. Rivers said that if we could come up with $1500 in 2 weeks and pay the remaining $500 with the first payment when it came due 45 days after the date of the approved agreement, then we could move forward. I agreed to do that, but 2 weeks later I called Ms. Rivers to let her know that all we had was $1200 that I could send at that time. Ms. Rivers said that it was ok to send the $1200, but that the remaining collateral payment of $800 MUST be paid in full, no later than than the due date of the first payment. Ms. Rivers then instructed me to go to the nearest Western Union location and submit 2 separate payments of $600 to the actual lender named Delilah James in Canada. I became very suspicious at the time and decided against it, but Ms. Rivers assured me that she had all of the proper documentation and that it was a legitimate transaction. I submitted the payments by Western Union and provided Ms. Rivers with the MTCN# provided by Western Union confirming that the money was sent. At 4:30 pm that day, I received a call from the Customer Service Manager named Malcolm and he stated that he would send a welcome package to our address, but that the $20k would not be deposited in our account until the remaining $800 deposit was received. I informed him of my conversation with Ms Rivers in regards to the down payment terms, but Malcolm informed me that they would have to go by the contract agreement, not any verbal agreements. I informed Malcolm that I would just like to get my money back, because we had no other money. Malcolm informed me that we would only be reimbursed $600 of the down payment for canceling the transaction, even though that was not discussed before or listed any where on the agreement. He stated that once the remaining $800 was received, that the $20k would be deposited in our account within 3 hours. Being desperate for money now, I reluctantly asked my 87 yr old grandmother for an $800 loan, which she agreed to do and then submitted the $800 by Western Union on Saturday morning, 8/14. The money did not appear in our account on Saturday, so I contacted Malcolm that afternoon and he assured me that the transfer of funds had been completed. I checked our account on Monday morning,8/16/10, but it still didn't reflect any deposits. At 11am I called and spoke with Malcolm and he stated that Western Union had made an error which caused a delay in the funds being deposited, but that it had since been corrected and the funds would be available no later than 1pm EST that day. By 5pm the money had not appeared in the account, so I called to speak with Malcolm and was told that he wasn't available. I called our bank again this morning and was told that the money still hadn't been posted to our account. I then called Malcolm and informed him that the money still had not been deposited in our account and he informed me that he was going to just cancel the transaction and provide a full refund, without me requesting anything. I asked why he was canceling the loan and he stated that Ms James (the lender) was now requiring $650 in tax fees? He stated that this was because the lender, Ms. James, was located in Canada and that this was a tax required to transfer the funds to the USA? I agreed to the refund since I was very skeptical towards the way the whole transaction had gone, plus the fact that we had no other funds. Malcolm then informed me that it would normally take up to 30 days to get my money back, but that he would try to get it back to me by 9/3/10 at the latest. I informed my husband of everything that had transpired with the transaction and asked if I would contact them. He called and asked Malcolm about the taxes that he was referring to and he stated that we needed to read the last page of the agreement and placed him on hold. He informed Malcolm that there was nothing about taxes listed on the agreement and Malcolm said that it was listed as "CLG reserves the right to request an insurance policy at anytime due to high-risk clients". I mentioned that taxes are not the same as insurance and that this made no sense. Malcolm then stated that maybe we should get an attorney and we asked him where that was coming from? He then stated that the conversation was being recorded and that now no refund would be submitted. Our response was that this was obviously a scam and then hung up the phone. I then called him back myself and asked when the refund would be submitted and he stated that no refund would be submitted and I replied that we would contact an attorney and hung up the phone. FYI...I called for my son and asked to speak with the president of the company and Malcolm answered the phone. He was very anxious to help when he thought I was interested in a loan, but when I told him why I was calling, he hungup the phone on me.
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