RECOURSE AGAINST ROBERT BENWELL
UPDATE - We received this information from a source in the UK who provided us with this information for those who are victims of Robert Benwell in the UK. This source provided us with information about what action victim were to take, and with which agencies to contact to file a complaint or report. We believe this information to be reliable and credible, but we are not attorney’s. Before following this advice, please consult with a Barrister/Attorney in the UK to confirm the reliability and credibility of this information.
It seems to me he is guilty of the following:
Making false claims
Taking money from people who no longer wish to continue with his scheme
Making False Claims:
This is generally covered in the first instance by the Advertising Standards Agency (www.asa.org.uk) however they are fairly toothless and any action they take would be unlikely to stop him. It is the Office of Fair Trading (www.oft.gov.uk ) who would prosecute under the following legislation: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2008/1276/contents/made
Part 2 Section 7 indicates a fine of up to £5,000 (current statutory maximum) or a prison sentence of up to 2 years.
Taking money from people who no longer wish to continue with his scheme:
This is Civil Law and therefore no government agency (police, OFT etc) will assist, you have to do it yourself. However the OFT might get involved if sufficiently large numbers of people complain.
The crucial point about civil law is you do not need to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt, you only have to prove on the balance of probability, ie the court will make its decision based on what is most likely to have happened, so for people who have been ripped off this should be easy to do.
The only way to get your money back is to make a claim in the County Court which costs around 10% of the value of the claim, but you get this back off the defendant when you win, you can do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov/uk
The case will be heard in the local County Court (ie Barnsley, South Yorkshire) and a hearing fee of £120 will also be required. Many people shy away from court but it is very easy to do and if you are an individual the district judge has a duty to help you when referencing the law to ensure the case is heard in a fair manner. In short if any idiot has a genuine grievance they should be successful.
The final question is who do you sue? Since RSB GLOBAL TRADING Limited and V8 Marketing Limited have both been dissolved, I would suggest suing Robert Benwell directly. He then has to prove in court that he is not responsible. Normally this would be easy to do, but BloggingToTheBank.com is still trading and by suing him in court he would have to prove that it is not him thus exposing who he allegedly sold it to. The court also has the power to lift the limited liability given to him by RSB GLOBAL TRADING Limited and V8 Marketing Limited.
You should be able to get his home address (vital for going to court) from Companies House (www.companieshouse.gov.uk) as he was a director of both of the above companies (for a fee) or failing that his domain is registered to Digital Media Centre, County Way, Barnsley, S70 2JW, South Yorkshire which is a government funded business centre in Barnsley! He seems to live on Elmwood Way, Barnsley, S75 1EY however the house number can be sourced online (for a fee) via the Electoral Role or by visiting Barnsley Town Hall (free of charge).
I would propose that anyone who has been ripped off does the following:-
1) Make a claim online (www.moneyclaim.gov.uk)
2) Report their claim to the OFT to make them aware of it (www.oft.gov.uk ).
3) Report the outcome of the claim to the OFT
Blogging To The Bank claims that for just $24.95 per month, you too can earn $26,093 on AutoPilot. In fact, the headline for the Premium Blog service claims, “Instant Money Making Blogging Site Earns $26,093 Per Month On AutoPilot With All The Set-Up, Writing, Selling, Hosting Taken Care Of By A Million Dollar Blogging Team.”
I don’t know about you, but this seems just a bit far-fetched to me. Any time I see these unrealistic income promises such as this, it is a major red flag. It tells me it is something I need to look out for when looking into any sort of income opportunity, whether it be investments, business opportunities, or anything else.
In order to know all about this program, we first have to take a look at who is behind Blogging To The Bank, it’s history and what do consumers have to say about the product being offered, the company, and its customer service.
Blogging To The Bank has been in operation since the beginning of 2006. The product was launched by Robert “Rob” Benwell who eventually incorporated RSB GLOBAL TRADING Limited , Company No. 05967048 on 10/16/2006. The corporate name changed on 8/22/2008 to R5 Limited, and the corporation was ultimately dissolved on 2/8/2011.
On 2/3/2009 UK Company No. 06808137 was incorporated as V8 Marketing Limited. Directors on the Incorporation documents are listed as Mr. Robert Benwell and R5 LTD. UK Company No. 06808137, but was dissolved on 5/25/2010.
THE SALE OF BLOGGING TO THE BANK:
According to Flippa, BloggingToTheBank.com along with 9 other websites and several other aspects of the business was listed for sale by auction on 3/9/2011 and sold on 4/11/2011 for $1,160,000. The seller, Rob Benwell claims that the deal fell through after the auction because the new buyer couldn't get funding to complete the deal. This information can’t be verified as the buyer’s information is confidential. View sale.
Rob Benwell’s Blogging To The Bank site and associated properties/business was listed for auction sale again on May 17, 2011 and sold for $900,000 on May 24, 2011. Again, the buyer’s name remained confidential. View sale. The 8/16/2011 Whois Record for BloggingToTheBank.com shows Rob Benwell as the registrant with same address as listed in the corporate filings for R5 Limited.
Three months after the sale of BloggingToTheBank.com the 8/16/2011 post-sale the Whois information for BloggingToTheBank.com remained in Rob Benwell’s name. It also was listed under the same address provided in the UK Corporate Filings registry for R5 limited, Company No. 05967048. As of 8/17/2011 Aweber Autoresponder messages from Rob Benwell list the same address as in the R5 Limited Corporate filing as the physical address of the sender.
The Whois Records show Rob Benwell as the registrant of Blogging To The Bank up through 1/8/2011, however, the rest of the information is under privacy protection. On 1/10/2011 the registrant in the Whois records became publicly viewable, and match the address of the R5 Limited. As of 8/15/2011. The Whois records list Rob Benwell as the registrant and the address continues to match the address of the UK corporate listing.
So the real question is did the business really sell or not? Stop and ask yourself this question: If you just paid $900,000 for a business, wouldn’t you want the business registered in your name? Isn’t there a legal requirement when a business sells that it has so many days to switch the names of the owners and the sale recorded to make it legal?
Since none of us are an attorney, we cannot answer these questions; but they do seem logical to us to be asked. And it seems Rob Benwell should answer those questions. Rather convenient to say the new owner’s name is confidential, don’t you think?
WHAT ABOUT ITS SALES PRACTICES?
In reviewing the sales page for the Blogging To The Bank Premium Blog service two red flags jump off the page immediately.
Red Flag 1: Unrealistic Income Promises
The headline for the Premium Blog service claims, “Instant Money Making Blogging Site Earns $26,093 Per Month On AutoPilot With All The Set-Up, Writing, Selling, Hosting Taken Care Of By A Million Dollar Blogging Team.” Unrealistic income promises such as these are a simple red flag to look out for when looking into any sort of income opportunity, whether it be investments, business opportunities, or anything else.
Blogging To The Bank presents examples of two customers making money with the Premium Blog services for which customers are charged $24.95/month. The sales page claims that one customer made “$1,472 In Just 7 Days” and presents another customer testimonial stating that he made “$9,383 My First Month”.
The FTC’s 2009 revised guidelines on Endorsements and Testimonials State:
“Under the revised Guides, advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect.”
The FTC has also been holding the affiliates of these programs just as accountable as the owners when it comes to enforcement.
Third parties - such as advertising agencies or website designers and catalog marketers - also may be liable for making or disseminating deceptive representations if they participate in the preparation or distribution of the advertising, or know about the deceptive claims. See full disclosure here: http://business.ftc.gov/documents/bus28-advertising-and-marketing-internet-rules-road
Red Flag 2: Extreme Fake Scarcity Tactics
Page 1 of BloggingToTheBank.com states: “Get Your Free Blog. Only 31 Blogs Left”
A quick search at Archive.org reveals this same claim has been made since August 20, 2010. Visit Archive.org listing of Blogging To The Bank starting from August 20, 2010 (press the forward arrow to view screen captures on additional dates).
Page 2 of BloggingToTheBank.com states numerous times that only 11 Premium Blogs are left.
This claim appears to have been going on for at least a year as evidenced by the following:
On HubPages discussion, a 12 month old comment by Kevin states, “Oh, and I loved "only 11 left" on the sales page.” Vist HubPages discussion.
So, are there only 31 Free Blogs copies left, and are there only 11 Premium Blog copies left? Actually no-one knows “exactly” how many copies of either truly are left. From the promotional claims, it does not appear that Rob Benwell does either.
So how do Rob’s happy customers feel about his great money making program? Well, things are not so rosy as he has poor to non-existent customer service support for his clients. There are numerous horror stories from customers about extreme delays of the Blogging To The Bank “Premium Blog” services. But the most damaging were the complaints by customers that the blogs were never delivered at all. Many stated they were told just to be patient as they were swamped with orders. To Blogging To The Bank’s credit, they did tell their customers if they were not satisfied how to get a refund. Still no comfort to those who were serious about wanting to make money using the products advertised.
One more question for you. If you were the new owner, wouldn’t you want the customer service issues resolved so you did not have to pay refunds? After all you bought the business to make money, and you can’t make money if you are constantly refunding disgruntled customers.
The word is out now to stay away from Blogging To The Bank, just what you don’t want if you just bought the company for $900,000. And one more thing, Rob Benwell did give the new owner the use of his name for one year. Based on Rob Benwell’s name now, that may not have been a wise decision?
After reviewing Blogging To The Bank, we do not feel it is a program worth wasting your time or money on, and we believe you would be hard-pressed to make the kind of return Rob Benwell claims in his ads. All we wonder is if the FTC will agree with us.