KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A California company is under investigation by federal postal inspectors for sending bogus invoices to schools, charities and businesses, including FOX 4.
The invoice looks real and asks the recipient to pay $425 for a telecom maintenance agreement.
Thousands of these invoices have been mailed out by a company called US Telecom, based in Ontario, California. Many recipients have reportedly paid the invoice, not realizing their organization never did business with the company.
US Telecom is operated by two brothers - Brendan and David Bell. The Bell brothers insist the invoice is just a novel form of advertising. But if you look at the invoice there is nothing about it that would lead someone to believe it's advertising. In fact, the Better Business Bureau called the invoices misleading and asked the company to stop sending them.
When it didn't, the BBB gave US Telecom an "F" rating. Attorneys General offices in Missouri, North Dakota and New York have ordered US Telecom to stop doing buisness in their states.
This isn't the first time the Bell brothers have been under attack. Prior to operating US Telecom, they ran a similar company called UST Development, which was also accused of false advertising and misleading the public. Plus the internet is riddled with complaints from the vendors and former employees of the Bell Brothers who say they were never paid.
FOX 4 Problem Solvers tried to contact the Bell brothers to ask them about their business practices as well as the accusations against them, but never heard back.
If you have received an invoice from US Telecom you should contact the US Postal Inspector's office, your state attorney general and the Federal Trade Commission.
To file a complaint, click the following links: