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Possible Online Pellet Scam

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by richg, Dec 23, 2005.

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  1. richg

    richg Minister of Fire

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    Gang,

    Take a look at this and let me know what you think.

    The site, http://www.americanfreedomfuels.com/, is selling wood pellets for $193.00 per ton for 2006 delivery. I used to be an insurance fraud investigator, and some things have raised suspicion:
    -They do not have their own Visa account, rather, they only take Paypal
    -Their email is americanfreedomfuels@gmail.com, which is Google Cell phone email, not regular email. They did not respond to my email, which is odd since their cell phone should have picked it up very quickly.
    -I sent them this note the other day, and since then they have changed the city of their business from Tullahoma TN to Lynchburg, TN.
    -No one has answered at either of the numbers provided 931-759-6674 or 931-607-3186. There was a number with a 336 area code on the site as of Tuesday, but it is gone. I had traced it to Greensboro, NC. Both of the 931 numbers are Verizon cell phones, not an office phone. One number I tracked to Bonita Sasher in Lynchburg TN. Seems Bonita has another business, www.microwaveableslippers.com. You can not make this stuff up!
    -They are now offering "Pellet Mart" franchises for $1000.00. However, nowhere on their site do they identify who the manufacturer of the pellets is.
    -They claim they are shipping pellets to NJ free, but did not respond as to how they are sending them-to a freight dock, to your house, etc.
    This may be a scam, might not be, but they are not helping their cause by not responding.

    Any ideas?

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  2. joshuaviktor

    joshuaviktor New Member

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    No argument, but I have a gmail address. It is not necessarily cell phone email. It is just a free email service that google offers. you get a gig of space for your email.

    On the other hand, I have to admit, I was laughing my a__ off with the microwaveable slippers.

    Joshua
  3. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    I would have to classify it as "shady" to say the least. To me, any business organization worth a cent (or any scammer looking to at least make a good impression) would not use a free e-mail service.

    Just my .02

    Corey
  4. Rick

    Rick Member

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    It's a shame that inevitably people will lose money on things like this.

    Rick
  5. Rick

    Rick Member

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    I should add, if this turns out to be a scam.

    Rick
  6. richg

    richg Minister of Fire

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    It gets even murkier. Seems two sites have the exact same statement. Quoted from http://www.pelletking.com/wood-pellet-information.aspx[/color]A: Most people jump to the conclusion that "we have always burned hardwood in our woodstove so hardwood must be better" - Not true with pellets.

    The first and most important thing to remember is that you are buying pellets by weight NOT volume. A cord of dry hardwood vs. dry softwood weighs about 2-3 times as much. However, a pound of dry hardwood weighs the same as a pound of dry softwood.

    So what counts is the heat output of each. This is where softwood wins. Below is information from a study done by the wood industry.

    Quoted from http://www.woodfuelpellets.com/buy-wood-pellets.html
    Most people jump to the conclusion that "we have always burned hardwood in our woodstove so hardwood must be better" - This is simply not true with pellets.

    The first and most important thing to remember is that you are buying pellets by weight NOT volume.

    A cord of dry hardwood vs. dry softwood weighs about 2-3 times as much. However, a pound of dry hardwood weighs the same as a pound of dry softwood.

    So what counts is the heat output of each. This is where softwood wins. Below is information from a study done by the wood industry.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Pellet king is in New Hampshire, while American Freedom fuels is (we think) in TN. Something fishy is going on here.
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I like the "distill your own ethanol" section. Looks like moonshiners trying to go legal. Their "ethanol recipe book" is a moonshiners guide.
  8. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, one thing for sure,,,,,

    They are getting some attention......

    Pellets are so popular it entices me to put up a "scraper site" using one of my domain names www.pellets.us!

    For those of you who don't know what scraper sites are, they are sites specifically designed to accept google ads and therefore make a lot of money. I question the ethics, but in some ways it's like a billboard. We can discuss further in the ash can if people have strong opinions.

    My take is that google and other search engines should be smart enough to not index these sites....but google does not seem to care as they both index them highly AND also accept paid ads from them.....

    So, maybe this Pellet and Still guy can make more money in the end just by using his sties to redirect people to real providers of Pellets.

    Don't laugh too loud at the slippers...I wear mine all day and they often get wet - I was thinking of throwing them in the dryer for a while. My wife says they smell....so microwave would probably kill the germs in the things also - UGGHH.
  9. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I would edit that to say anyone with a business should not use AOL or Hotmail, both of which have so many problems it is hard to list them all.

    But Yahoo and Google seem to run relatively respectable services. I have a lot of trust in Google although I have not used their email service. Having a long term email at a place like google seems preferable to having one that changes every time your ISP does!
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Ugh, I think I'll pass on the microwave popcorn from your house :).
  11. DonCT

    DonCT Minister of Fire

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    I was just thinking the same thing!!!!! :p
  12. richg

    richg Minister of Fire

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    I talked to the webmaster for www.pelletking.com, and he was shocked to see what had happened. He is going to put the smack down on americanfreedomfuels.com.
  13. richg

    richg Minister of Fire

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    I keep poking at this:

    From the pellet scam web site:
    "American Freedom Fuels"
    PO Box 292
    Lynchburg, TN 37352

    From microwaveableslippers.com
    Microwave Slippers And Bed Buddy - Mail In Orders
    Simply send us a letter specifying which products you want.

    Send To:

    Bonita Sasher
    PO Box 292
    Lynchburg, Tennessee 37352

    Erh, um, uh, that's the same address! Hmmn, maybe we could mix and match. How about, American Microwaveable Pellets. Or, Freedom Slippers.

    Just in case anyone is interested,

    Bonita Sasher
    116 Morgan St
    Lynchburg, TN 37352-8367
    (Tel.: (931) 759-4416
  14. richg

    richg Minister of Fire

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    888
    Wait, there's more! Box 292 Lynchburg TN is like, THE place to have your business or house of worship!

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    For all you gamblers
    Contact Info for baccaratsystem.com:
    Self
    PO Box 292
    Lynchburg, TN
    37352
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If you want a sleep buddy
    US
    +1 931 607 3186
    castlehandyman@yahoo.com

    Please Allow 3-4 days For Delivery. For rush orders Email us here: sleepbuddy@gmail.com
    CLICK HERE! To Return To Front Page
    Sleep Buddy
    PO Box 292
    Lynchburg, Tennessee 37352
    To place your order by phone, call: 1-931-273-5524
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If you need a house of worship
    http://www.fellowshipofthemystery.com/
    Fellowship
    PO Box 292
    Lynchburg, TN 37352


    So let's see, with Box 292 Lynchburg TN I can:
    -Get drunk with my own ethanol still
    -Win at baccarat
    -Heat my house with wood pellets
    -Get microwaveable slippers
    -Pray
    -Open my very own pellet dealership for only $1000.00
    -Have a sleep buddy (the idea of having a "buddy" in bed with me is quite repulsive, although ladies may think differently)

    Look out Wal Mart.
  15. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    These days the price for just email has come down even further.
    I still think that it is possible gmail can be a good solution, since google obviously has better spam controls than perhaps any domain that one could get.

    One of my top clients on HearthNet has an AOL address. I sure won't be throwing their card away. To each his own, but my warning against AOL was from experience. They actually "dumped" large amounts of email that was addressed to one of my clients. Not bounced, just threw it away. That is unforgiveable.....

    Scams? Wow, 1/2 the web sites you go to are scams. How 'bout all these "scraper sites" that just run google ads and have no content. Anytime there is a way to exploit an inbalance in the market, scams will multiply. Historians know that the big money in the Gold Rush was not the Gold, but the jeans and the shovels!

    I'm concerned for the honest customer that paid 3-4 grand for a pellet stove and now is at the mercy of the market...and the market is a brutal thing. Saving 60$% just went to saving 10% (maybe). Good thing there are the other factors (a fire, a central warmth, renewable energy, gadget factor, etc. etc.)

    Of course, a very decent profit can be made at 190+ a ton, so it is always possible this is a well meaning guy...or gal. Of course, they are about to find out that meaning well and being able to deliver are two different things.
  16. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    I find this interesting to say the least. We sell pellets.....Cubex, New England, Allegheny, and Energex Industrial in Massachusetts. I see the prices, at first glance, which seems cheap. Then i see the $90.00 delivery charge per ton...that makes the pellets almost $300.00 per ton US.....not a good price, considering we sell hardwood pellets for $239.00/ton. Yea, we deliver, and charge to do so.....but on a sliding scale, and our max delivery charge is 50 dollars for a load, not a ton, but then we use our own truck, so we are fairly fussy on where we deliver. I have seen the brand for sale though, American Freedom, oddly enough, on EBay. My kneejerk reaction is its someone working from home, and all they are doing is coordinating a trucker....maybe the husband ows a truck?......the trucker pick up the pellets at the factory, then goes about a regional route...thats where the free delivery to certain areas comes in.....any other states are 90 bucks delivery. Im guessing the other states pellets are just common-carriered, and tailgate delivered with a tractor trailer. I bet thats real interesting.......putting the pellets by the curb.....most common carriers will not move the load, they are only responsible for getting the load OFF the trailer.....Im guessing they arent gonna put it in the garage or in back by the shed......"heres yer four pallets of pellets, maam.......plunk, plunk, plunk, plunk.....see ya!
    Also, Im told by my suppliers that they arent going to offer pellets to new sources next year, as the supply is expected to be NO better in 2006! We are expecting some West Coast pellets arriving in a week or two on a train....Ill try to keep you all posted on the price and how they burn compared to my other brands....
    My Grandfather used to say: "If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is......now let me tell ya a story about WWII....etc"....and I'm always amazed at how true this is......and I am always equally amazed at the folks who still will do anything thinking they are getting a bargain.......

    Beware on this one, folks....when the Fraud Investigators' hair stands up on the back of his/her neck......dont look, keep walking!
  17. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Do you think there's a boiler room involved?

    I see the "sleep buddy"'s email address is "castlehandyman." Sounds like something you might find in a gothic romance. Not that I would know anything about that, being a man of letters and all.
  18. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    [quote author="richg" date="1135883263"]Wait, there's more! Box 292 Lynchburg TN is like, THE place to have your business or house of worship!

    --
    Always wondered where the name "Lynchburg" came from? Anyone know anything historical other than the obvious?
  19. Willhound

    Willhound Feeling the Heat

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    Craig
    Maybe not what you think. A search on Tenesee town names didn't turn anything up, but it did indicate a number of families by the name of Lynch that were early residents of the area. Local white pages don't show any Lynch's currently in Lynchburg, but there is a Lynchard. There are still several Motlow's listed....as in Lem Motlow, nephew of Jack Daniels, who inherited the distillary from his uncle who did not have any children of his own. Jack died from an infection in his toe that was caused from kicking the safe in his office one morning because he couldn't remember the combination. The story doesn't mention whether or not any of the famous whiskey was involved in his memory lapse.

    Willhound
  20. cordele

    cordele New Member

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    American Freedom Fuels
    Bill Sasher
    Bonita Sasher
    Continental Biofuels
    and operate under many different company names.

    CROOKS!

    Legal action taken in Tennessee by attorney general for taking receipts for wood pellet orders and not making deliveries.
    Sashers subsequently filed bankruptcy.
    They are in the ethanol business now in Cordele, GA and may be scamming others.

    BUYER BEWARE!!!
  21. cordele

    cordele New Member

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  22. richg

    richg Minister of Fire

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    I heard about the fraud complaint, and actually spoke with the Attorney General's office. In the process of doing more investigation, I found another site where people were going ballistic about being ripped off in this scam. Sasher had the b@lls to register on the site and post that she was being defamed and she was going to sue everyone who posted, along with the web site owner, web hosting service etc. This thing seemed bogus from the minute I first saw it. Too bad people got burned.
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