POSTED: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 - 9:40pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - 3:30pm
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — The Better Business Bureau is urging the public to be aware of a local marketing company that is allegedly charging companies thousands of dollars, promising advertising services their clients say aren't being delivered.
One local business we spoke with called it "a scam."
According to the BBB, since 2012, 20 companies have reportedly paid more than $26,000 to a marketing company called 'Stay Local El Paso,' that is headed by a man named Johnny Ray Mills.
The companies said they never received proof that any advertising was done for them, and of those 20 businesses, several have filed complaints with the BBB.
Businesses said they were approached by Mills, who offered advertising packages anywhere from $100 to $10,000 to advertise their companies on his website. Mills allegedly also claimed he would include their flyers in welcome packets for incoming soldiers at Fort Bliss.
Business owners said they signed a 'vague' contract with Mills. The BBB said Fort Bliss normally doesn't allow this type of business on post.
Matthew Malooly, owner of Spartan Supplements said Mills also promised him a space for his store on post, but that never happened.
"I called Fort Bliss and confirmed with them that he's scammed a few other people. I went onto the website and called multiple businesses on the website and half of the numbers were disconnected. I want other businesses to know that this guy isn't legit, he's going to take your money, and you're not going to get anything back from it," said Malooly.
We spoke with Johnny Ray Mills over the phone earlier today, and he denied the allegations. Mills said he never promised business owners flyers on Fort Bliss -- the deal was only to list ads for companies on his website, even though Mills uses Fort Bliss' logo on the contracts he signed with clients.
Mills argued the only reason he is being investigated by the BBB for the allegations is because he refuses to become a member. The BBB argued that isn't true because he isn't even eligible for membership.
The BBB encourages the public to always check a business out with them before you buy a service or product, and check out affiliations if an advertiser claims to be affiliated with an organization.
For more information on how you can protect yourself, visit http://elpaso.bbb.org/