7On Your Side: Team National - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

7On Your Side: Team National

(Source: KPLC) (Source: KPLC)

It seems like there's always someone with an offer to save consumers money, whether it's a holiday sale or a membership in a club.

Everybody wants to save money, but how much would you pay to save, and how much is too much? 

One offer circulating in the Lake Area is Team National, out of Davie, Florida. The paperwork to join, which may be presented by a friend or acquaintance, says a premium membership costs $2195, while a standard membership is $795.

If you can't pay the amount up front, the paperwork says you can finance part of it at a rate of 15.9 percent. The paperwork says little, if anything, about what the membership buys -- though the web site indicates members get discounts at different stores and businesses.

Carmen Million is the president of the Southwest Louisiana Better Business Bureau. She says one thing to consider is how much you'd have to spend to get back the money you pay for membership.

"Your first sign of caution is if they are asking for a substantial amount of money up front, and then you need to understand what that money is for, why you're having to pay that money and what the investment is going to get you," said Million.

The paperwork also talks about commissions that can be earned from selling memberships and offers the purchase of business building tools. Million says when evaluating such offers, consider whether the program focuses on selling a product.

"There are certain companies: they sell makeup, they sell containers, they may sell jewelry, and when you hear their names, what you're thinking about is the product they're selling. So, that's where the focus is. You're not thinking about becoming a distributor, you're not thinking about making money. You're thinking about purchasing that product," said Million.

If the focus is on recruiting others, that's a different thing.

"Go to the Attorney General's Office, go to the Federal Trade Commission, investigate. If they clear it and you want to make an investment, that's entirely up to you, but that's something you need to do anytime you give a huge amount of money up front and you don't get a product for it," said Million.

Million says the local BBB is still researching Team National in order to better advise consumers. She says even if such offers come from a trusted friend, church member or co-worker, the BBB suggests never buckling under a high pressure sales pitch without doing your homework.

Monday was the MLK holiday, but there was no answer at the Team National office in Florida when calls were made. KPLC checked the Louisiana Secretary of State corporations databae and could find no Team National office registered in Louisiana.

Before deciding to buy into a club or program, it's always a good idea to check with the Louisiana Attorney General, Federal Trade Commission and consumer groups.

Copyright 2014 KPLC All rights reserved

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