That’s not nice.
A technical training firm that had educated over 20,000 students without any complaints received ‐ in one week ‐ 16 requests for refunds, followed by over 30 more refund requests the next week and so on for several more weeks. They were also summoned to the Attorney General’s office of that state to explain why the AG’s office was getting dozens of complaints each week. The treasurer for the company was looking on the Internet and when he typed in his companies name into Google, an advertisement box popped up on the right under sponsored links. “Agent can get you full refund of tuition if you attended XYZ School”
Clicking on this link it requested just some basic information ‐ name, address, dates attended, classes, email, telephone, and a fictions amount paid ‐ and then hit the a submit button. The treasurer put in the name of the AG ‐ filled out the rest of the fields and clicked on the submit button. Sure enough, in a few days they received a request from the AG’s office to refund the 10 million dollars of tuition for the underwater basket‐weaving course taken on December 23, 1947. The AG too received a letter from himself (The AG) complaining about the same course and how under water basket weaving was a horrible course….
It seems that upon investigation, the company’s competitor has set up the web site that the sponsored link had redirected the website browser to. When the user filled out the data fields on the web site, this set into motion an automated process whereby a refund letter was sent to the company, a complaint was sent to the AG’s office and a letter reporting the training company to the Better Business Bureau.
The BBB seeing that all of the letters were form letters ignored them. We were able to figure out who had set up the web site and how it was managed through metadata found associated with the sponsored link and the web page. Other than a few errors in handling the Metadata the competitor had done a very good job at disrupting our client’s business and having our client spend many tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and investigator fees to defend themselves from the AG office and the AG office’s failure to understand what exactly had occurred. We thinks the BBB got it right the first time.