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Beware: Book Writing Experts

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Julie Castillo

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Hello, awesome writing folk. I have an important Beware to add to this forum. Book Writing Experts, allegedly of Los Angeles CA is a SCAM. I approached them last spring about some book marketing services. They offered me a package of eight services for $1,000. I signed a contract with them that listed those services and claimed 100% satisfaction guarantee. I then paid them $1,000 up front. I had told them I didn't need a book cover, and they initially agreed to drop that service from the package and further lower the price, but they later insisted that the package was non-negotiable. They turned me over to someone named Stella, who was not only rude and unprofessional, but whose writing skills were nowhere near "expert" level and who, it quickly became apparent, didn't have knowledge of book promotion. She kept asking ME to do the work. She made a crappy book cover from a template that would have taken me less than twenty minutes to produce myself -- the ONE thing on the list I didn't need from them, and they knew it. Then, they disappeared for about four months and stopped answering my emails. I kept asking for updates and getting ignored. Then, in February, Stella called to say that they could nt possibly do all the things I the contract for the price I had paid -- they literally said I had underpaid them, when THEY were the ones who offered that package for that price and signed the contract! I told them that if they were not going to fulfill the contract, they needed to give me my money back. At first they said they "can't" give a refund. Then they tried saying that they had done a bunch of things on the list and could "prove" that I had signed off on them. Then, after I threatened a breach of contract suit, they offered to refund half my money. When I made a counter-offer to accept a refund of $750, they a first refused, then said they would refund that amount if I would remove my negative reviews from the Internet. I refused because those reviews are there to protect fellow writers from these crooks! Since then, my legs petition and citation came back marked "addressee unknown." I called the property manager at 445 S. Figueroa St. Los Angeles CA, 90071, the address on the contract, their website, and all their email correspondence, and was told that they are not even tenants at the building! I then called the company several times to confirm the address. Stella told me that they had recently moved from that address and "all their paying clients already know the new address." When I reminded her that I AM a paying customer, she said she would email me the new address.. Which of course, she never did. The next time I called in, the person who answered the phone said they are in the process of moving TO the 445 S. Figueroa address, which has been posted as their address for at least a year. It gets weirder. I looked up Book Writing Experts in the CA state attorney's records, where all companies registered to do business in the state are listed, and they are not even registered there! I then checked the address the domain name for their website is registered to, and found that they are registered with an offshore proxy company that hides their actual address. This same proxy company has been indicted for ransomeware schemes. So, I now have several agencies and organizations helping me track down these lowlifes. I just want to make sure that none of you fall victim to their scam. You will not get the services they promised, and you will probably never see a nickel of your money again.
 

Maryn

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I'm nowhere near as good at digging as some of our members, but 445 S. Figueroa St. is Union Bank Plaza, which advertises itself here as a virtual office with a one-time set-up fee, giving "tenants" a mailing address, upscale street address, and more. I presume if you're a scammer working out of who-knows-where, this adds much legitimacy.

Other than "Stella" do you have any names? Who signed the contract on behalf of the company?

I also recommend you report this to Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware.

Edit: The more I think about this, the more I think you need to take your contract and all their work product to an attorney for proper legal advice. I'll close this thread, since we do not recommend action beyond that for people who feel they've not gotten their money's worth from any writing-related business.
 
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