Mahlon Williams spends much of his time fielding angry calls from angry customers.
The voicemails pour in:
“This is asinine. I need you to call me back,” one woman barks.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
“I’m very upset,” says another.
“An elderly woman laments, “I have not ordered anything or approved anything.”
Says another customer in irritation, “I would really like to resolve this. This is like my third message.”
The problem is, those customers aren’t actually his.
“What they’re doing is deliberate, it’s intentional. It’s intentional confusion," Williams said.
Williams owns I Love Boston Sports - a brick and mortar store in the Square One Mall in Saugus, Massachusetts. But people are confusing his company's website with another company named I Love Boston.
They sell customers “absolutely free” fan gear - just pay shipping. And if you pony up an extra dollar you can get two for one.
But in order to get the dollar gear, you're opting into a VIP program that authorizes I Love Boston to charge your credit card $38.80 each month. Customers complain that even when they didn't opt in, their credit cards were charged extra or if they tried to cancel during the grace period, the monthly charges kept coming anyway.
Maya Garraty is from Concord, Massachusetts but goes to school in Colorado and wanted a cool sweatshirt to go to a Pats-Broncos game for her birthday.
She said her order from I Love Boston has been a headache.
“I emailed them to say what's going on...” Garraty told us over Skype. She eventually had to cancel her credit card to stop the attempts to charge it. “I'm a college student,” she said. “I don't have a lot of money.”
This isn't the first time we've tried to get answers for I Love Boston customers. But instead of responding directly, the company took our story and edited into a commercial of sorts for them.
We've emailed them for comment and left messages with an answering service. A woman who answered the phone at their customer service line said someone would get back to us, but no one did. The address on their website is a postal box in Boston, the company name on the invoice is out of Delaware and when we tracked owners Jonathan Holden and Robert Noe to an business in Everett, Massachusetts last time we were asked to leave the building.
Now, after our report, the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office is investigating. They've gotten nearly two dozen complaints.
Garraty said from now on, she'll shop with Williams - and the Super Fan sweatshirt from I Love Boston could get shelved.
“It seems a little tainted, honestly,” she said.
The attorney general's office couldn't give us any details of their investigation, but said if customers have a complaint they should call their consumer hotline at 617-727-8400 or file a complaint online at this link.