WAXAHACHIE — Dr. Justin Wright hopes the lesson he learned earlier this summer will help save other businesses time, frustration and money.
The Waxahachie dentist was approached by individuals who claimed affiliation with the Waxahachie High School athletic department and asked for support for the school’s basketball program. Wright said he thought he was signing on to help local athletes but soon realized he had been hustled.
“They had legitimate marketing materials that showed various sponsorship levels for the purchase of cups, T-shirts, banners and things like that,” Wright said. “We love this community and are always happy to support the city and especially its schools, so we agreed to pay for a banner in the gym and 2,000 cups at the games.”
When a charge from Boost Sports appeared on his credit card statement on Aug. 9. Wright, who was unfamiliar with the name, contacted the company and then did some investigation.
“We were unable to get them to refund our money or return our calls once they realized we wanted a refund,” Wright explained. “Thankfully, we were able to dispute it through our credit card company after we realized it was not a reputable company.”
Wright added he discovered several Better Business Bureau complaints about the company as well as information that the business had changed its name several times in the past two years.
The Waxahachie Police Department is now involved, along with police departments in surrounding communities. Wright said he also has alerted the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce as well as the Waxahachie High School athletic department.
According to the BBB website, Boost Sports, also known as Touchdown Sports, has a pattern of disputes alleging issues with delivery of promised advertisements.
“Complainants allege they contract with Touchdown Sports for advertisements to be placed in various schools. Consumers are lead to believe Touchdown Sports is authorized to fundraise and is partnered with the school,” the BBB website stated. “Complainants allege after paying, they had limited to no communication from the company.”
The BBB website also states that 21 complaints have been filed against the business, 10 complaints against the business were not responded to and four complaints filed against the business are not resolved.
Messages left for Boost Sports went unreturned as of press time.
Waxahachie Police Chief Wade Goolsby advises residents to use caution before they agree to make a purchase from a sales person.
“If there is any question at all and the person does not feel like it is a legitimate deal the best thing to do is to call the person or the company they say they represent,” Goolsby stated. “Get all the information from the person who is selling it. Then call the person that is supposedly endorsing it and verify it with them.”
Goolsby added that if the information can’t be verified the next step to contact police.
Waxahachie ISD Athletic Director Greg Reed shared Goolsby’s thoughts about the action people should take.
“There are two types of businesses that are out there. There are the ones that are not legitimate at all who are trying to take advantage of somebody. The second one is that they are legitimate, but they misrepresent that they are representing WISD or one of the athletic programs,” Reed said. “My recommendation would be if anybody in the community is offered something and if they are not sure if it is legitimate or not is to call our athletic office and ask me.”
Reed noted there are three companies that the school district works with currently. These companies include Mascot Media, who produces calendars with sports schedules for the fall, winter and spring sports, Varsity News Network, who runs the athletic department’s website and Home Team Marketing.
Sandy King, Chief Financial Officer for the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce, encourages business owners who have questions about a situation like this to contact the chamber for guidance on what to do.
“That is one of the things about being a chamber member and one of the reasons why the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest local chambers. All of the chamber members use each other as a credentialing process,” King noted.
King stated that on the chambers’ website there is a directory with more than 650 businesses, churches and non-profits that have been vetted and checked out. A link for the directory is on the main page under the membership directory tab.
“If you can find them in the chamber directory that says they are a part of your community and that they are contributing to the community,” King commented.
Wright hopes his experience will help other businesses that might face a similar situation.
“It’s sad there are people out there who would use our students and their hard work and dedication for personal gain,” Wright said. “This situation won’t diminish Just Wright Dental’s drive to continue to support this great community, but I hope it will serve as a reminder for everyone to double check fundraising affiliations before signing on.
Fraudulent business practices can be reported to the Waxahachie Police Department at 469-309-4400. The department is located at 216 N. College St. in downtown Waxahachie.