Occasionally websites come to our attention through our Community section. They also come through the posts and comments on our Facebook page. Sometimes the topics are useful resources we are happy to bring to the attention of our users. Other times the information and questions we get indicate that certain sites may not be completely trustworthy.
We have no direct evidence of purposeful wrongdoing with regard to americasgotfunding.com. Still there are enough red flags to warrant extreme caution if you are considering giving them money.
They are not a government website nor a funding agency and don't claim to be. They welcome you in with colorful and upbeat pictures along with text designed to give the impression that just about anyone can qualify for some kind of grant or funding.
The catch is that you must pay to belong to their “members only website” where you will supposedly receive information about and assistance with applying for those funds. So read on and just go in with your eyes wide open:
Discover your program today!
Some sites have customer reviews that do not reflect terribly kindly on this organization. Some users thought their initial fee was all that was required only to discover they need to pay almost $30 monthly. Others attempted without success to reach a customer service agent who could provide any help at all with their payment complaint. Still others were very skeptical about the caller id for the company on their phone. Most warned strongly against paying these people any money.
For example, one review on Yelp was from a frustrated user who tried for nine weeks to successfully to cancel his subscription. And despite the delay only the most recent payment was refunded, so he was out almost $270 for nothing. Please remember that anyone or any organization that asks for payment up front in order to give you a grant is almost certainly a fraudulent vendor.
The requirement that you must pay to find and apply for grants or other types of aid always sets off alarms for us. Yes there are many grants and agencies and sources of funds for those who qualify. And yes it can be overwhelming. But you simply don't need to pay to have someone point you to information that is freely and easily available. Plenty of sites do that and more for free.
We have not paid the fee to see what sort of information and assistance America's Got Funding actually provides. Our assessment of what little we could see of the site itself certainly did not make us feel confident about giving them any personal or financial information. These doubts were confirmed when we read their review from the Better Business Bureau and when we tried to find positive reviews from users either through online search or social media. These findings are summarized below:
- The site looks very encouraging with rows of icons representing different kinds of grants and funding that are availble. Frustratingly, clicking any of these items took us only to the site's Registration form rather than to any more detailed information.
- Major newspapers and headlines are featured on the right as if they are testimonials for America's Got Funding. In fact they are simply headlines about different types of grants, with no specific dates. While they may be interesting, they offer no identifiable support for the site's trustworthiness.
- They claim that your fee includes a guarantee that if you don’t qualify for a “free program” you will get a refund right away. They do not define what qualifies as a “free program” and you must send them a “denial letter” from the funder who turns you down. However, grant makers do not necessarily send a rejection to every applicant. And America’s Got Funding just says you’ll “qualify” for something — that just means you’re eligible to apply, not that you will receive funding.
- The offer of a guarantee is reassuring but note that they only claim to refund your money if you are turned down for a grant for which you are eligible. Eligibility is often subject to interpretation and you have no recourse if there is nothing for which you qualify.
- The site provides no useful information if you do not provide personal information and payment.
Most notably, the Better Business Bureau gives this outfit a rating of F (on a scale of A+ to F). They have had 12 complaints filed against them with the BBB over the past three years. The majority were relatively recent, having been closed in the past year. Many of the complaints concerned issues regarding the company's product or service. Three of the complaints had to do with billing and collection. While it was noted that the company did make good faith efforts to close most of the complaints, there was one compaint to which they failed to respond. It was also noted that some users were not satisfied with the way in which their complaint was resolved.
Our online searches for comments and reviews regarding this business yielded only negative results. It is true that people are more likely to publicize complaints than praise. However, there are so many opportunities these days to encourage positive feedback and sharing of information it might be considered unusual that a company would not take adventage of them. We did not find any Facebook page for this company and no Google +1 currently appears on their site to allow readers to share comments or to reflect positive experience with a thumbs up.
To conclude we would strongly caution you to avoid the America's Got Funding website. Check out our article on the top ten things you should know about grants (for free) and you'll be ahead of the game!