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PCSO News Release

Media Contact:
Wood, Donna

Public Information Officer 
News Date: 12/31/2013 

 Georgia Man with Roving Door-To-Door Sales Force Arrested 


On Monday, December 30, 2013, Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested 48-year-old Timothy Lamont Burgess, DOB 09/28/65, Riverdale, Georgia, charging him with one count of Conducting Home Solicitation without a License; (M1).  Burgess was booked into the Polk County Jail and has since bonded out.

Burgess and his door-to-door sales company have received a number of complaints.  According to a news report:  “The Better Business Bureau has given an ‘F’ rating to the Georgia-based company due to the high number of complaints about sales practices, billing, customer service, products and refunds.”  Some have complained that the product is worthless, many complain about the aggressive sales tactics, and some said they were employees and complained that the company ripped them off.  See these links for more details and allegations:

http://www.bakersfieldnow.com/news/investigations/87418492.html?tab=video&c=y

http://tdn.com/news/local/aggressive-door-to-door-salespeople-hit-longview/article_f2c3a6f6-6470-11df-977d-001cc4c002e0.html

http://www.bbb.org/atlanta/business-reviews/door-to-door-sales-cleaning-supplies/t-and-b-sales-in-jonesboro-ga-9000836

http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/t-b-sales-advanage-wonder-cleaner-avalon-georgia-c218358.html

http://voices.yahoo.com/the-advanage-wonder-cleaner-scam-3168975.html?com=2&cat=46

In addition, a door-to-door employee of Burgess’ was convicted of brutally raping and assaulting an El Cajon, California teenager and sentenced to 80 years-to-life in prison in 2006.  See more information here:

http://legacy.utsandiego.com/news/metro/20061212-9999-1m12door.html

Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives began receiving information and complaints in late December that people were observed soliciting in neighborhoods in and around the Lakeland area.  People were complaining that the door-to-door salesmen were overly aggressive, rude, walking into open garages, looking into homes while at the front door, and walking around houses when there was no answer at the door.  The solicitors were going door-to-door selling a cleaning product. 

Additional investigation revealed that approximately 110 solicitors were staying at a north Lakeland motel at I-4 and U.S. 98 and they were expected to remain in the area for the several weeks.  On Saturday, December 28, 2013, PCSO detectives made contact with Burgess at the north Lakeland motel where he was staying.  Burgess told detectives he was the owner of T&B Sales, Inc., and managed “70 plus” employees who were soliciting around Polk County selling a cleaning product.  Burgess also stated he and his employees have been staying at a motel in north Lakeland for several weeks and he had just arranged to extend their stay. 

Detectives learned Burgess’ group was selling a product called “Advantage Wonder Cleaner.”  However, Burgess could not provide a valid solicitation permit from Polk County; he claimed he was just “taking orders” for the cleaner.  Detectives located several multi-passenger vans with North Carolina license plates in the hotel’s parking lot, all of which were registered to Timothy Burgess. 

Through their investigation, detectives learned Burgess did not have a Polk County Tax Collector’s permit to operate in the area.  In addition, Burgess did not possess a valid business license.  At 8:00 pm, on Monday, December 30, 2013, detectives returned to the north Lakeland motel and made contact with Burgess asking him if he had obtained the proper permits for residential solicitation. Burgess stated he did have a permit and escorted detectives to another room within the motel where he produced what appeared to be a tax identification document.   Burgess was then asked if he had a valid Polk County Home Solicitation permit to which he advised he did not. Burgess was then placed under arrest for violation of F.S.S. 501.055(2).

Burgess then told one of his “managers” to have “everyone pack their things and leave the hotel and to leave the county.”  Burgess advised them to go to a rest area in Orlando and wait for him to bond out of jail and he would meet them there.  He said they would then travel to Jacksonville.  Detectives returned to the hotel approximately an hour after Burgess’ arrest, and observed employees of Burgess loading all the vans and trucks with their belongings. 

Detectives contacted law enforcement agencies in the Jacksonville area alerting them to the possible arrival of Burgess and his group of employees.

“Any legitimate business soliciting work will have a Business Tax Receipt from the Polk County Tax Collector, a soliciting permit from the Clerk of the Courts, and a Business License. If they do not have all of these, do not do business with them.  Complaints follow Burgess wherever he goes.  He moves from town to town selling a questionable product.  Burgess’ aggressive and illegal solicitation is reported over and over but to avoid more serious prosecution, he continues to move his crew around the country.  Good riddance, Mr. Burgess, and don’t come back.”  Sheriff Grady Judd 

Burgess was arrested in Hillsborough County in 1986 for damaging property and in Santa Rosa County in 1986 for damaging property.

Some of the on-line complaints against the company are (see above links): 

“t&b sales treated me like a slave i tried to work my tail off for them and when i produce enough sales for them they fired me they put us in crappy hotels they teach us to lie cheat do whatever u have to do to get a sale after all if u don't sale u don't eat. they take homeless and non-working youngsters and give them jobs only to mistreat them for viewing pleasure i was excited to have a job but easily one of the worst expierences of my life f*ck u tim burgess” 

“you think that's something what they do to there employee's is worst. they expected us to sale 6- 20 bottles of that stuff a day. They teach young people tactics that are supost to get people to buy. Although i have used the soap and it actually works to my knowledge i can say that some of the things salesman tells you it works for it dont. After a couple weeks of working with that company i realize that i didnt like it. It was hard for me and my fiance to get out due to the fact that we owed the company so much money because our sales were not what they wanted them to be. we had traveled to a whole nother state with expectations that the company was everything they said they were. In all actualliality they never paid us the whole three months we were there cause our sale were not high enough and every week we owed more money. They finally got mad and sent us home or so we thought. they arranged for us to ride back with there recruiter to detroit from texas and he ende up leaving us in tennesee with no money and no way home. T&b sales is a rip off all the way around for customers and employee's.” 

“I purchased a cleaner from two salemen who came to my door. They cleaned a bit of the brass on my door that I have been trying to clean for years, by spraying a bit on the door, then rubbing with a soft scrubber. In seconds my brass was gleaming! After they left, I went out to use this magic cleaner, only to discover that it did not work, no matter what I did. I tried to contact the company through email, and had no response. I stopped payment on my check, since I had bought a magic cleaner, that turned out to be scented water. Today I got a call from a check agency, who had me call the company. They gave me all sort of arguments, such as I should have cancelled my order within a 3 day period. I was ripped off, and they think that I should follow their procedures! I will fight them on this. If they had sold me what they used on my door, I would not have complained! Someone needs to find out what they use in their spray bottles, as it must be toxic, and the sales people don't wear any protection!” 

“Unfortunately the "Kids" are trapped by the company. I know because I was one of them. "If you don't sell, you don't eat" that's the motto. I never tried to trick anyone. I explained to everyone I spoke to that Advanage is a good, environmentally friendly, cleaner, not a miracle cleaner. You want a miracle, go to church. So I didn't eat very much. I suffered under Tim Burgess (Owned/operator of T&B Sales) for 6 months when they left me in Norman, OK. Thank god for small favors and family, my brother drove 6 hours from Portales, NM to rescue me. I hate T&B Sales! They stole hundreds of dollars from me, and then they tried to strand me in Oklahoma.”