The only thing darkness fears is the light. With The BBX Investigation the knives are coming out as word gets out there and the light is shining right into the cracks of the BBX story-telling. Here are a few of the comments received recently from the Tipline relating to my recent investigation into BBX, starting with some of the tools I use to ferret out the truth . . .
As an investigator, one of the clues I use to identify probable fact vs probable story-telling is the principle that reality is generally reported differently by different people, but a ‘story’ uses the same repeating words. This is not a definitive technique but it gives me an idea for later verification with evidence.
I’ll give you a simple example of this before we dive into the BBX stories. Upon reporting an accident, one person may report the time and date; another will notice and report the make and model of the cars. Another will talk about the people involved and perhaps in great detail. This is normal human behaviour and the stories will all match together. A good example of this is the various biblical recounting. Sometimes different angles on the events but generally complementary and matching when seen objectively.
Story-tellers on the other hand cannot usually do this. Deceivers conspiring will agree on the story to be told, then all will tell it, usually pretty much the same, and will often cease talking when quizzed. It is rare that story-tellers engage because that would reveal holes in their deception.
“He didn’t have his indicators on and was speeding. He didn’t have his indicators on and was speeding. He didn’t have his indicators on and was speeding.” Same words from different people indicate possible conspiracy. Natural human conduct would be to hear different words from different people: “I didn’t see his indicators but I know he was going really fast; and I don’t think his turning lights were going but he would have been going about xxx [speed]. What an idiot! He flew through the intersection without even letting us know which way he was going to go!”
You get the point.
I knew from the outset of my investigation that there was a high probability that the BBX story was spin as I had heard the same words repeated from BBX people for years. When I noted the same thing from BBX CEO Carolin MacDonald as I heard from others, repeating exact same words as well as the exact same responses in defence, I knew that there was a high probability of deception occurring as stories were being told, all clearly originating from the same source. I later proved this to be the case as the investigation progressed and the evidence came out.
There is a repeating mantra from the BBX people, especially in the barter industry along the lines of, “The Touma family would never do that!” The inference of course is that they are squeaky clean. Not so as I have found out.
I now go through some of the various tips, experiences and feedback that have come to me, particularly since I broke the story. As I do this, observe the different nuances, subjects and points of focus in the various tips. It’s a kaleidoscope of colourful life experiences shaping a picture in our minds of the reality of the BBX business. I leave off any references to the smoking gun issue of the compromised financial data which was the biggie for me, and I’ve omitted references to some things that would or could identify individuals when they don’t want to be, or I believe should not be identified. I’ve also collated and paraphased some feedback to avoid duplication but all examples are from real events.
“Dennis, look into the [recent] Sydney franchise set up by [redacted]. That one stinks to high heaven because Michael never trusted [redacted]. Ask yourself why Carolin did it and look at the property transactions.”
I have and am of course.
India is dead
Singapore & Malaysia are dead. An interesting thing about these two countries are that they weren’t BBX Franchises, they were agreements to cooperate with a local barter organisation, a little deceptive from BBX:
One of the things that keeps coming out time after time is the fights within BBX, not only between the Touma family members but also the BBX family. A huge proportion of Franshisees go under, are disillusioned and end up in court or threatening to go to court. When such enormous conflict occurs you have to ask why? Thailand for example has had several different people have a go at running it, all failed or pulled out, or ended up threatening or going to court. Here’s another country that has had a repeating story the same:
Michael Touma is still the BBX International Managing Director according to the official BBX website:
And if you think that this deception is accidental or the result of (as Carolin MacDonald puts it) the pressures of BBX International “Expansion Plans” think again. At the upcoming Franchise show in the UK, BBX UK states that:
BBX international spans 13 countries and has been established over 23 years with a high pedigree in franchising. Source.
This is an outright lie told to people in the process of risking sometimes their entire life’s savings into a franchise of a dying fraudulent business. Now the UK operations may claim that this is an inaccurate out of date figure perhaps supplied by mistake a while back before they knew from my blogging. But not so this incredible blatant deceptive marketing effort from today:
188 new BBX UK opportunities – RIGHT NOW!
Hi [name redacted],
BBX UK are marching relentlessly toward 5,000 customers here in the UK and would love to create a win/win for you along our path.
Do you know anyone looking for a business opportunity?
• We are looking for 61 franchisees RIGHT NOW in a variety of UK locations (nine are already successfully operating)
• We are seeking to appoint 127 sales executives
• Finally with each new 100-150 businesses that join our community we need another account manager!
The ideal sort of person will be someone you would love to deal with.
We will reward any introduction that completes a franchise purchase with a £1,000 cash payment to your bank account.
You can also earn a £500 cash payment for anyone you introduce that takes up a sales executive role and completes 10 new client enrollments.
Finally we will be at the franchisee show at London Excel this Friday and Saturday – look out for us http://www.thefranchiseshow.co.uk/exhibitors/ or pop down and have a coffee with us – CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR YOUR FREE TICKETS
John Attridge C.T.B.
CEO, BBX UK
DD – 03333 661 026 | M – 07799 717 627 | 0333 400 2014
firstname.lastname@example.org | http://www.bbxuk.com/
1st Floor Wilson House, 2 Lorne Park Rd, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH1 1JN
BBX is in Australia, China, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Kingdom
[bolded are totally dead]
BBX UK has huge ethical issues going out franchising with false marketing materials, let alone in the context that the BBX International operations are and have been falling apart. I’m now starting to receive feedback that the exchange up there has serious issues with members feeling that they are over-sold and under delivered. One person said:
Dennis, the BBX operations here are a clone of the Bartercard disaster [Bartercard to put it politely messed the UK commercial barter market up]. Same people; same cons. We can’t buy anything sensible for our business [they were a business seeking business-related products and services]. There’s a limit to how many meals we can [use]. Not happy here!
You don’t build a case for or against a company or a person or a subject based on Facebook but when you see comments like these going back in Facebook that are specific with real people reporting real experiences and can be identified and contacted for verification or other information, you can. I won’t answer the question whether or not I’ve PM’d these people or people like them for obvious privacy reasons, but I believe these stories are valid and typical of real experiences of the BBX members:
Then it comes to the insiders squalking. These ones are interesting because they come from multiple sources. The originator was tracked down (before I got them) to an ex-staff member from Head Office in Australia. There is a consistency in style and a similarity in GMail details that makes it clear that someone didn’t want to be named. The GMail accounts are now closed but were working in 2016 and after the founder’s death. They paint a picture of an intensely political environment, trust at a very low level and questionable ethics going back for years. Dysfunctional at best. As always the tone of a business is set from the top. I’ve masked all names but even doing that it’s hard to read when you realise that these are real people, hurting, and scrapping while real people out there are losing, getting conned and lied to and stolen. Note the serious difficulties with Western Australia, Perth and Tasmania which tie in with other revelations. This is a far better picture of reality than the repeating mantra from BBX, “There’s no story here, Dennis! We deny EVERYTHING you and everybody else says!”
It’s interesting to note company records too. Not everyone knows how to access this information and a lot of information is behind pay-walls. Here are some of the various BBX entities in various states of bankruptcy and operations. This is not the sign of a healthy state of affairs!
I’ve said that I’ve determined to rid the world of this blight on the business landscape. This post shows that there are many others who feel the same way. I am fortunate that unlike them I haven’t lost at the hands of BBX. I do though intend to push through now and complete the job. BBX are doomed, and as I have been sharing, sooner rather than later.
There is believe it or not still a lot MORE to come! I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little of the investigative process while you’ve caught up with some of the BBX gossip.
Thanks for stopping by.
The BBX Investigation Series
- PUBLIC WARNING: BBX Barter (2381 words)
- 2. War Erupts Within BBX Barter (4090 words)
- 3. BBX is Busted – Working it Out (2388 words)
- 4. BBX has big, Big, BIG Problems (1778 words)
- 5. The Demise of BBX (3489 words)
- 6. BBX – A Summary (1308 words)
- 7. Reflections on Investigating BBX (6394 words)
- 8. BBX – The First Criminal Charges (3625 words)
- 9. BBX Crimes – The Significance (2,710 words)
- 10. BBX Causes Problems for IRTA (2,251 words)
- 11. BBX: Rats Off a Sinking Ship (1,715 words)
- 12. BBX Data Security Breach (1,852 words)
- 13. BBX Threatens – Sue Me PLEASE! (1,511 words)
- 14 The BBX Knives Are Coming Out (1,791 words)
- 15. BBX Memberships – Names in a Database (2,774 words)
- 16. BBX UK & The Franchise Show (2,840 words)
- 17. OPEN LETTER 1 – BBX Members (162 words)
- 18. BBX Currency Analysis – 10c/$1.00 (1,527 words)
- 19. The BBX People Speak (11,726 words)
- 20. More Words from BBX People (15,206 words)
- 21. How BBX Did It – Lies & Theft (3,663 words)
- 22. BBX – Winding Down/Winding Up (3,217 words)
- 23. BBX New Zealand Analysis (828 words)
- 24. BBX UK Membership Analysis (1,143 words)
- 25. BBX NZ – Serious Fraud Office (1,261 words)
- 26. BBX – Thailand Member Analysis (1,165 words)
- 27. BBX Minor Countries Analysis (574 words)
- 28. The BBX People (2,290 words)
- 29. BBX International in a Nutshell (295 words)
- 30. The Raw BBX Data (4,463 words)
- 31. BBX Members React – It’s War (5,617 words)
- 32. BBX and Issues of Morality (1,363 words)
- 33. Warning to BBX Staff & Associates (1,944 words)
- 34. BBX Devaluation Helps With Tax Losses (1,269 words)
- 35. BBX Rips Open the Barter Industry (1,237 words)
- 36. MEDIA RELEASE: Barter Tax Avoidance Warning (516 words)
- 37. BBX Whistleblower: Cameron McKean (4,994 words)
- 38. The BBX Investigation Final Comments (1,504 words)