BBB Warns Of Ad Offering 'Highly Collectible Government Notes'
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Who wouldn't want a bag of cash?
According to an ad in Wednesday's Tennessean, people should be "running to their phones" to call for, what the company behind the ad claims are, "highly collectible U.S. government notes."
But is this really as good a deal as the ad makes it out to be?
That's what, in this case, is the $99 question.
The bold headline across the full page ad offers "bags of cash" if you call within the next three days and order one of the so-called vault bags.
But the Better Business Bureau said not so fast.
"Save your money. It's not a bag of cash that you're going to enjoy," President Kathleen Calligan warned.
For $99, the Ohio-based World Reserve Monetary Exchange, which has no official connection to the federal government, advertises that it will send you "current uncut, old and rarely seen U.S. currency."
The picture in the ad shows a collection of nearly three dozen bills featuring everyone from George Washington to Ben Franklin.
But for the advertised $99, you're not getting any of the larger denominations you see in the ad. It's only when you read the fine print that you see you're actually getting just one and two dollar bills – 11 of them, in all.
The Better Business Bureau called the company's ads "deceptive."
"What you see in the ad is a composite of so many misleading statements and statements that aren't fully disclosed," the BBB's Calligan said.
Mike Mouret, owner of Nashville Coin & Currency, also took notice of the ad. He told NewsChannel 5 Investigates that what stood out to him were statements "to make you confused and think you're getting this massive wonderful deal that's not even close to correct."
Mouret has been a professional currency dealer for more than 30 years. So we asked him how much the ad's so-called deal is really worth.
"Probably $30, $40 retail," he said.
"$30 or $40," we confirmed.
"And you're spending $99?" we continued.
Mouret's company buys and sells currency and has obtained some of the sets that World Reserve sells. We asked him about the ad's claims that these bills are "valuable" and some "rarely seen."
"The average public may not see them very often because they've been out of circulation since the 60's. But if a person was to just look for people who sell these, they're not rarely seen or highly sought after. They've very common and available," he explained.
In fact, Mouret said you can get a $2 bill from your local bank -- for $2 -- while the U.S. Treasury sells uncut versions for a just a little more than face value.
The BBB reported it's received more than 260 complaints about the World Reserve Monetary Exchange in the last three years, and the BBB gives the company an "F."
As for ad, the BBB's Calligan remarked, "This is definitely one of those ads that is too good to be true."
The World Reserve Monetary Exchange has run similar ads for years in newspapers across the country and many of those ads have been challenged by the Better Business Bureau because of what the BBB said were misleading claims.
We tried to talk with the company about the ad in Wednesday’s paper. They returned our phone calls with an email saying it would take 1 to 2 business days to answer our questions in writing.