"I could work on this from home, in the evenings after my full time job," says Michelle De La Rosa.
That's why a home medical billing sounded so enticing to De La Rosa. For $500dollars, a "business in a box" she bought from Electronic Billing Systems promised all the tools including, software to download to a home computer and booklets. Everything needed to file medical claims for a doctors office, but there was one crucial thing missing.
"There's no market. You can't do this," explains John Kristoff. "Very few people have ever been successful at it. It really offends me that people are using the mystery of how the medical businesses operate to sell this to innocent people."
For more than a decade, Kristoff has been helping East Texas doctors run their businesses. Now working for the Azalea Orthopedic Clinic, he's bombarded daily with e-mails from folks like Michelle trying to solicit work. Kristoff says there's no economic advantage to go outside the practice.
"I was duped," Says Michelle. "I was duped into thinking that this is something I could do. But matters only worsened when Michelle tried to return the billing system for a full refund. She was told that would never happen because she violated "a software integrity agreement" simply by opening the UPS box the materials were packaged in.
"I had to open the packages to learn about the program to make a decision," she angrily explains. "It's all set up to fail if you ever want to return this."
That is something Nadine Cannon quickly learned to be true she says after EBS made away with $700 dollars of her money. Representatives told her she'd have 21 days to return the software if she was unhappy, but the most important detail was untold. "By the time I got the software, the package, I only had three or four days to look at it," says Nadine.
Typically, EBS starts the 21 days to return as you order the software not the day you receive it, another hidden detail.
Channel 7 News decided to call EBS to hear what one of their sales reps. had to say about a return policy. "If you send in a money order or use a check, you're not gonna get your money back," tells Sam Aloco. "If you use a credit card and I shouldn't even be telling you this. I'll be honest with ya...I don't want you to think your gonna get your money."
Sam also said that EBS was a legitimate business, where your success is their success. "Were with the federal trade commission," Sam adds. "All our calls are monitored, were highly regulated."
Logging onto FTC's website, it's clear companies like EBS are a "foe rather than a friend" of the government. At home medical billing companies, top their scheme list.
Feeling stuck in the scam, Nadine decided to download the software only to find another problem. "I realized I didn't have enough education in the medical field to even do anything with it."
That's why Nadine is now enrolled at Tyler Junior College, where a certified license in medical billing requires two year of classes and plenty of studying.