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Thread: Is Greentreetech a scam?

  1. #1
    Full Member Ann Williams's Avatar
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    Question Is Greentreetech a scam?

    I've just started a new website and I have included giveaways as one of the things I do. As a response, I have had an e-mail from the owner of www.Greentreetech.co.za (or what I believe to be the owner - I don't know because nowhere on the site do I find the owners listed).

    The e-mail is the 'giveaway' of "1 000 businesses" (yup) as their "goal is to create 1-million jobs in SA over the next 5 years". Okay - so maybe that's just the typical American gung-ho marketing.... But what I am concerned with here, is that the 'business' is basically an affiliate scheme for cellphone airtime rates.

    Ie. You sign-up; you download airtime; you get friends to sign up; you get a small percentage commission on the airtime that they use. (Quite a simple model, yet tech-wise it looks like it could be quite good.)

    There are a few things that are really bugging me about this though...

    1. The 1 000 business giveaways. Is this just an Amway-style hype where you are called a "business operator" but all you are is just basically a sales rep getting an extremely minor commission. (It's - ooo, wait for it - R1 every time a friend recharges.)

    2. Although a company number is given, the names of the owner/s are not.

    3. No physical address is given.

    4. The contract is all about their rights - and nothing about how you can stop any activities on their side.

    5. And this is the big one - they WANT YOU TO SIGN A DEBIT ORDER.

    Now, this may not necessarily be a scam as they will need access to your bank to draw out the money that you use (and they do ask you that you say what your maximum amout is).

    Also, the website looks great etc etc

    But it is really giving me the shivers because they ask for all of your details but actually give almost none of theirs.

    So, what I'm asking is if anyone has come across them in the past two years that they state that they have been in business; and if you have, what has your experience been?
    Last edited by Ann Williams; 04-Mar-10 at 08:19 AM.
    www.2BBusiness.co.za
    Business portal that provides free news and information to assist South African entrepreneurs in SMMEs.

  2. #2
    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    I think you might have answered your own question here.

    a>> they want your bank details limits and they want you to give them the right to take money?
    b>> no information if you want out.
    c>> no evidence of an owner or his / her information.
    d>> really low commission on sales.
    e>> the most damning evidence of all the “big promises” if it is too good to be true it normally is.

    I think they are trying to cover themselves with paper work but I wouldn’t go near them with a 10m pole...
    peace is a state of mind
    Disclaimer: everything written by me can be considered as fictional.

  3. #3
    Full Member Ann Williams's Avatar
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    Yeah. I'm very sceptical myself and I wouldn't even dream of using it personally.

    But I also don't want to just diss a person's business idea - especially when it comes to putting something up on my website. The whole idea of running a useful news site is to do a bit of digging before making conclusions. So this is the start of my scratching around....

    And if I come up with some nasty stuff I will write a "watch-out" article giving more details.
    www.2BBusiness.co.za
    Business portal that provides free news and information to assist South African entrepreneurs in SMMEs.

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    Platinum Member desA's Avatar
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    Why on earth would you want to give a complete stranger, with no real identity, access to your bank account?
    In search of South African Technology Nuggets(R), for sale & trading in South East Asia.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Have you tried asking them straight out for more info, Ann?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  6. #6
    Full Member Ann Williams's Avatar
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    Getting in contact with them

    I phoned the "call centre" number given on the website and got a message recorded by the owner on his answering machine. He DID call me back late yesterday afternoon....

    but he had to leave a message as I was out (my aunt was in surgery and died last night). So for now this issue is just going to have to wait for next week.

    I had done a bit of scratching around the net about the company and the owner yesterday though. I'm a little concerned though. Not about what I found (there were no complaints), but rather by what I didn't find.

    He states that the company is two years old but there is nothing online besides the same e-mail that he sent me which has been placed on a number of jobs/recruitment sites under the general premise of "we intend to create a million jobs over the next five years" and "we are giving away a 1 000 jobs for free, contact us now to become an agent".

    The other thing was a few profiles (saying the same thing), that basically he works as a tecchie for Sanlam. He is quite young.

    The other thing I found, which was for me possibly the most disturbing was that the one site that gave a Google map address and location for his premises basically just stated: Cape Town, Western Cape and then if you zoomed in, you went to a spot in the green patch of a highway intersection near central Cape Town. Ie. I can't send anyone to actually pitch up at his premises and check him out. Nor can anyone else who has happily given him their banking details!

    Why I am trying to take a logical view of this is because as much as my gut feeling could say one thing, I feel that it is always our responsibility to check as much out as possible before slating someone/something in a wider medium such as a website for entrepreneurs.

    My view is that this could be one of the best scams to get money out of South Africans in a long time; or it could be that this young IT techie has come up with a cool technical/online idea for this programme (I checked out GreenTreeTech internationally and they are a well known technical company that provides excellent backend website packages such as the one this chap is using to process the airtime purchases).

    But that he is actually quite clueless about the impression that he is putting forward with his American-style rah, rah "we have a dream" type of marketing. Also that he is probably the only person involved but doesn't want to make that obvious.

    My take on it is: there is nothing wrong with being a one-man-band as I am very much trying to promote small businesses with big ideas. But by doing it this way, he mustn't be surprised if people who come across this are extremely cynical.

    Whew, I must go now. But I'll try to get hold of the young man next week to let him have his say, and I will let everyone know what is I have found out.
    www.2BBusiness.co.za
    Business portal that provides free news and information to assist South African entrepreneurs in SMMEs.

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    Dave A (05-Mar-10)

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ann Williams View Post
    (my aunt was in surgery and died last night)


    My commiserations.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  9. #8
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    Greentree Tech is creating job, income & business opportunities for South Africans

    It is so sad when a few critical people with previous hurts collect titbits of info and draw conclusions and then make judgements without first gathering all the facts before making a decision.

    Yes I know there are a lot of sharks and scammers out there, I've been bitten too. All the more reason to create something for average South Africans that is scam-free, easy, FREE with no lock-in clauses with the intention of just helping them out.

    I spent 20 years in IT building systems for all the large Corporates - Sanlam, MetLife, Southern Life, Old Mutual, Media24, Woolworths, Woolworths Financial Services, etc. I learnt some things and decided it was time to build a system for the little people, hence Greentree Technologies. I applied my skills and developed a system in the Airtime industry for the people. I call it a "Robin Hood" technology as it is taking away the profits on airtime from the larger companies and putting it back in the hands of individuals. I'm a philanthropist at heart and an entrepreneur, so it's not handouts I'm giving away but opportunities for individuals to develop with my mentorship/support.

    The service we offer, called EARNASYOUGO has the following benefits for individuals:

    1. CONVENIENCE - No more standing in queues at shops or not being nea a shop when you need airtime. Greentree clients buy their airtime directly from the system at head office by sending an SMS and the voucher no is sent straight back t the cell phones. Anytime 24/7/365.

    2. SECURITY - A large portion of South Africans live in townships and are afraid to go out after 7pm at night. This is life threatening. So for them to buy their airtime from their cell phones within their homes is a much safer option that trying to go to the Spaza shops. We also have the PLEASE CALL ME option for when our clients run out of airtime totally and cannot even send us an SMS to buy a new voucher. They can just send us a PLEASE CALL ME and the Greentree system will send them a voucher straight to their cell phones.

    3. FREE & EASY - The EARNASYOUGO service is totally FREE. There is no joining fee, no mark-up on vouchers as is done in the townships, no charge for SMS's - standard rate charged by networks, no locking into long-term contracts. It's so easy for a client to join Greentree and to use the service. If they want to stop, they just let us know and they can go. They seldom do, because of the next benefit.

    4. COMMISSION - Many clients tell their friends about this amazing service, and for this we reward them. If Client A tells a friend (Client B) and Client B joins, the application form will ask who referred them. Here Client B puts down Client A's cell no. From this point onwards every time Client B purchases airtime, we will give client A some commission. This is our way of saying thanks. Client A does not sell to Client B, in fact he never needs to see Client B ever again, but every month Client will get commission on all Client B's purchases indefinitely, even if it continues for 10+ years, even if Client B moves to another city in SA. Client A can refer as many friends as he likes. We will also give Client A bonus commission on client B's referrals and another level deeper too. We do not promote the EARNASYOUGO concept as a network marketing type business but it does have the benefits.

    We promote this concept by means of Regional and Local Licences all over South Africa. We had an overwhelming response for Local Licences but interested parties struggle to raise capital. IT is with this that we created an Agency option that was more affordable. After hearing that more than 1million South Africans lost their jobs last year, we decided to help out by giving away 1000 FREE Agencies all over South Africa. These agents get support in setting up their businesses, developing marketing plans and structures and continuous coaching and support to develop their businesses from scratch.

    I am contactable if there are any questions re the concept, company, etc. my cell no is 0843140842, email is kenny@greentreetech.co.za. I would rather you call me than draw a skewed conclusion.

    Let me correct the incorrect assumptions and allegations further up this thread:

    1. Owners details on website – Our website is in the process of being redeveloped and all this info will appear on it, my contact details are above.
    2. 1000 Business Giveaway is genuine, we have had more than 500 applicants to date and some Agents are already up and running – happily.
    3. Create 1million jobs in SA – please see this in perspective. Our target market is over 20million prepaid airtime users. It is only 5% of these that we want to be purchasing their airtime thru Greentree and earning commissions thru the EARNASYOUGO model.
    4. Commission of R1 per referral – I don’t know where this info came from, but commissions are % based and are on a sliding scale for different options in the company. Commissions are recurring, so a client that purchases airtime every month for 10+ years will generate a commission to his referrer for that period.
    5. No physical address given – The reason for this is that this entire business is virtual and can be operated from anywhere at anytime. This applies to Head-office, Licencees, Agents and clients. We do have aback-office in Somerset West where the technicalities are controlled from. All communication with clients, Licencees and Agents is via email, cell and telephone. All requests are answered. Due to the fact that we can have millions of clients and the mark-up on airtime is reasonably small, it doesn’t warrant meeting with clients.
    6. Stopping activities from a client, Agent or Licencees side. There is no easier way. A simple email or letter immediately cancels all activity. There is no long-term hold on anyone. If a client wants to leave, they may. This way we only have happy clients. Remember we are trying to help people, not rip them off.
    7. Debit Order – Well, its one thing giving away a FREE service or FREE Agency, but we cannot give away the airtime as well. It has to be paid for. We encourage clients to refer friends so that their commissions exceed their monthly airtime usage, thus leaving them in a position to never have to pay for airtime again. Taking this further creates a position where Greentree is depositing commissions into their bank accounts every month. We use a 3rd party organisation (NETCASH) to do these transactions and keep things legitimate. If you trust them with your car, house, insurance, DSTV, etc. Payments, you can trust them with your Greentree airtime payment too.
    8. Thanks for the compliment on the website, it has much room for improvement and we are in design stage of the revamped website.
    9. We’ve been in business since Aug 2007 and have had no complaints by our clients. If there is a problem, we resolve it quickly.
    10. Works as a techie for Sanlam – that was in the late 80’s, early 90’s – a while ago.
    11. Thanks for the compliment of being quite young. I do think 42 is quite young as well, although cycling up the hill is not quite as easy as it used to be.
    12. I’m not sure why you refer to it as a scam, as nobody has anything to lose here. The service is FREE and a client will pay for his airtime as he would anywhere else.
    13. My company is not related to any of the international Greentree companies. We are in negotiation with some African countries to establish the business across Southern Africa.

    Well I hope this has dispelled all the negatives. Come on guys, I’m really trying to do a good thing here, so instead of slating me, call me and get the facts. This is a great opportunity for South Africans out there. Join me in bringing the opportunity to them. Thanks for the opportunity to clear up the misconceptions.

    Kenny Steyn
    0843140842
    Kenny@greentreetech.co.za

  10. Thanks given for this post:

    Dave A (05-Mar-10)

  11. #9
    Platinum Member SilverNodashi's Avatar
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    All businesses start somewhere, some start small, some start big, depending on who they know and what business experience they have.

    Maybe you (we all?) should look at this from a different angle. This is probably a one-man-band-show type business and by disclosing his personal or physical address details, others will see it and diss him as a small and unreliable source.

    I'm just guessing, and if this is the case then he runs him operating from home so by not including this info he could come across to others as a small shop with little web design experience.

    Either way, just cause he doesn't have that info doesn't mean it's a scam. For that matter I've seen worse websites owned by large corporates who push a few million every month. But their line of business isn't IT orientated so they don't care much.
    Get superfast South African Hosting at WebHostingZone

  12. #10
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Welcome to TFSA, Kenny
    and thanks for taking the time to clear up the queries raised. I wouldn't be too hard on those who voiced their concerns - this is valuable feedback of other perceptions which gives you the opportunity to address them

    Credit also to Softdux - he wouldn't have known about Kenny's post when he made his one above

    Kenny, it sounds like a sweet business, good luck with it. What startles me is how a simple and promising concept like this can lead to such complexity.

    Here are some thoughts on that:

    1. The debit order aspect is a significant trust issue. Netcash is a known and credible debit order service - it might be an idea to mention them in your website.

    2. The lack of physical address provided. Tricky one as it is a virtual business, but providing a physical address really does help; at least it is somewhere to send legal notices. Maybe consider putting a section 51 notice page somewhere?

    3. Lastly the admin implications, particularly as relates to tax. SARS is sure to want a slice of the kind of action you're talking about. You could end up having to issue a heck of a lot of IT3a's.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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