Warning: don’t deal with Plus One Companions
THE Office of Fair Trading is warning Queenslanders not to deal with online business Plus One Companions or its proprietors Matthew Elliot and Travis Burch.
The Gold Coast-based business operates nationwide and purports to offer non-sexual escort services.
The OFT has been made aware of the activities of the business following an investigation by another law enforcement agency.
Plus One Companions advertises for "companions" on websites including Gumtree and Seek. A telemarketer then phones the applicant and takes payment in exchange for listing on a database accessible only by members.
Companions pay between $219 and $495 and are promised 4-6 inquiries per month from members seeking companions, and the chance to earn $150 an hour and up to $150,000 a year.
However, the investigation revealed Plus One Companions has no members and no companions have ever received work. Fair Trading acting executive director Tony Johnson said the business was simply a sham and should be avoided.
"The business has been set up with the sole intent to defraud and never intended to offer any legitimate service in exchange for payments received," he said.
"Before signing up to a dating or companionship service, consumers should do plenty of research.
"Look for independent reviews on other websites and stick to services with a proven and longstanding reputation.
"Thoroughly read the terms and conditions before committing as some services require ongoing payments to remain a member or access more information about other members you might want to contact."
Investigations into the business and its proprietors are continuing.
Ads have been removed by Gumtree and Seek, but remain on other websites including the business's own.