News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The local branch of Pro Resources has closed nearly two months after a News 12 On Your Side investigation into the job service.
We first warned you about Pro Resources in August. Our investigation raised questions about deceptive advertising practices.
On Oct. 19, 2012, the Augusta and Macon branches of Pro Resources closed its doors.
Pro Resources is an employment service company. Customers pay a nearly $200 fee for a year membership. The membership allows them to access a job database.
"It doesn't surprise me," Ashley Lowe said.
Lowe is now talking publicly about Pro Resources. She is the whistleblower who alerted News 12 On Your Side to the advertising practices of Pro Resources.
"Why are you coming forward now?" asked News 12's Liz Owens.
"Because everything is shut down," Lowe replied. "It's all out in the open, it's all cleared, and honestly I have nothing to lose at this point."
Lowe worked at Pro Resources for more than two years. Her job was to connect new clients with employment opportunities. The problem, she says, is that some of those opportunities were deceptive.
"The finally straw, when I came forward to y'all, there was a job that was advertised that wasn't open anymore and I was told to tell them, 'Oh, it must have just closed. ' I was told to lie about it," she said.
Our investigation revealed Pro Resources advertised closed jobs as open jobs, out-of-town jobs advertised as local and employment available online to anyone advertised as exclusive only to Pro Resources.
"Not everyone should pay this fee and you know what? Buyer beware," is what Jennifer Solberg with Pro Resources told News 12 back in August.
Pro Resources management is not longer responding from inquiries from News 12.
News 12's story eventually led to the Better Business Bureau pulling Pro Resources' A-plus rating and removing the company's accreditation in Augusta.
"They only had limited number of members apply last month, and I believe some of that they stated was because of the previous airing of what was going on with them in the past," said Gigi Turner with the Better Business Bureau of the CSRA.
Turner still has some concerns about the business.
"There was no signs of closing before the allegations were made," she said. "We do have some concerns in the aspect of what was taking place in regards to Pro Resources before the closing."
Pro Resources left very little information for current customers. The only information posted is on the back door of the empty building. A sign gives a P.O. box to mail complaints.
"They have also said that they are not giving refunds," Turner said.
She does say Pro Resources is allowing current clients to access the job database from home.
Lowe says her manager suspected she was the whistleblower shortly after our investigation aired this summer.
Owens: "Do you at all regret coming forward?"
Lowe: "No, no."
Owens: "Being a whistleblower?"
Owens: "You're without a job now."
Lowe: "But there are a lot of people that that was their gas money."
The address Pro Resources left for their customers is P.O. Box 1027, Highland, MI 48357. If you have a complaint about the Augusta branch of Pro Resources, please contact the BBB at (706) 210-7676.
Click the stories below to see News 12's previous coverage:
- 12 On Your Side Special Investigation: Pro Resources: Is it legit?
- 12 On Your Side: Pro Resources loses accreditation after News 12 investigation