RED BULL: Gored by Vending Scam

Jan warns about the all-too-familiar fate of those who fell for the alleged Red Bull vending scam. Before you invest in a vending business opportunity believing that a big name company must be legit, read Jan’s story:

I, too, was misled by this “Business opportunity” offered by Creative Concepts and Red Bull.

In October of 2005 I ran across a web site describing various business opportunities. One that caught my eye was a RED BULL VENDING PACKAGE. I was familiar with the energy drink and thought that Red Bull was a reputable company as they had been in business several years and were considered to be the #1 selling energy drink on the market. I contacted Creative concepts of North America who was handling these distributorships for Red Bull. After receiving their information package and reviewing it carefully I was contacted by a Creative Concepts Representative. He stated that “business was booming” and over the course of many phone calls I was convinced that it sounded like a good opportunity.

The information package touted, among other things: 1. Complete 3 year warranty for machines against defects, materials, parts, service and labor and a 3 year theft and vandalism policy. 2. Protected distribution rights for my territory. 3. Customer Support Program. It also described the “lucrative world” of energy drink vending, describing it as a high growth proven industry and a recession proof business with very tangible tax benefits. Also, the materials described Red Bull as the “biggest threat to coke and Pepsi in the last 40 years” This statement is absolutely erroneous and I doubt that Pepsi or Coke feels very threatened by Red Bull as about 95% of the places I contacted had contracts with either one or the other of these companies!

According to Creative Concepts, machines were selling so fast that that most “distributorships were taken up.” My area was still available but probably “wouldn’t be for long.” Much of the projected earnings that they bragged of sounded a little outrageous to me but I was looking to make a little extra money and did not intend for this to be my sole means of income. I asked them why Red Bull did not place the machines themselves and they said that Red Bull did not want to hire extra people to place machines and service them. That sounded sensible and reasonable to me.

In January of 2006, I used what savings I had in addition to some credit cards to transfer funds in the amount of $12,570.00 to Creative Concepts. After I received the machines, I spent days leading to weeks, then months trying to place the machines…all to no avail. I was dumfounded to learn that just about every location I visited had contracts with either Pepsi or Coke. I went to hotels, motels, colleges, malls, factories, gyms, office buildings, rental centers, car dealers, bowling alleys, roller skating rinks and just about every kind of business you can imagine. Curiously, many of them told me that they had already been contacted by Red Bull in the past about placing a machine and had turned them down.

I finally found one apartment complex willing to let me put a machine out by their picnic area. Exasperated, I finally contacted a Red Bull representative to hear of any ideas he would have in helping to locate my machines. I was quite taken when he jokingly said to me: “Yeah, they (meaning Creative Concepts) sell you the machines but they don’t tell you that you won’t find anywhere to put them.” At that time I was very confused as to why Red Bull would allow a company to sell their machines when they KNEW that people had very little, if any, chance of securing locations for them! I think I realized at that time that this whole scenario was corrupt and that Red Bull had been involved in some kind of scheme with this Creative Concepts Company. I also found out shortly after I received my machines that the affiliation between Red Bull and Creative Concepts was dissolved.

I was contacted by both for buy back programs and eventually sold the machines back to Red Bull for $1700.00 for the 2 new machines and $1500.00 for the used machine for a total loss of $7,750.00. It was very unfortunate for me to lose this money but I have been able to maintain and pay off my credit cards by working a few extra hours at the job I was told I may be able to retire from! I know that others have invested much more and that it has affected their lives in profound ways and will continue to do so for many years to come, possibly their whole life.

Red Bull acted in a very fraudulent manner and should be held accountable for involving themselves in business practices that leave so many people bankrupt, destitute and broken hearted. They agreed to be in a partnership with a company that was selling machines (with the Red Bull name emblazoned all over it) full well knowing that you CANNOT FIND PROFITABLE LOCATIONS FOR THESE MACHINES!!!!!!! Red Bull is a multimillion dollar company and should make restitution.


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