Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Mysterious World of BNI

As a regular listener to talk radio, I'm more than accustomed to being buried by 800-numbers being hurled at me during every commercial. As an XM Radio devotee, I've become rather spoiled by seeing the name of the company trying to sell me something appear on the screen- right above the 800-number, of course. And this is what vexes me so much about this shadowy commercial for something called "BNI."

Two women are chatting, apparently walking through a new home. "Wow, I can't believe this place- four bedrooms, three baths? Gee, you're only thirty, we make the same salary Maggie, how can you...." one woman exclaims. The other replies "my mortgage payment is only $300 a month."

The first woman mutters "that's less than my rent!" (Side note: jeesh, is this necessary? Who the hell is paying less than $300 a month for rent? Unless you are living in subsidized housing, you are paying a LOT more than that. And if you are living in subsidized housing, how DARE you complain about the cost?)

The second woman says "I just called BNI for The List!"

At this point a male narrarator jumps in to explain that "foreclosed houses are a real bargain, many are sold with no money down!" An example of a house sold for $20,000- "just $199 a month!"- is provided. All you have to do is "call BNI for The List of bargains near you!" Do it quickly because "these listings go fast!"

Ok, just a couple of questions. First, why doesn't the name of this company appear on my XM screen during the commercial? I'm not even positive that it's called BNI. Maybe it's B and I. Maybe it's Bee and I. Could it be that this company doesn't want me to do an internet search ("BNI Cheap Houses Scam," for example? It may be Bargain Network, and if it is, RUN FOR THE HILLS!) Second, why no web page for this company? Same reason? All I can say is, in the year 2009 there is something very shady about a company selling commercials on the radio including only a toll free number and no web site.

Third- what's the real relationship between these two women? They seem to be friends, and we are told that they make the same salary. Yet one of them went out, got The List, and bought a house for practically nothing, while the other continued to live in a rented apartment. In real life, would not the first woman have mentioned something about her good fortune long before reaching the point of taking her on a tour of the house? I'd be royally ticked off at such a "friend"- hey, you KNOW I've been living in a crummy apartment all this time, why didn't you tell me about this great deal months ago??? Or better yet, instead of telling me to "call BNI for The List," why didn't you share YOUR list with ME? Talk about a "Thanks for Nothing" moment.

My best guess is that BNI sells foreclosure notices readily available in the newspaper or on the bulletin board down at town hall to people dumb enough to pay big bucks for a "subscription" to these "lists." I can't be sure, however, because the company prefers to live in the shadows. And that can't be a good sign.


  1. I've noticed longer and longer ad strings on America Left -- usually ads for or details about XM shows -- fewer ads for actual products. They even advertise the right wing channel on America Left sometimes.

    My guess is that times are tough all over and companies who advertise are stopping or are buying fewer ads. It's bad enough to hear "buy gold NOW as a hedge against bad times" and "sell gold NOW because the price has never been higher and you need the cash" ads back to back, the "foreclosures are a great deal if you're buying a home" ads are especially egregious because they say nothing of the people who are being taken advantage of -- those who lost the homes that you're being encouraged to pick up at bargain basement prices.

  2. I called the 1800 number and they offer 30days free trial but you have to give your credit card to pay for mailing of package 1.99$ .. then if you want to cancel you do it within 30 days. if you don't cancel it is $12.49/WEEK. i asked for a website address and they didnt give it to me. i said i will think about it and call back... they were very aggressive on the phone trying not to let you hang up without getting your full information and credit card. Made me very suspicious and eager to hang up.. but the salesman kept on asking me more questions... and telling me that i can access their internet within 1hour after i sign up..
    again i told him i will think about it and call back... he said something like "what is more to think about" .... i had to tell him 3 times politely that i have to close the phone now and he kept on talking... so i finally said "Sorry i am closing the phone now" and hang up!
    there must be a scam somewhere for them to be so pushy on the phone!!!
    Be careful!!!!