Sports55 reopens with new name, new company but complaints, scandal continue

MILLERSVILLE, Md. - ABC2 investigators introduced you to the Sports55 scandal last year. Teams say they paid for the uniforms up front, but either never got the gear or it came too late. The company shut its doors in December 2013 after nearly 200 complaints to the Better Business Bureau.

"Ah, pop fly!" Kyle Benjamin shouted during batting practice.

For Benjamin and his team, gearing up for the big game isn't easy. When you're out more than $800, it's not as simple as grabbing your jersey and hitting the field.

"We're all trying to... 'Alright, everyone wear orange tonight.' And just trying to put it together so we can keep playing," Benjamin said.

Red Flag | Businesses that change names to hide from complaints

This season, it was Benjamin's job to collect the cash and order the team uniforms. He heard about Sports55 and says teams he plays against fell for their scandal.

"I knew about them. And I also knew about the customers that they hadn't taken care of. So, I was trying to avoid them," he said.

By April, he narrowed the search down to two companies: one in California, the other a local company he hadn't heard much about-- TeamUniforms123.

"They were the same price. I went with TeamUniforms123 because they're a Maryland company. We live in Maryland. We play in Maryland. I shouldn't have done it," Benjamin said.

The Better Business Bureau stamped an 'F' rating on the company earlier this month. The Attorney General's office is filing suit. They've racked up 50 BBB complaints and 13 though the Attorney General's office.

It's a story all too familiar.

"You just feel taken advantage of," said Benjamin. "And then at the same time now, it's like all these guys got taken before, and they're all wearing their jerseys. We're not."

The In Focus team exposed Sports55 last year; they closed their doors in December with nearly 200 complaints. Soon after, TeamUniforms123 stepped in with the promise of a new owner who wants to do things "differently."

"The pattern of complaints already, the type of complaints, the amount-- the volume of complaints, that was a concern. But then to find that they had even kept the employees on board that had the same problems before. Now, do you think they're going to answer these complaints in a different manner and resolve them for customers?" Said Vice President of Communications with the BBB, Jody Thomas.

Not only did the company neglect to answer any of Sports55's complaints, they raked in fouls of their own. Mary Wohlstein is listed as the sole owner of TeamUniforms123; a phone number listed for her has been disconnected.

Public records show Wohlstein is related to John Eberl, who is listed as one of the previous owners of Sports55.

"New company, new name, new owner, same staff for the most part," Thomas said.

"I was hoping as a Maryland customer, since I can drive to their office and they're right down the street, maybe they'd take care of me. Unfortunately that's not the case," said Benjamin.

The ABC2 In Focus team checked out the business' location. The address listed was in a Millersville shopping center. Investigators saw no sign of TeamUniforms123 and other stores in the area had never heard of the company. We asked the UPS Store if the company has a mailbox within their store. They told us there was no TeamUniforms123 representative on site, and they couldn't confirm whether they have a mailbox within their system.

We've called the company multiple times with no response. E-mails go unanswered. On their website, they say they're no longer taking calls, but they're still accepting e-mails and still taking new orders.

"They screwed over like 50 teams," Benjamin said to a teammate.

For teams like Benjamin's, it means hundreds of dollars put into a local company with no signs of the gear they paid for.

The Attorney General announced last week that his consumer protection division filed suit against Sports55, TeamUniforms123, and Dyesubsports. The charges claim that Sports55 took advance payments from customers for uniforms and either sent the gear out late or never.

Benjamin filed a claim with his insurance company and their fraud department is also investigating. He has since ordered the uniforms from the California-based company. They should arrive in time for post season play offs.

 

 


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