December 9, 2021

Social Media Influencer Dana Chanel Accused of Ripping Off Black Small Business Owners

Authorities in Pennsylvania have filed a lawsuit in opposition to Instagram influencer Dana Chanel claiming she used her social media platform to advertise services that ripped off customers, primarily Black small enterprise house owners.

Chanel, whose actual identify is Casey Olivera, has near 800,000 Instagram followers and is the founder of Curl Bible, a hair and skincare model, in addition to Sprinkle of Jesus, a Christian cellular app that she claims is the most important on-line ministry on this planet with 5 million customers.

Chanel is thought for sharing humorous Reels about operating companies, posts selling her merchandise, in addition to content material about her household.

“Dana Chanel built a following online by presenting herself as a black woman-owned small business success story,” Pennsylvania Legal professional Basic Josh Shapiro stated in a press launch Thursday. “She advertised the products of her companies as a way for other black small business owners to achieve what she did. Then, she ripped off the same community she claimed to care about.”

The lawsuit, which is suing Chanel, contains Chanel’s different corporations, Credit score Exterminators (which was rebranded as Earn Firm), the corporate serving to customers enhance adverse credit, and Alakazam, which focuses on serving to small enterprise house owners create their very own cellular app.

In keeping with the go well with, each corporations are co-owned and operated by Chanel and a few of her members of the family. Her sister, Cassandra April Olivera, and father, Nakia Rattray, are additionally listed as defendants within the case.

In keeping with the lawsuit, officers in Pennsylvania started their investigating after receiving a number of complaints from prospects who stated they both didn’t obtain the products and companies that they had paid for or that the companies misled them, Buzzfeed reported.

A number of folks reported to officers that Credit score Exterminators/Earn Firm provided a $300 per thirty days “VIP Package” service plan to assist folks increase their credit score rating and allegedly promised an interesting “we do it for you” gimmick.

Clients then have been informed to signal a kind that allow the corporate off the hook on really offering the companies it marketed, akin to cellphone help or a chosen private account finance specialist.

One consumer paid a $1,807 deposit to the credit score rating firm with hopes of repairing her credit score and getting associated consulting and training, the lawsuit says. Nevertheless, when she tried to achieve the corporate to arrange these companies, she acquired no response, and her request for a full refund was refused.

Apparently, the credit score rating firm falsely claimed that it had submitted disputes to credit score reporting companies, however folks found these companies had no report of the disputes.

Regulators additionally accused Chanel’s cellular app firm, Alakazam, of charging prospects for a “business marketing manual” that they had no data of or need to buy or ever obtain.

That firm was marketed to small enterprise house owners who wished to have their very own apps promote their merchandise whereas additionally rising a group, through which Chanel used Sprinkle of Jesus, an organization that gives to seek the advice of to Christian entrepreneurs and to its devotional content material, to assist promote it.

Chanel additionally used her Instagram to advertise on-line seminars that have been hosted by Rattray or different firm representatives, the lawsuit says.

“Some consumers who paid monthly hosting fees to Alakazam never received a completed mobile app from the company or received a mobile app that lacked a minimum level of functionality necessary to give the product any value to the consumer,” the lawsuit says.

One small enterprise proprietor was below the impression that Alakazam would do the event work to create an app for her. She forked over $950 for the app improvement, however as an alternative, the cash went in direction of a enterprise advertising handbook, the go well with says, and a $250 month-to-month internet hosting price that was due earlier than the app was full.

The lawyer normal’s workplace accuses Chanel of violating Pennsylvania’s Shopper Safety Legislation on 5 counts, together with failing to ship items and companies promised, deceptive customers, violating the state credit score companies legislation, and failing to register a fictitious firm identify with the state.

“It’s hard enough these days for workers in Philadelphia,” Shapiro stated in a press release. “We can’t have bad actors breaking the law and making it even harder for folks to resolve their bad credit or keep their small businesses afloat.”