Beware Donating to Collectibles with Causes

4 Nov

Keen readers will notice my last blog post discussed parting ways with my beloved comic book collection. I painstakingly entered each book first into a spreadsheet and then into an online database. If I’d carefully packaged and sold the lot, spread out into a hundred or so auctions, I probably could have received $5,000 or so.

Collectibles With Causes Legit? Unknown. Sketchy? Yes.

Collectibles with Causes, also known as With Causes, Works of Life International Ministries, and dozens of other names, is a charity that accepts collectibles, sells them, and then uses proceeds for good works, When I found them in August 2014, I did my research, like any good donator would. While I found nothing indicating proceeds would be used for hateful/exclusive causes, their EIN (26-0903224) appeared in neither the California nor the USA register of charities. I called the IRS and they confirmed that they had no record of their non-profit standing. Furthermore, none of the charity rating services have an entry for them. Not a deal-killer, but cause for concern.

The only third-party mention of With Causes/Works of Life I could find pertains to their Christmas 2011 gift of a house to a large family whose house had just burned down. Here’s an article/video. Works of Life is still milking it; one of their most recent (2014) Tumblr posts gives a shout-out to this same charitable effort.

Nonetheless, I was attracted to Collectibles With Causes. I really liked the idea of a win-win-win. I get a tax write-off for my comics and don’t need to spend dozens of hours selling them. The charity sells them and my beloved comic books find new, loving homes. Finally, people benefit from the good works/proceeds of the sale. Three wins–at least! But is it too good to be true?

Communication Problems

Collectibles with Causes might not want to reimburse your shipping expenses even when you follow their instructions.

Collectibles with Causes might not want to reimburse your shipping expenses–even if you follow their instructions.

I sent them the details of my donation on September 3, 2014 and received a canned response thanking me, providing shipping instructions, shipping reimbursement instructions, and other information. I asked for clarification on 9/7/14. On 9/9/14 I still hadn’t received a response so I pinged them again. Later in the day, no response forthcoming, I called them. Ginger finally checked the info@withcauses.org inbox and responded.

Five days later, on 9/16/14, I shipped eight boxes/about 280 pounds of comic books to:

Works of Life
ATTN: Collectibles with Causes
1175 Shaw Avenue #104-135
Clovis, California  93612

Their canned reply mentioned that, “The best method for shipping a volume of comics is USPS PARCEL POST or MEDIA MAIL …costing only approx $25.00 per long box and less than half of that for a short box.” Alas, you’re unable to ship anything with advertising via media mail. (Newsflash: comics have ads.) The plot sickens: USPS Standard Post (known as Parcel Post, until May 2007,) is much more expensive than $25/box. My shipping bill totaled $484.49. I sent them the original receipt as requested.

I notified them of the shipping cost and problems with media mail, and asked them how long it would take to get reimbursed the large shipping outlay. Amazingly, I got a reply the same day, 9/18/14, “Shipping is reimbursed once we receive your books and the shipping receipt. I will let you know once the books arrive.”

Tracking information let me know that the books arrived on 9/26/14. Ginger did NOT let me know. I sent an email on 9/29/14 asking if the books arrived. No response. I sent another email on 10/8/14 asking for an update on shipping reimbursement. No response. On 10/27/14, I emailed again. No response. (I should note that I called a couple of times in that month-long period too.) I then called on 10/28/14 and was told Ginger no longer worked there and that I’d receive a call back in a couple of days. That didn’t happen.

I called on 11/3/14, and they’re now apparently reluctant to reimburse shipping, because actual expenses don’t gel with the dream-world figures in their horribly out-of-date canned response. They asked me to scan and send another copy of the receipt. I did. Again, they said they’d get back to me. …24+ hours later, I’m not holding my breath.

Is Collectibles With Causes as Scam?

I’m not sure if Collectibles with Causes is a scam. …They might just suffer from personnel and communication problems.

If I don’t receive shipping reimbursement within a week I will contact the California Attorneys General, the BBB, the IRS, their local news media, and anybody else I can think of. I’ll pass along every bit of information I have about Works of Life and how they’ve (so far) reneged on the implied contract presented on their website, in their emails, and via phone. …I’m pretty sure that’s a crime. They are messing with the wrong dude.

I strongly urge you to find another charity for your donation. I will revise this review if they eventually make things right.

Update:

It’s 11/17/2014. After nearly two months staying on them, I have a shipping reimbursement check in hand. (They paid up!) Did this blog post have anything to do with it? I don’t know.

If you’re going to incur considerable postage expenses when you ship something to any With Causes charity, note that you might have to wait and/or fight for reimbursement. If I had to do it all over again, I’d donate to a local charity instead. Lesson learned.

Update:

2/16/2015:  Very unofficial response from alleged former Collectibles with Causes volunteer is in comments. While it’s entertaining, I smile more when I read my response to it. Enjoy.

Update:

1/30/2017:  Somebody claiming to be Cameron Arballo from Works of Life called both my wife’s and sister’s places of employment and left threatening messages saying that he knows where she lives. Conveniently, these conversations were recorded. I’m giving them to the police.

Dan Dreifort is a professional part-time complainer. (In lieu of donations, send his wife earplugs.) He consults on web optimization and usability for fun.

13 Responses to “Beware Donating to Collectibles with Causes”

  1. Ethan McCarty November 4, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

    Go get em tiger. In other news, uncle Buncle died last night. I am on my way to LA tomorrow. Amazing that Avi was born on Dougs bday. We gave him Dougs Hebrew name.

    Please excuse spelling, grammar, brevity: Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • dandreifort November 4, 2014 at 10:28 pm #

      Sorry to hear about Senior Buncle 😦
      Hi to your fam.

  2. Dan February 6, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

    Dear Dan,
    To answer your question, no your check has nothing to do with your blog.
    I am a former volunteer for the Organization. It is a Nevada Corporation, not a California Corporation that you seem to be trying to mislead people into believing.
    I just checked the Nevada Secretary of States website and see that their Organization is in good standing.
    Not a member of the Better Business Bureau. The BBB is an pay for grade Organization that gave the terrorist organizations Hamas and Stormfront A+ ratings for pay. This has long been considered legalized extortion. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unr3DJ59tKM
    The issues with media mail you have brought up are certainly at issue as well as we had, if everyone’s memory is correct, issues with the exception from USPS DMM173 that were being utilized for the use of media mail.
    And if the dates you have supplied are correct then you have received your reimbursement and I am going to assume your Federal tax documentation prior to the deadline allowed by the Federal Government.
    This being said it appears as though you ARE a professional complainer.
    About nothing.
    People who complain especially about “non-things” are generally people who have not done the emotional and spiritual work of developing a loving, compassionate inner adult self.
    Complaining is a “pull” on other people. Energetically, complainers are pulling on others for caring and understanding because they have emotionally abandoned themselves. The problem is that most people dislike being pulled on and demanded of. Most people don’t want emotional responsibility for another person and will withdraw in the face of another’s complaints.
    A person addicted to complaining will not be able to stop complaining until he or she does the inner work of developing an adult part of themselves capable of giving themselves the love, caring, understanding and compassion they need. As long as they believe that it is another’s responsibility to be the adult for them and fill them with love, they will not take on this responsibility for themselves.
    You seek to prove a point by stating that the Organization is “milking” something.
    Using a derogatory term to tear something down in order to draw attention to yourself and build your own self esteem. The simple fact is that it is operated on biblical principals…
    “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”
    There is little paid advertising, no capitalizing on the misfortunes of those that are ministered to…
    You have sought to place a permanent source of harm for your own self satisfaction.
    As for the IRS?
    Please see IRS form I1023 lower right hand corner. It denotes the types of Organizations that do not have to apply for exemption an are considered “exempt by definition”. These Organizations are not listed with the IRS.
    Namely certain types of faith based Organizations. Read the temporary receipt you were given. The one that also states it is a Nevada Corporation. You were in possession of this information prior to disseminating false information with the intent to cause harm.
    I feel bad for you. There a a few other people who took this route and the Organization decided to start clearing their name legally. I am will do my level best to bring you to their attention. That is what you want from people after all isn’t it? I will forward a copy of your post to them.
    They seem to have done absolutely everything well within the allowable time limits.
    You have no reason to try to harm others for in this manner whatsoever.

    • dandreifort February 16, 2015 at 4:23 pm #

      Here it is, almost four months later and I get a response, of sorts:
      – From a fake email address
      – Accusing me of being a professional complainer (I am, yes, that’s what it says in the header of this blog.)
      – Vaguely threatening legal action against me
      – Lecturing me on negativity …while judging and criticizing me, unironically.

      I’m glad this isn’t an official response from the charity.
      (Anybody familiar with reputation management/crisis communications would tell them to: 1. FIX THE PROBLEMS, especially those that are easy to fix, and then, 2. Keep quiet–don’t throw fuel on a barely simmering fire. Your reply only helps this post rank better in Google.)

      As I indicated in my post: They eventually did reimburse me. I had to work too hard and long to get it. Not worth it. I don’t recommend the process to other people. That’s my right. It’s not illegal. Thanks for reading.

      • thea May 20, 2016 at 2:19 pm #

        Well, their comment only confirms your advice: BEWARE!

        Your reply made me chuckle.

    • an old friend April 14, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

      Hey Cameron how’s it going? I recognized you smooth way of lying. When the feds get there their hands on you it will make that 2 year sentence you got a few years back look like a walk in the park.

  3. Collin Firth October 14, 2015 at 11:47 am #

    I wanted to donate some laptops and “Computers with Causes” comes up prominently on the web. That leads to Works of Life Ministries. I decided to research and ended up on your blog.

    I found this fake press release here: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2009/04/prweb2305264.htm

    I found a legal settlement that reveals that “Rev.” V. Everett and Cameron Arballo are the same person: https://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/california/cacdce/2:2011cv10315/519446/97

    They were featured on a Dr. Phil show which automatically makes me skeptical. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjSnCh0FpNw

    And read these entries on complaintsboard.com. Whoa! http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/kars-4-kids-donatecarcom-c32944.html?page=2

    If you dig around enough, you find out that this organization (based in Nevada) seems to be very, very shady if not outright fraudulent. And they run all sorts of “donation: services under the “with Causes” banner. BEWARE!

    • dandreifort October 15, 2015 at 2:02 pm #

      Thanks for your comment. My experience with them, while not pleasant, also does not make me think they’re 100% fraud. It took some doing, but they eventually kept up their end of the deal (donation receipt and shipping reimbursement). I love the win-win-win idea of their charities: 1. find new homes for unwanted stuff. 2. use proceeds to benefit um… the needy? 3. Get people like me a charitable tax write-off that, while not as much as the sale value, is ostensibly much easier than selling myself.

      Alas, my experience suggests that you’d be better off selling yourself or donating locally. I found With Causes’ communication, timeliness and professionalism to be lacking.

      • Patricia Wallace October 27, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

        Cameron Arballo is a fake. He is a criminal. Just look through the internet with his name and Works of Life Ministries. A family member hacked my blog and recanted everything I said about him and even threw in compliments for fear of him ending Dennise Edwards cancer treatments. Just know everything I said was the absolute truth and to hold cancer treatments as a bribe goes to prove how miserable and low life he is. He is conning everyone he can.

  4. Arika Anderson October 18, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

    This charity has expanded to two funded sites http://www.charityboats.org and http://www.boats2charity.org. They are full of detailed information about our nonprofit organization and the online donation forms are available for you to make a contribution to charity!

    • dandreifort October 19, 2015 at 2:54 pm #

      I don’t know if this post/thread is the best place to promote new ventures for this charity, but what the hell! Comment approved.

  5. Christine April 19, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

    I also agree that this charity and the associated charities; boats with causes, charity boats and so forth are scams. These so called “charities” are nothing more than money hungry people looking to capitalize on donations that benefit their lifestyles. Not only will they usually not reimburse shipping, they will also not donate back any monies that are obtained from liquefying donated assets. My suggestion would be to find a worthwhile cause in your own hometown and make sure your own neighborhood can benefit.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Seriously Beware of Collectibles with Causes / Works of Life | Dan Dreifort - January 30, 2017

    […] about Mr Arballo. I’d only heard of him in comments other people left in response to the 2+ year old blog post about my less than smooth experience with Works of Life / Collectibles with Ca…. There you’ll find other peoples’ tales and accusations, not mine. My story summarizes […]

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