Rapid Crush Inc Affiliate Scam

By Ruth Barringham

Back in April this year (2014) I joined the affiliate program of Rapid Crush Inc which is owned by Jason Fladlien. What happened during the few months I worked as an affiliate for them was disastrous.

I did eventually get all my affiliate commissions that I was owed, but only after they made me jump through hoop after hoop and kept refusing to pay me unless I did EXACTLY as they said.

And whenever I missed the smallest, minutest detail, they would stop payment again.

I hated them. They were holding my affiliate commissions to ransom and apparently, by their own admission, they do it to all affiliates. That’s why I’m calling it a scam.

They allow people to sign up as affiliates and earn as many commissions as they can. They then refuse to pay out any money and hold the affiliate commissions to ransom unless the affiliate does exactly as they say.

And the following is my story of what happened when I joined the Rapid Crush Affiliate program.

It all started in April 2014. I joined the Rapid Crush Inc affiliate program that is run through Nanacast which is a type of payment processing company and has lots of different companies using them.

So I signed up with Nanacast and signed up with Rapid Crush.

I wrote 2 free ebooks to give away to help market products and also set up an email auto-responder series and began marketing to get people to sign up.

But don’t get me wrong; through all this I did believe in the products I was promoting. I just do not like and do not trust Rapid Crush Inc. Well, not any more.

Anyway, I started making sales almost straight away throughout the rest of April and May. But I was concerned because I didn’t received a commission payment for my sales in June. So I contacted Rapid Crush Support.

The main thing they wanted me to do was fill out an W-8BEN tax form. This is a form for individuals doing work for a US business. It is not obligatory to fill it out, or for a company to ask you to do it. It is also the wrong tax form for me because I trade as a company, not as an individual so I actually need a form W-8BEN-E form.

All the W-8BEN form is for is so that, if the company in the US in audited, they can provide the signed tax form as proof that the person working for them had stated that they are a non-US citizen.

It’s all about tax withholding. A US company can withhold up to 30% of your payments as tax, unless your country has a tax treaty with the US. So even if someone didn’t fill out this form, the worst that could happen is that the company could withhold 30% as tax payments and send it to the IRS. Nothing more. Yet Rapid Crush tried to make out that it was a really big deal and that the form needed “validation” (which is a lie, all they have to do is keep the form on file in case they get audited). They also tried to pretend that if the information on the form didn’t match EXACTLY with the information provided at Nanacast then they were entitled to not pay affiliate commissions.

How they operate is not just unethical, it is also illegal. You can’t refuse to pay money owed to people for the work they did. Working for no pay is called slavery, and unless I’m mistaken, that was abolished years ago.

The following are the emails that went back and forth between myself and the people at Rapid Crush Support after my initial contact stating that I had received no commission payments. Keep in mind that they are in the USA and I am in Australia.

Anna Haller, Jun 12 06:36:

Hi Ruth,

I don't see that we have your tax information on file. Please submit it as that is what we need in order to pay you. You can fill out the form here:

https://affiliates.rapidcrush.com/taxforms/

Let us know if you need help with anything else.

Thanks,

Anna

Ruth Barringham 13 June 2014

You already have my tax information. I filled it out when I opened my affiliate account with Rapid Crush. I’ve just checked to make sure and yes, it’s still there listed on my account. I am a non US citizen and filled out my tax information at time of applying to become an affiliate, which is a requirement of becoming an affiliate. It’s listed under the Affiliate Payment Information section on my account.

regards

Ruth Barringham

Anna Haller, Jun 12 21:43:

Ok, thanks for the clarification. We will check into this then let you know. Please kindly wait for an update.

Anna Haller, Jun 13 10:02:

Hi Ruth,

What you are referring to is what you filled out in Nanacast which has nothing to do with what we require for Rapid Crush.

You have not sent us the proper tax form so because of this we cannot approve you until you submit it.

Please follow the directions below so that your account is set up for affiliate payments.

Please login to your affiliate account here:

https://nanacast.com/ma/119645/

Your username is your email address. If you do not know your password then use the "Lost Password" feature.

Then please make sure your profile is filled out with your address and phone number. Also, make sure the name and address on your account is the same as that on the tax form you send us (see below). Then make sure the Paypal payment information is accurate.

We also need you to fill out a tax form. Yes, unfortunately even if you are outside the US there is a tax form for you to fill out - just a different one.

Just go here for further information:

https://affiliates.rapidcrush.com/taxforms/

Let us know if you have any further questions.

Thanks,

Ruth Barringham 14 June 2014

You can’t approve me? I’ve already been approved as an affiliate ( and have the email that states this) and have already filled out all my tax information. The form you’r referring to, the W8BN is for tax treaties. I’ve already filled this out. And I’m now at the point where I don’t care.

I cannot believe that you are holding my affiliate commissions to ransom if I do not fill out this form again.

You say to log into my affiliate account and fill out all my tax info. I’ve already done this. If you look at my affiliate account all the information, Tax ID, Paypal information etc, is already there.

I don’t care about tax treaties. I now just want my commissions that I’m owed.

If this tax form is so important to you then you should have made it clear right from the start that it was a requirement of becoming an affiliate and not allowed me to accrue payments owed and then say that you won’t pay me unless I fill out a form that I’ve already filled out.

Just forget the whole thing. Pay me what you owe me and if you feel you have to withhold the 30% tax (although no other affiliate account I have does this) then I cannot stop you.

I just want my money. I don’t want any more excuses for non-payment of affiliate commission.

I am just so angry about this whole thing. I just want my money. But you wouldn’t pay it. I’m overdue for my first payment with no word from you whatsoever. You were just withholding my money without telling me and now you say you can’t “approve” me as an affiliate when I already am approved and even have the email to prove it and my affiliate ID number. So I think you’ll agree that I’ve already been approved.

I am now going to stop my promotions of your products immediately.

I just want to be paid what I’m owed. But I will not be earning any more money for you as an affiliate.

And if you do withhold 30% of my affiliate commissions I will be passing this on the the IRS in your country.

Ruth Barringham

Mary Jo, Jun 13 18:39:

Hi Ruth

This is Mary Jo from the Rapid Crush Business Office

Our accountants have advised us to require a filled out W-8BEN form from all affiliates that are not US Citizens or do not reside in the US.

We have no idea what you filled out when you set up your Nanacast Affiliate Account. That info is for Nanacast not us. We have no access to your W-8BEN through Nanacast.

It is Rapid Crush policy to not pay any affiliate commissions unless the proper filled out tax form has been received. Rapid Crush is the entity that pays out the Rapid Crush affiliate commissions so it is the entity that has to follow our governments rules on payments to affiliates. Our government Internal Revenue Service has very strict rules that we must follow.

Our Affiliate program has a $50 minimum payout.

According to our records that payout was exceeded for your account in June of 2014. We contact affiliates that exceed the payout in a given month - during the next month to send in their proper tax form and to fill out their affiliate profile. We would have send you an email requesting the the tax form in mid-July. We do not ignore commissions that exceed our minimum payout level. If we did not hear back from you then we would send you again an email in Mid-August and then Mid-September requesting the info we require.

Payments are sent out to approved affiliates then 35 days after the end of the month when the payout minimum was exceeded. In your case that payout date would be August 5 provided you are approved by then. You were not overdue an affiliate payment at all.

Please send us your filled out and signed W-8BEN so we can pay you on August 5.

Thanks!

Cheers, Mary Jo

14 June 2014

This is all the information that is on the website about new affiliate sign ups, and is the page where I signed up.

Please tell me where in this text does it say that there is a minimum payout threshold of $50? And where does it say that a tax form must be filled out before commissions will be paid? I must have missed all that.

"NEW AFFILIATES SIGN UP BELOW

48 Hour Product Creation pays 50% commissions… does life time lead tracking (so you can make money on all future sales from your leads)… and other perks.

Affiliates are paid every 30 days. If you generate more than $500 in one week, then you are paid weekly!

Once you sign up your tools will be waiting for you with your affiliate link already inserted into them – making promotion a snap!

First Name:

Last Name:

Email:

The website is nanacast.com, yet when I log into my affiliate account it says "Custom login page for affiliates of Rapid Crush, Inc.” So I know that nanacast and rapid crush are the same company. I don’t have an account at RapidCrush.com. Only at Nanacast.com and that is why all my affiliate information was filled out there.

But nowhere did it ever say I had to fill out a tax form in order to be paid or that there was a $50 threshold for payment. So please tell me where it says that on the nancast.com website which is where my affiliate account is set up.

Mary Jo, Jun 13 21:52:

Hi Ruth

It is not possible to include all the information about our affiliate program on that particular affiliate link page.

All affiliate programs have specific rules and requirements as well as minimum payout amounts.

Nanacast and Rapid Crush are absolutely two different companies.

Nanacast is the order and affiliate management program that we use for all our sales and order processing. Our Nanacast account allows us to run an affiliate program through Nanacast. Rapid Crush is responsible for the payment of affiliates. Nanacast has no part in that. Nanacast just provides the record keeping part of the Rapid Crush Affiliate Program.

Rapid Crush has established the rules that govern the Rapid Crush affiliate program.

Your Nanacast affiliate account can be used for other vendors besides Rapid Crush. Other companies use Nanacast in a similar way as does Rapid Crush. Dennis Becker uses Nanacast. Don Wilson uses Nanacast, Ben Adkins uses Nanacast. Each of these affiliate programs are different but use Nanacast for their record keeping. Each of these programs have specific rules that are just for their own particular affiliate program.

Cheers, Mary Jo

Ruth Barringham 14 June 2014

I do understand about affiliate networks and how they work, ClickBank being the biggest.

You are incorrect that all affiliate programs have “minimum payout amounts.” I myself run an affiliate program for my own products and I pay monthly with no minimum. I also belong to 2 other affiliate programs that do not have a minimum payout either.

And yes, the Ts & Cs COULD have been included in the affiliate link page, or at least a link to it. Every product on Nanacast has the same affiliate info with only the product name changed, so it’s obviously a quick copy & paste job which could have included a link to the Ts & Cs. Also the two emails received directly after sign up could also have included the Ts & Cs. But nowhere was it ever mentioned.

Instead you simply wait until affiliates accrue enough payments to be eligible for a payout and then, according to your own information, you send them an email stating that you are withholding payment.

This is what I find very sneaky and very underhand and completely unacceptable. ALL this information should be made clear BEFORE sign up or as soon as possible afterwards.

Also the affiliate sign up page states payment after 30 days. But according to you this is a lie because you said payment is not until 35 days after the sale and only IF the affiliate has accrued a certain amount of money that they had no idea they had to and only IF they fill out your tax form (that not all affiliate programs require, even if they are in the US).

Every affiliate program I have every used has made their conditions clear and honestly upfront. Never have I had this problem before where terms and conditions are added after I’ve made several sales.

I have spent the afternoon removing all links to Rapid Crush products from my websites and auto responder emails and changed them to other products from different companies.

I will fill in your tax form but only because you are holding my commission payments to ransom if I don’t.

I’ll pass the form onto my accounts person to deal with.

Mary Jo, Jun 14 01:25:

Hi Ruth

Please check the info for Clickbank - they indeed do have a payout minimum.

So do all the large affiliate networks. Check CJ etc...

Jack Mize's payout minimum is even higher than ours.

Ask Eric Louviere what his Job Crusher minimum was...

Payout minimums are very common.

Cheers, Mary Jo

Ruth Barringham 16 June 2014

I didn’t say that NO affiliate programs have minimum payouts. I said not all do. Mine doesn’t. Self Development network doesn’t. Just to name a couple. And my point was, they all make their terms and conditions known upfront. They don’t wait till affiliates make sales and they refuse to pay them. Yet this is what Rapid Crush does. And THAT is my complaint. ALL terms and conditions of being an affiliate should ALWAYS be made known upfront, not hidden. You seem to be ignoring that point.

Now excuse me. This is over. I’m bored with this whole thing and you seem to be misunderstanding what I’m saying on purpose.

Mary Jo, Jun 15 15:08:

You were always free to ask the terms of the affiliate program.

You did not do that.

We would have sent them right to you if you had asked.

Is it not reasonable to expect in dealing with a US company to not to have to furnish a filled out tax document. No company can afford to pay the taxes on commissions that they send out and that is what they would have to do otherwise.

Cheers, Mary Jo

Ruth Barringham 16 June 2014

I contacted an online lawyer in the US. He said that all contracts have to legally have the Ts & Cs agreed to upfront. To introduce unknown Ts & Cs at a later time is illegal and unethical.

Not all US companies require the tax form to be filled out. I know this for a fact because I do business with quite a few US companies and have been doing so for a lot of years now. Only one has ever asked for a tax form to be filled out and that was Amazon. So don’t try and lie to me.

I’m just so sick and tired of this whole situation and your petty and unprofessional attitude. It is quite clear that you do not have a clue what you’re talking about. But that’s to be expected.

The person who answers phones/emails/support requests, for any company is always nothing but a gatekeeper, paid to keep customers away from their boss. They don’t have to be knowledgable.

So please now leave me alone. Any more emails from you will be reported as spam because I have asked you not to contact me ever again.

As the lawyer already told me (and believe me, he knows the law and you don’t) bringing up extra Ts & Cs after a contract has been established, and a contact doesn’t have to be signed to be established, is illegal and unethical. I have been told that it is a company’s legal obligation to make anyone that they do business with, in any capacity, aware of terms of business BEFORE contracts are agreed to.

So to tell me anything different (because this information came from a lawyer directly) is a lie and exposes your lack of business knowledge.

Now please leave me alone.

Ruth Barringham 14 July 2014

I have tried several times, unsuccessfully to upload my W-8BEN-E tax form using your upload page. So I have attached the file to this email instead.

My affiliate commissions are currently overdue for payment so I look forward to receiving them soon.

regards

Ruth Barringham

Steffi 15 July 2014

Hi Ruth,

This is Steffi from Rapid Crush Support.

Thank you for contacting us.

We have received your support ticket. Sorry to hear your upload problem. Kindly download this W-8BEN Form. Fill out the form and the info below:

Full Name:

Submitter's Contact Email:

Submitter's Phone:

Submitter's Paypal Email:

Submitter's Company:

Please attach the filled out form then send it here.

Thanks,

Steffi

Ruth Barringham 15 July 2014

I attached the form to my last email. It was a W-8BEN-E form as I trade as a company not as an individual.

I also kept attempting to upload the form through the website and it did eventually get sent. So you should now have two copies of it.

As to the rest of the info, you can find that at my nanacast account.

regards

Ruth Barringham

Steffi 16 July 2014

Hi Ruth,

It is our policy to update the complete, correct information in Nanacast with the information from your tax form.

In your tax form, it says 300-10283 Adelaide Street while in your Affiliate account it says "PO BOX 102383 Adelaide Street". Please change the address in your affiliate account so that it matches the information that is in your tax form. Also, put QLD as the state/province in your tax form as it is what is in Nanacast.

Also, can we have your Paypal address?

Thanks,

Steffi

Rapid Crush Support

Ruth Barringham 16th July 2014

I have altered the address so that they match.

I've also added the state/province to the tax form and scanned and attached the corrected page.

My paypal address is stated in my Nanacast account information, and it is the same one that you are sending these emails to.

regards

Ruth Barringham

Steffi 17 July 2014

Hi Ruth,

The Address on your tax form says 300-10283 while in nanacast is 300-102383.

Which one is right?

Thanks,

Steffi

17 July 2014

Oops! Typo. Fixed it. It's 10283.

Steffi 18 July 2014

Hi Ruth,

Thanks. We will contact you again as soon as we have your tax form verified.

Thanks,

Steffi

Steffi, Jul 14 12:17:

Hi Ruth,

This is Steffi from Rapid Crush Support.

Thank you for contacting us.

Sorry to hear that. Kindly download this W-8BEN Form. Fill out the form and the info below:

Full Name:

Submitter's Contact Email:

Submitter's Phone:

Submitter's Paypal Email:

Submitter's Company:

Please attach the filled out form then send it to steffi@rapidcrush.com

For further inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact us again.

Thanks,

Steffi

18 July 2014

I did reply. This email below is further back down the chain from the more recent emails. The issue is still ongoing until my tax form has been verified which is what I'm now waiting for. But there is no reason why it can't be verified as it's completely legitimate.

Steffi, Jul 18 09:19:

Hi Ruth,

The person in charge for verification, Mary Jo, is currently out of town but she says will look at it as soon as she can.

Thanks,

Steffi

Ruth Barringham 26 July 2014

When will she be back? On what date?

Ruth Barringham 27 July 2014

This just seems to me like another time-wasting tactic. I cannot believe that there is only one person in your company that can verify a federal tax number. As a business owner myself, who runs an affiliate program and pays through PayPal mass payments just like you do, I know how these things work.

You are obviously trying to strategically arrange things (and by that I mean be dishonest) as to why I will miss another end of month pay out. You have owed me my commissions since April and so far nothing. And now you are trying to make me wait until a September payout, if I actually receive any money at all.

I am finding this whole thing childish and unprofessional. Of all my years working online I have NEVER come across a company as deceitful as this one.

What I want you to do now is this; verify my tax ID by using http://www.feinsearch.com/#. or https://www.einfinder.com or even http://www.hipaaspace.com/medical_data_validation/
employer_identification_number/ein_validation.aspx
. I have spoken with someone in the US and they told me that the only thing you can verify is my EIN number as you have no legal right to any more of my tax information.

I have done what you wanted. I have waited 4 months as you have continually delayed paying me and now you have another excuse as to why you will not pay me the money you owe me.

But this is just another lie. Verifying tax information is a simple matter that takes less than a minute and can be done online. This I know so you can't lie to me any more.

So please just do it and let this childishness be over once and for all.

Ruth Barringham 29 July 2014

Hi Ruth,

We have verfidied your tax form and you are almost all set for payment.

Please add the country code of your phone number in your Affiliate Profile in Nanacast.

Please let me know when you have done this so we can include you on the next payout date on August 5.

Thanks,

Steffi

Rapid Crush Support

Ruth Barringham 29 July 2014

Done

Steffi 29 July 2014

Hi Ruth,

Thank you for doing that. You are now all set for payment.

As mentioned, the next payout date is on August 5.

Thanks,

Steffi

Rapid Crush Support

Ruth Barringham 1 August 2014

Please be aware, if you're not already, that my country, Australia, has a 5% tax treaty with the USA.

Steffi 1 August 2014

Ok Ruth.

Thanks for letting us know.

Steffi

Mary Jo, Jul 29 21:50:

Hi Ruth

You are all set to be paid your commissions on August 5.

According to our records this is the first date that you could have been paid commissions because we have a minimum payout of $50 and a wait period of 35 days after the close of commissions at the end of each month..

Thanks for your promotions.

Cheers, Mary Jo

Conclusion

I’ll leave you now to make of all that what you will.

But did you notice how they kept nit-picking and saying that they didn’t have the right information and couldn’t pay me unless they did? They even wanted me to provide the dialling code of my country (like they couldn’t find that info themselves and why the hell did they need it anyway?) and were prepared to withhold my payments unless I personally told them what it was.

I did manage to get hold of their affiliate Terms and Conditions which still doesn’t give any more information and doesn’t mention a 30 or 35 day wait period for being paid or a minimum payout.In fact it reads just like a piece of hyped up marketing material.

And did you notice that in the affiliate information from the website it stated a 30 day wait period and in the emails they said it was 35 days? So they don’t even know their own Ts & Cs.

And the PDF document they sent me (through another email address when I was pretending to be an affiliate wanna-be and said I needed to see all of the terms and conditions up front) actually states “Please read the information below to find most of the information you need to know about our affiliate program.” (emphasis mine).

So it seems they won’t give you all the information you need, even if you ask. I asked for all the information and they sent me “most of the information.”

What it all comes down to, is that I did eventually get my commission payments. But it took me over 4 months to do it and a lot of arguing and form filling (the W-8BEN-E form is 8 pages long) with petty requests throughout the whole episode with them wanting my area dialling code for my country or that I had to change Queensland to QLD instead.

But if you were thinking of joining the Rapid Crush Affiliate Program, just remember that they will withhold payment, forever if they want to, if you don’t do exactly as they say.

You have been warned.

On the other hand, you can join my affiliate program or the Self Development affiliate program (which I mentioned in my email earlier) and neither will make you fill out a 8-page tax form or withhold payment if you write the name of your state in full instead of just the initials. :)

The choice is yours.

 

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