Authorities in Pennsylvania have taken legal action against Instagram influencer Dana Chanel, claiming she used her social media platform to promote products and services that have scammed consumers, mostly black small business owners. .
Chanel, real name Casey Olivera, has nearly 800,000 Instagram followers and is the founder of Curl Bible, a hair and skin care brand, as well as Sprinkle of Jesus, a Christian mobile app which she claims , is the world’s largest online ministry with 5 million users.
Chanel is known for sharing fun reels on running businesses, posts promoting her products, as well as content about her family.
“Dana Chanel has built an online customer base by promoting herself as a successful black woman-owned small business,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a press release Thursday. âShe advertised the products of her companies as a way for other black small business owners to do what she did. Then she scammed the same community she claimed to care about. “
The lawsuit, which is suing Chanel, includes other Chanel companies, Credit Exterminators (which has been renamed Earn Company), the company that helps consumers improve their credit, and Alakazam, which aims to help small business owners start their own business. own mobile application.
According to the lawsuit, the two companies are jointly owned and operated by Chanel and certain members of her family. Her sister, Cassandra April Olivera, and her father, Nakia Rattray, are also on the list of defendants in the case.
According to the lawsuit, Pennsylvania officials began their investigation after receiving several complaints from customers who said they had not received the goods and services they paid for or that the companies had misled them, a reported Buzzfeed.
Several people have reported to officials that Credit Exterminators / Earn Company is offering a $ 300 per month “VIP Package” service plan to help people boost their credit scores and have promised an attractive “we do it for you” gimmick.
Customers were then asked to sign a form that allowed the company to provide the advertised services, such as phone support or a designated personal account finance specialist.
A client made a down payment of $ 1,807 to the credit rating company in hopes of repairing his credit and getting related counseling and coaching, according to the lawsuit. However, when she attempted to reach the company to set up these services, she received no response and her request for a full refund was denied.
Apparently, the credit rating company falsely claimed that it had submitted disputes to credit reporting agencies, but people discovered that these agencies had no record of the disputes.
Regulators have also accused Chanel’s mobile apps company Alakazam of billing customers for a âbusiness marketing manualâ that they had no knowledge or wish to buy or receive.
This business was introduced to small business owners who wanted their own apps to promote their products while building a community, in which Chanel used Sprinkle of Jesus, a business that offers to consult with Christian entrepreneurs and its devotional content. , to help market this.
Chanel also used her Instagram to promote webinars run by Rattray or other company representatives, according to the lawsuit.
âSome consumers who paid monthly hosting fees to Alakazam never received a full mobile app from the company or received any mobile apps that lacked the minimum level of functionality needed to give the product any value for the consumer, âsays the lawsuit.
One small business owner felt like Alakazam would do the development work to create an app for her. She shelled out over $ 950 for app development, but instead the money was spent on a business marketing manual, according to the lawsuit, and a monthly hosting fee of $ 250 which were due before the end of the application.
Attorney General’s Office accuses Chanel of violating Pennsylvania Consumer Protection Act on five counts, including failure to deliver promised goods and services, deceiving consumers, violating consumer law. state credit services and failure to register a fictitious company name with the state.
“It’s hard enough these days for workers in Philadelphia,” Shapiro said in a statement. âWe can’t have bad actors breaking the law and making it even harder for people to solve their bad credit or keep their small businesses afloat. “