A while ago, I received a card in the mail, with no return address. Upon opening, I was confronted with garish graphics and a tacky slogan, “Holy Guacamole, you’re going to avo baby!” Inside, the card read, “Congratulations!!! I am so excited for you! I hope you like these! <3, Jenny B."
The card has $245 in gift cards and an assortment of baby coupons.
Despite no return address, I quickly discovered the zip code it was mailed from was Salt Lake City, Utah. I do not know anyone in Utah.
I am not pregnant, nor do I have any plans to become pregnant in the immediate future.
I do not know any Jenny B’s either. So how and why did I get this? Was it mistaken identity? The letter was addressed to “Rebecca Glasser”. My full name is Rebecca Glasser-Baker, not Rebecca Glasser.
I was confused and offended when I received the card. A plethora of questions flooded my mind. Was it real? Did I gain that much weight from my Booze and Brews column? Was it a scam? Is someone assuming that because I’m 27 years old I’m pregnant? Or somehow bound to become pregnant? What kind of sexism is that? How did they get my information? Finally, what if I got this and I was someone who couldn’t conceive?
I quickly discovered this wasn’t a mistaken identity case and that I wasn’t the only one who received the exact same card. Women across the United States have been receiving the exact same thing in the mail. Social media platforms such as Reddit, Twitter, etc. have expressed their distaste for the cheeky purple card.
Someone named Jenny B. hand wrote me a card congratulating me on my pregnancy + added like $250 worth of different baby/pregnancy gift cards and sent it to my mom’s house aka my old house!!!!! REVEAL URSELF JENNY B!!!! I AM NOT WITH CHILD!!!!
— vicki vallencourt (@torilikespizza) October 30, 2019
Many of the women who received the cards and coupons were not pregnant either. So what’s the deal?
Upon further investigating the matter, I discovered that in February this year, The Surry County Sheriff’s office in Virginia had investigated the letters to see if they were a scam. The department shared a post on Facebook stating:
“SCAM ALERT UPDATE!!! This is a follow-up to the previous scam alert post. Upon further investigation we have revealed that ‘Jen’ is Jeanette Pierce from Pleasant Grove, Utah. Upon speaking with Ben Pierce, who is General Manager for Mothers Lounge, LLC located in Pleasant Grove, Utah advised that they are sending out those cards as a promotional advertisement for those companies. It does not appear to be a scam. With increases in scammers, we wanted to inform the community as soon as we suspected it to be a scam but we have later determined that it is not. We apologize for any inconvenience that this mix up has caused but we wanted to err on the side of caution. They purchase your address and email from other businesses that you have given that info to. You have to be sure to check the box that you wish not to have that information sold.”
Mother’s Lounge, LLC has quite a list of complaints on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) site. I spoke to Jane Rupp from BBB in Utah, that manages this BBB profile and they told me that, “BBB is continuing to receive numerous inquiries, complaints, customer reviews and BBB Scam Tracker entries on the marketing campaign of Mother’s Lounge (and entities). Consumers should base their decision to purchase on the price before the alleged gift card is applied. BBB has noted that the overall price (including shipping) may increase with the use of the alleged gift card.”
Addtionally, she said that, “We are still hopeful that Mother’s Lounge and Jennie Bosco (Pierce) will revise the marketing campaign to be transparent and meet advertising standards. All consumers deserve businesses that are honest, ethical and transparent!”
Folks have been posting that items they have ordered using these gift cards have never been received, some people affected are saying that they used the gift cards but had to pay over $20 in shipping, some folks are reporting that money has been taken, but no items have been received.
The BBB reports that as of March 7, 2019, they reached out to Mother Lounge requesting discontinuation of certain practices and requested modification.
According to the website, an alert about the company has been added to the BBB site, which reads as “BBB has recently received complaints concerning mailed gift card advertisements from Mother’s Lounge LLC’s different online businesses. These complaints are currently pending as BBB is waiting for the business’ response.”
Metro has reached out to Mother’s Lounge, LLC for a statement and they have not returned the request.