Former UBA Workers File Class-Action Suit - WSMV News 4

Former UBA Workers File Class-Action Suit

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Their controversial sales practices, first exposed by the Channel 4 I-Team, prompted outrage from the sick and uninsured and launched a state investigation. There's now a lawsuit.



It's now been nearly three months since the I-Team first exposed how workers at United Benefits of America, or UBA, were taught to mislead customers, including many with cancer and AIDS.


Despite the public outcry and a state investigation, recent customers have been found who say the company's employees continue to tell people they're selling insurance, when, in fact, they're selling discount cards that often pay little towards health care.


"And I said, 'I've had colon cancer, and no one wants to insure me.' 'Oh, don't worry, ma'am. We'll insure you,'" said Linda Moore.


"Brenda, who I spoke with, assured me it was not a discount plan; it was major medical insurance," said Rebecca Donaldson, who has hepatitis C.


These women from Tennessee and California now join frustrated former customers from Kentucky and Georgia. All say salespeople from UBA said they were selling insurance.


But instead, they got discount cards in the mail.


"I think I was a little deceived, for the simple reason is you ask was this health insurance, (and they told me), 'Yes it is,'" said Bill Moore.


UBA managers instructed employees to tell customers anything -- among the controversial sales practices exposed by the I-Team's hidden camera.


Former employees and a top manager told the I-Team they were taught to mislead customers and were even instructed to say they were selling insurance but were really selling benefits like discount cards.


Former UBA manager John Browning said there was a culture of deception at the company.


In June, Donaldson signed up with UBA and said she, too, was told she was buying insurance and was pressured into making a fast decision by a UBA saleswoman.


"She told me enrollment was closing, and in order to have coverage starting Aug. 1, I had to sign up immediately," Donaldson said.


She found the I-Team investigation online that showed undercover video of an employee bragging about scaring customers with a false deadline.


"We can't let them take a day. They buy now or they pretty much come down with cancer by tomorrow," said the worker.


"I said, 'Wow, that's exactly what they said to me. That's exactly what has happened to me,'" said Donaldson.


Now, besides a state investigation, sources say the U.S. Department of Labor is investigating and a class-action lawsuit has been filed by former employees saying they were denied wages.


Donaldson said she can't believe customers like her are still being misled.


"If this is going on all over the United States, and now it's scamming people in California, it's got to stop," said said.


The U.S. Department of Labor will neither confirm nor deny they are investigating, and the state Department of Commerce will not discuss its investigation.


UBA and its attorney did not respond to requests for comment.

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