My review of KlearGear.com

November 18, 2013 – 2:20 pm by John

Tim Cushing of Techdirt.com wrote about the now-infamous case of the Utah couple who were fined $3500 for writing a negative review of KlearGear.com. They refused to pay, which prompted KlearGear to follow through on its threat to send their debt to a collections agency, thereby ruining that couple's credit rating. Read his short article; the details of the depth of KlearGear's depravity are hard to believe, but they serve a salutary reminder that not all malicious, psychopathically predatory monsters find their way into government service. Also read Ken White's post about it at Popehat.com.

The purpose of this post is merely to help spread the word about KlearGear's immorality and criminality, in the hope that others will do the same, resulting in the existence of so many web pages about their pure evilness that these pages will overwhelm the positive or neutral search results for KlearGear.com, so that anyone who ever seeks to learn anything about KlearGear will discover what depraved, predatory psychopaths ran that place (and provided it legal services). Basically, I aim to help amplify the Streisand effect as much as possible.

I found these comments in the aforementioned Popehat discussion interesting:

Attempting to research KlearGear and determine ownership. So far, I've only been able to find the following, on the BBB page for the company:

Contact Information
Principal: Mr. Randall Prescott (Legal)
[...]
Found someone else associated:

On LinkedIn, Rob Key appears to be the CMO of KlearGear.

Further investigation of Rob Key turns up this PR article, which lists his contact information as:

Rob Key
pr (at) kleargear (dot) com
Phone (616) 965-2426
Fax (616) 965-2427
[...]
BBB says their legal dept. is here:

7122 Oaklawn Drive, San Antonio, TX 78229-3021

which turns out to be Chenal Corp.:

http://chenalcorp.com/

seems shady so far…

Edit – BINGO! Paydirt!

http://edgar.secdatabase.com/2115/150017010000001/filing-main.htm

[...]
Adding to my last comment, which is in the moderation queue, and per this article, Lee Gersten is the president of KlearGear (can't find contact info on him), and Rob Key is the CMO and press contact.

You can contact Rob at:
email rkey@kleargear.com or pr@kleargear.com

From Rob Key's email format, it might be a good guess that Gersten can be contacted at lgersten@kleargear.com .
[...]
Also, their "media relations" page mentions:

Rob Key
Media Relations
KlearGear.com
2885 Sanford Ave SW Suite #19886
Grandville, MI 49418
Phone (616) 965-2426
Fax (616) 965-2427

I wonder how busy he is today…if he exists.
[...]
More contact info for Robert Key from

http://finance.paidcontent.org/paidcontent/news/read?GUID=22106787

Robert Key
rkey@chenalmedia.com

http://www.chenalmedia.com

(310) 362-0245

chenal media, chenal brands, and chenal corp appear to all be related.
[...]
there appears to be a real connection between Chenal Brands, Inc. and Kleargear as noted by several commentators above. (see these press releases)

The CEO of that company appears to be Will Bermender (see: linkedin page and businessweek profile)
[...]
Additional Sleuthing -

KlearGear.com (a wholly-owned subsidiary of catalog and e-commerce conglomerate Havaco Direct Inc.)

"Guys love gadgets, and KlearGear.com has over a thousand gadgets, tools, office toys, and home and office decor ideas for any techie dad," stated Will Bermender, President of KlearGear.com. "
[...]
From various press releases from Havaco and KlearGear:

William.Bermender@Havaco.com +1-214-432-7923
[...]
Look up kleargear on Pipl.com
Will Bermender – http://www.pinterest.com/kleargear/

Will Bermender, Los Angeles, CA, US, Texas, US – Executive Chairman at Chenal Media, Board …

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/2/928/b67

Will Bermender

https://www.facebook.com/will.bermender.7

Will Bermender (peoplesmart)
Age: 43
Location: San Antonio, TXMaple Grove, MNOsseo, MNFarmington Hills, MI

http://www.spokeo.com/search?q=William+Bermender&sao9=t105#:13838247801

William Franklin Bermender
Chenal Valley Dr, Apt 2304 (no coincidence, not included in search)
Old address, latest address is san antonio texas
[...]
Havaco Direct, Inc is the corporate name of Klear Gear. It is a Delaware corporation.

File Number: 3745438 Incorporation Date / Formation Date: 12/29/2003
(mm/dd/yyyy)
Entity Name: HAVACO DIRECT, INC.
Entity Kind: CORPORATION Entity Type: GENERAL
Residency: DOMESTIC State: DE
REGISTERED AGENT INFORMATION
Name: THE COMPANY CORPORATION
Address: 2711 CENTERVILLE RD STE 400
City: WILMINGTON County: NEW CASTLE
State: DE Postal Code: 19808
Phone: (302)636-5440
[...]
These domains are apparently associated, but not all have websites and some seem to have expired:
SunglassesPro.com
EggHeaders.com
GeekOutfitters.com
TwistedPlayground.com
KleargearComplaints.com
BuySomeCrap.com
bermender.com
chenalcorp.com
wwwkleargear.com
turnaroundleader.com
WillBermenDer.com
GeekShirtShop.com
TwistedGoodies.com
MixxKicks.com
chenalco.com
havaco.com
TaggerPal.com
[...]
Interesting. Kleargear's Suite # is 19886 in both California and Michigan locations. This is also the suite # associated with parent company Chenal Media, but it only shows up if you look at a cache of chenalmedia.com. (http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:4_lK8y9I6noJ:chenalmedia.com/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us)

Amusingly, Total S.A.'s legal page says, "If you wish to create a hypertext link to this Web site, you must obtain prior written authorisation from the Company using the contact details stipulated at the end of this document." Right. Good luck enforcing that.

Anyway, as was mentioned previously, the Chenal Media website is actually the Total S.A website. Check the source code of the page (view-source:http://chenalmedia.com/). It redirects to http://total.com/en. So does http://www.chenalco.com/

Total S.A. is a french oil and gas company. So is Chenal Media pretending to be Total S.A., did somebody buy their website and redirect it, or did Total S.A. buy those websites and redirect them in order to [insert complicated and opaque justification].

They also have a ChenalCorp.com website, but it will not pull up. The cached version doesn't have much information. http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:l_kjzd5dcSoJ:chenalcorp.com/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Is it possible that this is a money-laundering operation? What would explain the almost invisible, or possibly non-existent, employees/executives and unusual operations other than something shady?
[...]
The fake photos raise a question — It is theoretically possible there is no one named "Will Bermender," "Lee Gersten," "Randall Prescott," "Rob Key," or "Megan Tolcher" actually associated with this company. If someone is uploading fake photos to represent those names, it's possible the identities were stolen, too.
[...]
I guess we can conclude that Chenal is for sure a fake company and being the parent company to Kleargear, it too is fake. Perhaps Kleargear is one of these internet sites set up for the sole purpose of stealing identities.

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  1. 17 Responses to “My review of KlearGear.com”

  2. http://neer-do-well-hall-of-infamey.blogspot.ca/

    Very Nice work. We shall nail these basterds.

    By Stoxxman on Nov 18, 2013

  3. Grrrrrr. Today these horrid MFers are telling the world they sell "fun".

    http://neer-do-well-hall-of-infamey.blogspot.ca/

    By Stoxxman on Nov 19, 2013

  4. Latest is a piece on the RipOff Report. We have an ongoing fraud here citizens.

    http://neer-do-well-hall-of-infamey.blogspot.ca/

    By Stoxxman on Nov 20, 2013

  5. Hey -

    as the husband and the person that got nailed with this charge ... I appreciate the effort and time you put into this. I'm going to pass this info on to our legal team (yes, TEAM) that's going after these people. :)

    By John Palmer on Nov 20, 2013

  6. I'd focus a bit on Will Bermender. I don't see a reason to register that name for a domain unless it's real.
    The Google+ page lists work experience in online retail going back many years, so plausible he created and runs the site.
    https://plus.google.com/111039109253111173991/about

    By David Markland on Nov 26, 2013

  7. Ack - I see I'm way late in posting the above (also just stumbled across this story). Glad to see the folks here and on other sites are doing some good detective work to nail this conman, whoever he is!

    By David Markland on Nov 26, 2013

  8. It's curious how this entity is using a Michigan based address and area code. Michigan State Law requires you to register under your assumed name in each county you plan to do business in.
    Bermender, or Key have not registered Kleargear in KENT County, Michigan. Kleargear isn't even registered with the State of Michigan, Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. I'm sure Mr. Palmer's attorneys have already done their ground work, and are aware of this fact. I would not be surprised that these individuals are entangled with several other civil matter disputes, hopefully they'll get caught up in criminal matters due to the increased scrutiny. These type of businesses/ individuals hiding information and conducting shady practices, are usually knee deep in fraudulent activities.

    By Chris on Nov 27, 2013

  9. Excellent work

    By james t on Nov 28, 2013

  10. Thank you as well, and John I'm sorry to hear about how awful these people have been.

    We recently discovered that "KlearGear" stole a bunch of product photos from our web site and are attempting to pass off what they're "selling" as our product (even infringing on our TM's)

    I've tried calling all those phone numbers (thank you BlagNet) and unfortunately just keep running into dead ends.

    By Michael on Nov 29, 2013

  11. @Chris:

    Exactly. There is NO WAY the only criminal activity these predators are involved in is fraud and misuse of credit reporting agencies. They seem like the Prenda of online retailers. Every state attorney general who has aspirations of higher political office—in other words, every state attorney general—who might possibly have jurisdiction over KlearGear is going to look long and deep into their business and financial records to find every piece of dirt and every shady practice they can. I predict they will find a lot.

    By John on Nov 29, 2013

  12. I think it's going to work out Karma wise. They are going to lose business from this. They are going to lose endorsements from this and they now have a lawsuit to defend. Now for the rest of time, anytime someone wants to google kleargear to check them out, ALL they will see is this stuff about their rip-off attempt! :) Major Fail by Kleargear!

    By Eric on Nov 30, 2013

  13. They probably are Muslim cockroaches!

    By MonkeyBoy on Dec 1, 2013

  14. Here is my speculation for what it's worth. I think you are correct .. This is some kind of front for an illegal operation. My guess is drugs. If I were going to ship drugs into the US. I would setup a online merchant selling cheap crap that comes in all different sizes and weights. I would hire four or five morons to run the legit business and who would know nothing about the illegal shipping. Of course that is weakness to the plan .. you need real stupid people to run the legit business - so they don't ask too many questions. My guess is one of the idiots on the legit side was a bit too vindictive and spiteful for his own good and blew the operation's cover. And now all you are going to find are ghosts and the morons .. of course this is all just speculation .. but great detective work

    By Kmuzu on Dec 2, 2013

  15. I wonder how this made it to the credit reporting agencies? Can anyone just make a negative credit claim.. even unreal or fake people?

    By makery on Dec 19, 2013

  16. @makery,

    Apparently so. That's what a lot of people at Techdirt and Popehat wondered. The credit reporting agencies are partly culpable in the Palmers' mess too, as is Ripoff Report for running what appears to be a scam of some sorts: demand hundreds or thousands of dollars from customers who have posted reviews there when they want to take their review down later.

    By John on Dec 20, 2013

  17. Howdy Do John.

    Its a REAL shame what happened to you and yours and DAMN it is, anybody with a mediocre sense of right versus wrong ought to be pissed off ultra large on your behalf. These scumbags are amazing large basterds that need to get slapped stupid ... pronto.

    http://neer-do-well-hall-of-infamey.blogspot.ca/

    By Ace on Dec 21, 2013

  18. Hey Ace -

    if you're one of the people updating/posting to the neer-do-well-hall-of-infamey.blogspot.ca site, I would like to thank you for what you've posted up there, along with the information that you and other have dug up.

    By John Palmer on Feb 18, 2014

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