MOUNT HOLLY, N.C. - Pastor Jesse Fields leads a small church in Mount Holly. He's been in ministry almost 30 years and was looking to make extra money.
He bought a 26-foot box truck for $23,000.
He found out about a local transportation company called Day Runner.
Day Runner offered drivers membership plans. In a YouTube video, Day Runner owner Marvin Walker explained the more expensive the plan, the more money drivers could earn.
Fields bought the top-level plan for $12,500. He said, a big reason why he bought it was Day Runner was "advertising that they were connected with Amazon." He said that "was the selling point."
As it turned out, Day Runner didn’t land any Amazon routes. "I'm angry because I feel like he snowed us," said Fields.
Two other people, including Shadonna Ross, told Action 9 they went with lesser plans but still invested $2,500 each.
"I'm a mother of four kids. I just want to be able to take care of my kids and live a comfortable life and be able to send them to college," said Ross. "Everything they [were] offering would have been great for a person who [was] just starting out and wanting experience." "The money and the concept would have been life-changing."
The Better Business Bureau counts eight complaints against Day Runner and gives the company an “F” rating.
Walker wouldn't speak to Action 9 on camera but sent an email saying Amazon stole his business model and then didn’t use his company. His lawyer sent Amazon a letter, demanding Amazon pay. Walker did direct Action 9 to Thomas Hailey, who says he works for Walker as a driver.
Action 9 asked him if he thought Walker misled people. "No. Some people just want to jump the gun," Hailey said. "They want it to manifest right now. But like I say, you got to let things grow gradually."
Even so, Fields and Ross want refunds. "I worked really hard to save up that kind of money. I know it's not a lot to some people, but it's a lot to me," Ross said.
Walker sent drivers a message, saying he expresses “deep regret," acknowledges he owes “40 plus members” and he’s “not in a position to refund all of you simultaneously,” but says he plans to do so “in 6 months to a year” with interest.
Action 9 asked Walker if he had a contract with Amazon, something in writing. He said he didn't but that Amazon promised to get him one at least twice, once in December 2017 and again in March 2018.
At this point, Amazon isn't confirming or denying that. Its officials said it is "looking into the matter."
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