BBB is issuing an alert regarding Clearline Coatings Inc., a Florida based dealer of epoxy floor coverings and truck bed liner products. The company’s owner, Julius Lupowitz, formerly located in New York, has also used the names Ocean Spray Technologies and Hammerhead Spray In Liners.
In a complaint filed with the BBB, an Omaha business that applies epoxy floor coverings states he was contacted by Julius Lupowitz and asked to “invest” in Clearline’s epoxy product. Lupowitz asked for an initial outlay of $2305.02 to open an account. He was directed to send a cashiers check, because the company does not accept payments by credit card.
A few days later, the Omaha businessman received a call from a company named Hammerhead. The representative told him they had six trucks from Seattle which needed epoxy liners. All he would need to do was purchase the bed liner product and the vehicles would be delivered for the application. The business agreed to purchase the product based on the promise of trucks to work on and sent an additional $1068.33 to the company. He received the bed liner product, but the trucks never arrived.
In another complaint filed with the BBB, a trailer business located in Shenandoah, IA received a call from a representative of Clearline who identified himself as Eddy Lupe. Lupe offered this company a distributorship for “the only clear epoxy product on the market” along with a guaranteed territory of a 150 mile radius.
The price quoted for this distributorship was an initial investment of $16,000. After Lupe was told that the owner was not willing to make this kind of investment, he then added, “Your company will also be taking over the business records for another distributor.” He had recently dropped and promised there would be jobs from that company. The owner then agreed to become certified and invest $9,500.
The trailer company received the product, but could not get it to adhere or dry. The complainant states that the product does not work and a refund was requested. To date, there has been no refund and no additional jobs as promised.
When confronted by the BBB about the complaints, Lupowitz denied he had concocted the phony orders, and said he was unwilling to provide a refund but would retrain the companies in the proper use of the product. Additionally, Lupowitz stated that complaints against him are occurring as a result of a competitor who is persuading businesses to file complaints with BBB using false and misleading information. Lupowitz acknowledged to the BBB that he does use aliases regularly such as “Eddy Lupe” in his business dealings, but claimed he did not engineer the set ups as claimed by these two customers.
BBB President Jim Hegarty has informed Lupowitz that the BBB was issuing an alert after it learned that in 2006, Lupowitz, while operating a company called Ocean Spray Technologies, was arrested in New York where he faced charges of grand larceny and scheming to defraud auto body shops nationwide. Lupowitz pleaded guilty to a first-degree felony charge and was sentenced to probation after making restitution of $54,322. The money was disbursed to 14 victims who were refused refunds.
According to the DA, “In order to induce auto body shops to buy his product, Lupowitz, posed as a fictitious owner of a fleet of trucks that needed to be sprayed specifically with his product. This fictitious company would enter into an agreement with auto body shops and based on this agreement, the shops would then purchase Ocean Spray’s product. After receiving the product, the shop would never hear from the fictitious truck owner again. Lupowitz would then refuse to refund the auto body shops.”
Hegarty said, “The BBB has had additional contacts with complainants in six other states regarding Lupowitz and is presenting the complaints and its findings to the BBB in Orlando for further investigation of Julius Lupowitz and Clearline Coatings. In these difficult economic times, when our businesses are especially vulnerable, the BBB intends to be especially watchful and will issue alerts when necessary.”