CleverGhosts takes the “ghost” in their name quite literally. After “working” with this writing agency for 3+ months and wasting a ton of time (+ a few thousand bucks), I am here to transparently share with you my experience.
Is CleverGhosts a scam?
It’s hard to know whether this company intended to be a fraud since the beginning. But after working with CleverGhosts for 3+ months, I can firmly say this is the worst content agency I’ve ever encountered.
So if you were planning on trying one of their subscription plans… DON’T DO IT!
I talked to 20+ clients who joined this service (some paid for the “Start-up” plan, some for the “Thriving” plan, and most paid for the unlimited “Elite” plan), and none of them received the content that was promised (100+ posts per month with the Elite plan).
CleverGhosts constantly offers 50-70% off for the 1st month. But this seems to be a classic FOMO marketing tactic: hook people with a low introductory offer and rig it so they then need to pay the full price to see any real benefits (if there are any).
What Are the REAL Costs of CleverGhosts.com?
Before signing up, the customer support from CleverGhosts will assure you they can deliver 40 to 60 articles per month from the beginning (with a word count of around 2000 words per article).
They might “warn” you that the 1st month can be slower because the onboarding process can take up to 2 weeks, but that posts will then be delivered regularly from the 2nd month. Also, peak production delivery will start from the 3rd month (100+ posts per month).
These are very attractive numbers. I was thinking that if they really can deliver more than 40-60 articles (with 2000 words/article) per month, I am actually only paying 0.6 – 0.9 cents/word, which is a great bargain.
I then thought about all the added value I would receive from paying a monthly recurring fee for outsourcing my content production.
Working with CG, in theory, I would have the same team working on my content over the long term. We all know how time-costing it can be to train a team of writers. So, it is definitely worth it to keep some quality writers for myself.
Besides, CG claims that they will do quality control for all the articles. I checked some articles they wrote before and the quality seems to be decent.
Lastly, I was told that contents would arrive regularly (every week) after the 1st month and that they can even include 3-5 images for each article and publish the articles for me on Wordpress.
All those sound amazing, right? So, I signed up to give this service a chance.
What a mistake it was…
Well, my friends, reality is cruel. After paying 3+ months of elite plan, I’ve received… 3 articles in total.
The quality is ok, but this means that I paid almost $2000 for these 3 articles. You can do the math yourself to see whether it is actually worth the money. (Hint: NO!)
Plus, I spent hours and hours trying to get in touch with them. My account manager, along with the entire CG team, totally ghosted me for weeks during the process, without replying to any of my emails, calls, and messages.
Basically, to keep you paying the bill, they will lure you by saying something like this:
”… Keep in mind, though, if you cancel before your next billing cycle, any pending posts will be stopped and will not be delivered. This prevents people from signing up for one month just to request a massive amount of content, which has happened in the past.”
“…The account can still be put on pause for now until content is delivered. We would need you to add another payment method though and understand if this is not possible. We just want to be able to deliver the content we owe you so you can assess the service properly. In month 2 you would have received weekly delivery…” (Quoted from a user who blocked CG through the bank.)
Sure, these words and terms from CG all sound reasonable if you don’t know the big picture.
Fact is the moment your 2nd month payment is automatically processed, they will disappear again, without any content delivery, without any communication. And guess what? It’s NOT even possible to ask for a refund.
Below are 5 reasons why CleverGhosts most likely is a scam. The information I am about to share is gathered from more than 100 users/victims. Some of them managed to cut ties with this company, but many of them are still struggling to get their money back.
5 Reasons why CleverGhosts is Scam
1. Total Absence of Communication
This is a “Ghost” company. After you sign up, you will be contacted by an account manager, this person will most likely be named Anthony, Jason or Chris.
Update: Later on, they added a few new account managers, named Ken, Dan and Garret Nave.
However, after talking with multiple people who have been scammed by CleverGhosts, I suspect they don’t have all these account managers. I think it’s just the same person attempting to make it look like there are more.
Your account manager will sound friendly and welcoming at the beginning. He will share his Skype, his email with you and some of them might even suggest to have a call together. They will put together a Google sheet where you can fill in your requirements and requests.
Here is an example email you will receive:
My name is Anthony and I’ll be your account manager here at CleverGhosts.
I’ve put together a Google Sheet for you to add posts to. You can find it here: XXXX (link)
To answer your questions: We average about 50-60 posts within the first month, followed by a significant increase thereafter. 250 posts would probably take us 2-3 months to deliver if you were to assign that many today.”
After you eagerly share your big vision with the account manager, he will tell you that 8-10 writers will be recruited to work for your project (if you paid for the Elite Plan). And he will give you a very beautiful picture as if you will receive tons of quality contents and make money with these posts.
Everything seems professional at this point in time and as a new user, you would feel excited about the future.
Then, after around 2-3 weeks and numerous follow-ups, if you are lucky enough, your account manager will finally get back to you and tell you that the onboarding process is not done yet due to XYZ reason, but everything is under control.
He probably will even tell you that you will receive a few pieces very soon and that all your articles will be delivered before the next billing date.
After that, your account manager will “disappear” again. No matter how many emails you send him, no matter how many times you see he is “active” on Skype, no matter how many calls you dialed, he will not reply to you. Actually, no one from CleverGhosts will reply to you.
Then, right before your next billing time, your account manager will suddenly “appear”, telling you that he was just very busy and everything is still under control. He probably would also tell you that articles have been written and they are just going through the quality control process.
Note: These are all LIES! 100% LIES. They don’t have your articles. Nobody is working on your articles. They’re probably just sipping Pina Coladas while replying on Skype to their clients once every 2 months.
If you are still trusting them at this point and agree to wait a bit longer instead of begging for a refund, then this is where the real nightmare starts.
If you don’t stop it before the 2nd bill, the total cost will be more than $1000. But for sure, you won’t receive content despite many passed deadlines and empty promises.
The more you follow up, the angrier you feel. And the more apparent it is that CG is a total SCAM.
However, no one cares. No one is going to answer your emails, no one will reply to your Skype message, no one will reply to the live chat, no one will answer the phone call. NOTHING!
If you are lucky enough to get a hang on them, don’t even bother to change to another account manager, because they are all the same.
2. Over-Promises & Never Delivers (LIES!)
Your account manager will keep promise you that the posts will come soon. They will even give you some specific deadlines. But no articles will be delivered.
The fact is they can’t walk the talk. They are just lying again and again so that you keep paying the bills.
Here are some of the excuses they might give you:
- “Our service is slowed down because of COVID 19.” (LOL. This is BS, because their “writers” would be working remotely anyway.)
- “We got a big influx of new customers, so, we are a bit overloaded. But no worries, we’ve hired 100+ new account managers to handle all the new sign-ups. “
- “We are going to hire more writers just for you so that we can speed up your project.” (Yeah, sure…)
- “Sorry, your emails were going to the spam and I didn’t check the dashboard messages (or the dashboard is not working properly now).”
- “Your content has already been completed and is either with our QA team being reviewed or currently being revised.” (Don’t bother to wait, the QA process will take weeks/months. You are lucky if you receive 1-2 pieces of content)
Update 1: One of the victims told me that CG offered to cease the account and not charge until the requested articles are delivered. She trusted CG, but eventually (after 5 more weeks), there were still no deliveries, nothing! And she missed the time for asking a chargeback because of the waiting.
Update 2: Another victim told me that CG hooked him for 2+ months by sending him 1-2 articles every month. Eventually, he got the money back through chargeback, but the process was devastating.
3. Impossible to Get a Refund
Let me go straight to the point: CLEVERGHOSTS DON’T HAVE A REFUND POLICY (based on their TOS)!
One of the users told us that he signed up for more than 3 weeks, without being able to communicate with anyone from CleverGhosts at all. He then started to feel suspicious and wanted to cancel the subscription.
Because of that, he received a reply from CG (apparently, CG is only willing to communicate when it’s about money) and this is what he was told:
“….The onboarding process does take time, as I’m sure you’re aware, but your content has already been completed and is either with our QA team being reviewed or currently being revised.
We can deliver your content before your next billing cycle, but if you’d like to cancel, then please feel free. Per our Terms of Service, we do NOT have a refund policy. We do offer refunds from time to time if work hasn’t been started, but you are already deep into the process here. Content has already been written and resources have already been assigned to your account.
Canceling now, in my opinion, would be premature, as the first month is never indicative of the service as a whole. This month is really about getting everything set up so the writers can get adjusted.”
This happened to many people. Some lost a few hundreds, others lost a few thousands.
CleverGhosts is a money-sucking fraud. It doesn’t deliver you articles, it doesn’t reply to you, and it DOESN’T have a refund policy.
You think this is terrible. Well, it can go worse than that!…
4. Impossible to Cancel the Subscription
When I signed up, there was a button in the dashboard that you could press to cancel the subscription at any time. After a few weeks, they removed that button.
It means that once you sign up, you are doomed. Because it’s simply IMPOSSIBLE TO CANCEL your SUBSCRIPTION.
Many users reported that they emailed CG numerous times in order to cancel the subscription. But CG never replied. Eventually, they had to report a fraud through their bank to solve the problem.
“… I cannot even cancel my account!! and they are not answering me for a refund, I may have to close my card, and this was a lot of money for me.” – S.
“My credit card company in India says I cannot issue a chargeback as it was an authorized transaction. There is no way of canceling the subscription from the credit card company’s side as well.
… Is there any way to contact these guys and at least get them to cancel my subscription? Doesn’t look like I am getting my money back for this month and it was a huge amount for me 🙁” – B.
5. Suspicious Company Background
Finally let’s end this list of with some details regarding CleverGhosts that just reveals are shady this “company” is.
As I am not a lawyer, I’m not gonna go in-dept with these, but feel free to dig more if you want.
Suspicious details regarding CleverGhosts:
- No details regarding the legal structure of Cleverghosts.com. Is it even a legal company? Even the invoice is blank.
- If you dial the phone number listed on their website “949. 369. 3273”, no one will pick up the phone.
- Their website was created in 2019 by ozanwp, so this is a really young venture.
- They claim they’re working with writers on their “office”, but the only address they provide is “418 N. Main St., Corona, California, 92880”, which doesn’t really look like a corporate address to me for 400+ writers, right?
- They have a clone site, which looks exactly the same but with a different phone number (that still doesn’t work).
- After signing up, there’s no guide or instructions or videos on how to use the platform. The buttons on the dashboard are just decorations. For example, if you contact them with the “message your ghost” button, no one will reply. I also tried to use “request project” button, but no one will read your request. It’s just a waste of time.
- They claim that they have 20 000 ghostwriters and 500 clients.
- According to the stats they don’t even have Alexa rank, which means that their website gets very low traffic before Nov 3, 2020. Then Jon from Fatstacks promoted their service and their traffic went up, from non-existing Alexa rank to #324,920. If you check SEO tools or domain tools, CleverGhosts had no exposure before Jon from Fat Stacks advertised them at the end of 2020. They did some Youtube promotions, but it’s something in comparison with what Fat Stacks did for them.
Note: Jon didn’t expect CleverGhosts to be a scam. CG lied to Jon as well and “promised” him that they can handle a big influx of new users redirected by him.
What To Do If You Already Signed Up or In the Middle of This Fiasco?
For most banks in Europe and North America, it’s possible to dispute a payment up to 60 – 120 days after the purchase and ask for a chargeback.
However, if your bank doesn’t support chargeback, it’s better to cancel/block your card as soon as possible to avoid further loss.
2. Report a Fraud to the Government
It’s up to you to judge whether CleverGhosts is a scam or not. We believe there’s way enough evidence. So if you do want to report this company to make sure no more people are harmed in the futuren here’s what you can do:
- Report to the FTC: https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/
- Report to Stripe: email@example.com
- Report to their host: firstname.lastname@example.org + email@example.com
3. Protect Your Information
If you already shared your Wordpress passcode for them to publish articles on your sites, makes sure you stop that right away.
Other Information about CleverGhosts That Might Be Helpful for You:
If you still want to try contact them, here are a list of email you can reach them.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (to Jason Prescott)
- email@example.com (to Anthony LaMalva)
You may also try your luck with the following numbers:
From what we know, no one has ever managed to dial through these two numbers.
If any of you have further information regarding CleverGhosts, about how to reach them, how to get a refund and most importantly, how to stop this scam company, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.
This post is intended to prevent people from getting scammed by CG, to help those of you who are in the middle of this struggle.
However, we still haven’t found any way to help everyone and this company is still alive and profiting online despite of all the scammy behaviors they’ve conducted.
There are still a lot of existing victims, struggling to get their money back or simply just to stop the subscription.
If you know how to help these people or want to fight back with us (via a lawsuit?), please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts below.