November 17, 2007
Dear Airleaf Victims and Supporters,
Welcome to our 18 new Airleaf Victims members. As of today, Saturday, our group is over 130 members and growing daily thanks to the increased pressure being brought to Airleaf and the support of our friends on their websites. I continue to contact every possible author that I can find to increase our support, and there are a number of supporters that also receive this weekly update as well. Please check out our website at http://www.airleafvictims.com/ each week to see the newly added stories. Let me know if you would like to add yours.
We are seeing the final days of Airleaf. Their staff is now down to four or five people from 30 last year at this time. The production department is shut down and the workforce is reduced to a couple of clerical people, an author representative, and Carl Lau.
This week, I received an interesting letter from a lovely lady, Clara. She wrote to me:
I'm an 87 year old woman who lost $7,750.00 to Airleaf. I sent my story to Captain Buskirk where you are free to get it and sign me as one of your Airleaf victims. I was lied to by several of their workers. Carl Lau said at one point when the pressure was on, "I'll put your money back on Friday". He never did. He got hold of my autobiography "Grandma's Stroll down Memory Lane" and sent me a paper full of praises of my book. I trusted him and as a result he has my book and has taken $7,750.00 out of my visa and I have a big debt to pay back. At 87 I'm on a fixed income and can barely make . The Attorney General sent me a letter last week that they received from Carl Lau saying he was closing Airleaf down as of that day. Could it be he'll take off or declare bankruptcy?Clara (last name withheld)
This week, I also had the opportunity to have an interesting conversation with the head of Axess Printing, Robert Smith, the company where many of your books came to a complete halt. Mr. Smith was very kind and gracious when I explained who I am. He told me that there are a large number of books that were formatted but never made it to print because Airleaf refused to pay for the publishing, leaving him thousands of dollars in debt. Axess was one of the biggest publishers for Airleaf last year. For those of you who were wondering why your book was never printed, this certainly is the reason. Mr. Smith said he would be happy to print the books (if he has yours) for a fraction of the price. I will get in touch with him again this week to see if I can obtain a list of authors. If any of your names are on there, I will be happy to notify you and give you his contact information if you would like to call him.
Seventeen of you have sent me copies of letters that you have sent to Carl Lau asking him to remove your books from their website. Those people who received a response received the standard “I am sorry things did not work out” response. I’m sure he is sorry. The interesting thing is that I check each day on the Airleaf.com website to see if these books have actually been removed. About half of the requested ones are still on the site. If you’re one of the authors who asked to have them removed, please check the site out to make sure they are not still up there. In some cases, your books are still showing, but when you click in to order them, there is no information. However, your books are still on display.
One of our Airleaf Author Victims sent me this exciting note to help others:
Success of sorts. I filed a "Disputed Transaction" form with my bank, the holder of the VISA card that I used for the $550 down payment with Airleaf. They credited my account for the $550, so I'm not out any money, but the better news is that Airleaf now has VISA on the butts, probably for Credit Card Fraud! The State of Indiana's Attorney General sent me a complaint form to sign, so they are now involved, so I now have them, the BBB, my bank and VISA on Airleaf's butt, so maybe something will happen, I hope so. You might tell the people that used a credit card to file a disputed transaction form with the bank that sponsors the card. It might help!
Thanks Bob. If any of you have other tips on helping authors with their credit card companies, please share them with us.
I have no news about the investigation this week. One of our members heard from the attorney general’s office and the woman who works with Terry Tolliver stated that the investigation is going on, and they are looking to see what civil charges can be brought after the police decide what criminal charges will be brought. I hope to have more of an update for you next week on the investigation.
I found these two interesting posts on the Internet from Carl Lau. I wanted to share them with you so you can see the progress we’ve made in just a few short months:
September 20, 2006
Airleaf Publishing: President Mr. Carl Lau talks about how he got into the publishing business and where he wants to take Airleaf Publishing, especially with the company’s Hollywood connections.
“Our focus is to sell your book to bookstores, not to authors. We are the only company in the country that is even trying to sell self-published books to the bookstores.”
“We have NO competition, none at all. The reason no other company even tries it is because it is hard. It is much, much easier to take authors money “to publish” and then make more money by selling authors their own books. (That is what Print on Demand Publishers do.) We took the hard road. We’re paying people to call bookstores and sell your book.”
(Note: I bolded the line words “to take authors money “to publish” because I thought that was pretty prophetic)
Published on: 2/15/2007
"The timing is right for new leadership," says Carl Lau, founder of Airleaf."Our outstanding reputation with bookstores and the constant increase in book sales provide a strong foundation for continued growth. We expect 2007 to be a very successful year for authors as we focus our efforts on better customer service than we've ever had before." "We've increased book sales by 92% over 2005," Lau says, "Airleaf has opened many doors for self-published authors by selling books to bookstores and not relying on the internet alone. I realize that the focus on book sales has left little communication to authors in the past year and, to remedy that, I have not only hired more staff members, but devised a new plan of operation that encourages direct contact with our authors. We've succeeded in selling books, something that very few publishers are even attempting. Now, I can focus on customer engagement to ensure that authors know exactly how many books have sold, when they sold, and who we're talking to for publicity." If you have any questions or concerns, or if you just want to discuss what changes are on the horizon, please give us a call at 1-800-342-6068 or send an email to Carl at email@example.com.
It was words like these that gave hope to all of us, even when we can now prove that the fraudulence was in effect by the time of that last posting.
And if you have a few free moments this week, please give Airleaf a call at their toll-free phone number of 1-800-342-6068 and ask them how to get back your manuscripts, books, and money. If 100 plus people call there a week, it won’t be long until their 800 number is shut off as well.
I know people are feeling panicky about Airleaf closing and leaving them with no hope for recovering of money. Please be aware that Carl Lau owns a home, a building, a plane, a boat, and cars. Do not believe for one minute that he’s going to walk away from this and just move to his next stop.
WE WILL NOT ALLOW IT.
Our fighters grow by the day, and together we will make sure this doesn’t happen by taking the criminal and legal steps we need to take.
To all of my Airleaf Victim friends and supporters, allow me to wish you a happy and healthy holiday. Know that you are standing up to fight for a cause that is worth fighting. I’m here for you, and I appreciate your being here for me.
With love and hope,
PS tell us ALL what you think of AirLeaf???