Imagine you and your family being invited to a simple get together by a trusted friend where you’re introduced to her trusted friends/tenants. The seemingly casual get together suddenly turns into a sales pitch for health products that you’ve never heard of before and can’t even afford. You don’t fully understand the process that is being presented to you, but you trust these people because they appear to be close friends of your trusted friend. You feel pressured, but eventually you agree to sign off for the health products and you’re assured that you may cancel anytime within 10 days with no reason to cancel. You cancel the products two days later but then are shocked to find 7 months later that money is being automatically withdrawn from your account and you allegedly owe $8,267.40 for products that you never received.
Renato Castro, alleges this happened to him. Castro and his family were invited to a simple get together by a trusted friend and was introduced to Josefina Pacayra and Editha Antolin. Suddenly, the get together turned into a sales pitch where Castro was convinced to purchase an Air Purifier, Water Purifier, Chinese WOK, and a travel networking package called Surge 365 all for the amount of $4,704 (including tax). Castro alleges Editha Antolin told him the $500 Surge 365 would be included in his loan package even though it wasn’t mentioned in writing.
The sales pitch was based around supposed health items for his family, but Castro didn’t have the funds available. Since he didn’t have the money, they told him a loan can be arranged for him but they needed him to sign all sorts of forms. They assured him he had the option to cancel. Castro alleges, Editha Antolin assisted in the presentation and paperwork and that there was no further discussion after this meeting. According to Castro and the trusted friend, neither Editha Antolin or Josefina Pacayra gave him any products at this meeting.
“I felt I can trust Filipinos in Canada especially when they know my friends like this.” – Renato Castro
Castro states he felt pressured into purchasing the products because of their connection to his trusted friend and also because they were also Filipinos and his fellow kababayans. Editha Antolin, apparently from Calgary, and Josefina Pacayra, apparently from Toronto, were staying in the trusted friend’s basement for most of a year together as roommates. Castro stated “I felt I can trust Filipinos in Canada especially when they know my friends like this.”
A few days after August 6, 2015, a package with paperwork showed up in the mail for Renato Castro from Burnaby based loan company, Crelogix Acceptance Corporation (Crelogix), for a total of $8,267.40, which included 24.90% interest over 60 months. The seller was listed as Michael Anthony O. Pacayra (whom Castro has never met) and was signed by Michael’s mother Josefina Pacayra for a company called MICP Healthy Living Solutions. Castro, stunned at the amount (which was $3,563.40 more than the initial $4,704), states he then immediately phoned Josefina Pacayra to cancel this order and Pacayra confirmed she would take care of it.
Then 7 months later, Castro discovered that payments from Crelogix were suddenly coming out of his bank account automatically. He didn’t know what to do since he already cancelled his order with Pacayra, so he closed his bank account. Afterwards, Castro alleges Crelogix started calling him and threatening him that he has to pay. He phoned Josefina Pacayra to get this fixed and she told him she was waiting for her accountant. After that point, Renato states Pacayra would never answer his phone calls again. Castro emailed Crelogix to ask “what initiated the loan finally after 7 months from the date of signing?” Crelogix told Castro they are investigating his claim.
Castro’s trusted friend phoned MetroVan Independent News because she was upset when she found out what happened to him. She felt partly responsible because she introduced Castro to Josefina Pacayra and Editha Antholin. She wanted us to investigate this story.
When we called Josefina Pacayra, she insisted that Renato Castro signed all the documents (including the delivery receipt, even though they didn’t give him any of the products). She admitted that Castro wanted his order cancelled. When asked about Castro not receiving any products yet still being on the hook for a loan, Pacayra said that she was waiting for her accountant to straighten it all out. We asked “you’re still waiting for your accountant almost a year later?… has he been gone for 9 months?” She paused then said “yes,” the same reason she gave Castro back in August 2015. Pacayra later texted us saying “give me 10 days to settle this incident.” 18 days later, nothing appears to have been fixed and Pacayra has not answered any calls or messages from us.
We tried calling Editha Antolin and her voicemail was full. We texted her and she hasn’t gotten back to us. We sent her a private message on her Facebook and got no response. We emailed her and asked about her involvement and still no response. We phoned the number for MICP Healthy Living Solutions, which is a Toronto area number, and it doesn’t work. Even though Editha Antolin allegedly assisted Josefina Pacayra in this sale, Antolin did not include her signature on any documents.
We communicated via email with Josefina Pacayra’s son, Michael Anthony O. Pacayra, whose name is on the Consumer Promissory Note from Crelogix and is also the registered applicant for a business license under the name of MICP Healthy Living Solutions in Vancouver, BC. At first, Michael Pacayra stated his name wasn’t on the contract, but after we showed him a copy of the contract with his name on it, he then said he would look into it. Michael Pacayra admitted he never met Renato Castro and has never been to Vancouver.
Michael Pacayra was sarcastic in his emails to us and said, “What a coincidence that you are a news reporter very punny…I don’t really care for the publication of the story. I don’t know anyone in Vancouver and I have never been there so that doesn’t matter to me.” The MICP Healthy Living Solutions business license under Michael Pacayra’s name is registered using a Richmond, BC address and was temporarily opened on May 8, 2015 until Dec 31, 2015. Michael Pacayra adds, “Who honestly reads the newspaper anymore? I actually use newspapers for masking off things I paint.”
After 10 days of communicating with Michael Pacayra and asking him questions, he finally wrote, “I have full intention in returning his money. From the information that I have gathered, Renato cancelled the order before the products were shipped out to him. It wouldn’t make sense to ship him products he no longer wants anymore.”
As of July 22, 2016, almost a year since Renato Castro cancelled his order and with no products ever having been delivered, Castro is still on the hook for an $8,267.40.