HOUSTON -

A Houston-based advertising company is under scrutiny for not providing paid sponsorships to local and out-of-state business owners.

According to the Better Business Bureau, business owners from across the country have said they paid up to $949 to TKO Sports for advertising on T-shirts meant to raise money for schools in their communities. The company has offices at 1000 FM 1960 Road West.

TKO Sports Advertising and Promotion contacted local business owner Georgina Baba to check her interest in sponsoring the football team at John H. Reagan High School.

In an effort to give back to the community, Baba said she gladly paid $269.50 to have her business advertised on T-shirts. The shirts were supposed to be ready for the beginning of the 2013 football season but they never arrived.

After months of difficulties, Baba learned there was no connection between TKO Sports and Reagan High School.

“I’ve never heard of them and have never had any affiliation with them whatsoever,” Reagan athletics coordinator and football coach Stephen Dixon said.

After Baba confronted TKO Sports over the issue, the company lost touch with her.

Jeff Kirk, the owner of TKO Sports, said that Baba was mistaken on the delivery date for the shirts.

“At that time she was told that it would take a minimum of 90-180 days to complete," Kirk said. "Sometimes it takes longer.”

The Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston reports 39 complaints against TKO Sports in the past three years that have been similar to Baba’s claim. The BBB also alleges TKO Sports of misleading its customers and to be cautious when working with the organization.

“These organizations, sponsors and kids have given their talents, money, and in some cases, the shirts off their backs, only to be short-shirted in a cruel and unfeeling way,” BBB President and CEO Dan Parsons said.

When sponsoring a fundraising event, BBB recommends asking what the funds will be used for; making sure all promises are in writing; and researching the fundraising event or company hosting it. 

BBB also suggests walking away or hanging up on high-pressure solicitations.