The BBB Serving Western Virginia is warning businesses about solicitations from a company that has a history of problems with the consumer organization.
Here are details from the BBB:
Roanoke, VA (December 12, 2013): A corporate solicitation that resembles an official government mailing is once again being mailed to Virginia businesses. The BBB Serving Western VA is alerting businesses about mailings from Corporate Records Service, a Michigan company that is asking for $125 in return for their assistance in compiling corporate annual minutes and documents.
Corporate Records Service, which lists a Richmond, VA UPS Store mailbox as its address, is a part of The Mandatory Poster Agency Inc. of Lansing, Mich. The business has an “F” rating with the BBB Serving Western Michigan. The reasons for this rating include complaint volume, the serious nature of several complaints, and government actions against the company.
The BBB Serving Western VA first alerted Virginia corporations about this mailing on June 5, 2013. The mailings have been altered slightly by adding the word ‘Solicitation’ to the top of the form, but the inclusion of Virginia Law and use of a deadline have confused businesses into thinking it was from a state agency.
“This is a private company soliciting businesses with offers to file corporate records that do not fulfill the Virginia annual report filing requirement.” said Julie Wheeler, President and CEO of BBB Serving Western VA. “We encourage all of our businesses to contact the Virginia State Corporate Commission about any such Virginia state corporate requirements.”
The BBB Serving Western Virginia has received multiple calls from businesses who received these mailings. Businesses across the state are encouraged to be aware of the mailings as they appear to be distributed statewide.
In response to BBB investigations, Corporate Records Service has stated that the mailings state that “we are not a government agency and we do not have a contract with the government to provide our service.”
In July of 2012, the Iowa attorney general’s office obtained an agreement with The Mandatory Poster Agency requiring that it not make misleading statements regarding its location or its status as a government entity. The agreement also bars the company from using a name that includes the words “agency” or “compliance center,” and bars it from using logos similar to government logos. The company also cannot misrepresent workplace posting laws and requirements, or imply that its products are somehow mandatory or approved by government agencies.
On September 4, 2013 the State of Wisconsin obtained a Consent Judgment against Mandatory Poster Agency, Inc. and one of its principals, Steven J. Fata, in a case involving a deceptive solicitation for “annual corporate minutes” services. The defendants agreed to entry of judgment against them in the amount of $340,000. That amount includes $183,500 in consumer restitution, costs and attorneys’ fees and $156,500 in civil forfeitures and related court assessments. The judgment also imposes a permanent injunction upon the defendants, requiring them to make a set of changes to their solicitation in order to protect future consumers from being mislead.
Businesses with questions regarding state annual filing requirements should contact the Virginia State Corporate Commission, legal counsel, or their certified public accountant. The BBB warns businesses to read any similar mailings carefully before paying money or sending private information.
For more advice please visit www.bbb.org or contact the BBB Serving Western VA at (540) 342-3455 or (800) 533-5501.