TALLAHASSEE, Fla.––Attorney General Pam Bondi, the Federal Trade Commission and several other state and federal agencies today announced the results of Operation Main Street. The nationwide operation focused on stopping scams targeting small businesses across the country and in Florida. The operation included 24 actions, including four recent actions by the Florida Attorney General’s Office.
“Small businesses are vital to Florida’s economy, employing more than three million Floridians and contributing to our state’s economic strength. We will always strive to protect our great small businesses, and working with the FTC and our state and federal partners, we recently took action against 24 small business scams, including several in Florida,” said Attorney General Bondi.
As part of the national operation, the Florida Attorney General’s Office took action against the following businesses: Florida Corporate Filing Services, GNA Housekeeping, LLC, United Business Services, Inc., and US Yellow. The Florida Attorney General’s Office filed suit against US Yellow alleging the company tricked small businesses into believing US Yellow provided free local listings with local Yellow Pages. US Yellow charged businesses more than $1,000 a year for a listing directory although US Yellow is not affiliated with the Real Yellow Pages.
In the three other matters involving Florida Corporate Filing Services, GNA Housekeeping and United Business Services, the Florida Attorney General’s Office obtained final judgments against corporations for engaging in deceptive practices. The court found that the corporations misrepresented themselves as members of the government and overcharged businesses for documents or services that are optional but continued to be misrepresented by the defendants as mandatory by the state. GNA, Florida Corporate Filing Services and United Business Services sold optional certificates of status at a rate of $47 to $58, much higher than the government rate of $5 to $8.75 for the same products. The corporations deceived small businesses into believing the state mandated the purchase of the more expensive certificates of status to finalize registration with the state of Florida as a corporation or LLC. United Business Services also solicited payments of $125 for annual minutes that are not required by the state, and solicited payments of approximately $105 for Employee Law Posters that are optional and available for free at the United States Department of Labor’s website or various other locations.
To view the Federal Trade Commission’s release, click here.
To view Florida’s judgments against GNA Housekeeping, click here.
To view Florida’s judgments against United Business Services, click here.
Anyone who suspects unfair or deceptive business practices can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office at MyFloridaLegal.com or call 1(866) 9NO-SCAM