Sigh. Where to begin? The past couple of weeks I’ve been trying to handle all of the paperwork to get Medium Monster up, running, and legit. I used our Filipino tax guy to register the name, Employer Identification Number, and all that fun stuff, but I keep getting letters in the mail from different companies - all of which say Remit Payment Immediately to avoid $250 penalty and suspension of our company. I was worried that some of these were going to be scams since all anybody seems to do nowadays is to rip people off, but the notices seemed pretty legit and professional. The first one from Business Filings Division for Statement of Information even had a California stamp at the top. Not that a California stamp means anything, but matched with the warning I got suckered in. In fact, here is it word for word: Failure to comply with the Necessary Filing will cause the Entity to be assessed Penalties, Fines and SUSPENSION. Should the Entity become SUSPENDED, you will not have the right to conduct business, your Entity name could be taken, losing your Corporate Existence will have many negative ramifications.
Sounded pretty serious and convincing to me so of course I wrote the check for $239, filled out the form, and mailed it in right away. A week later I got another form in the mail from Board of Business Center with the same warning and asking for $175. I was like, damn what’s up with all these filing fees? I figure I should pay them since the warning was also prominent on this one and it had our company information including the LLC number. I had already filled out the check, but thought something was weird when I was writing the notes on it - Statement of Information. Strange because I had already filled out a form and cut a check to the Secretary of State for $20 then the same thing for the Business Filings Division, but for a lot more. That’s when I saw the fine print at the very bottom under the warnings again about fines and suspensions if we didn’t pay on time. California B&P Code: 17533.6 this product or service has not been approved or endorsed by any government agency and this offer is not being made by an agency of the government. 39&30001 (D) this is a salutation for the order of service. And not a bill, invoice, or statement due. No obligation to make any payments; unless you accept this offer. Just a bit confusing since there are warnings at the top and bottom of the form so I decided to look it up on Google.
There isn’t much information about this on the actual State of California website, though I did find a blog by Megan Hughe on the TaxLoophole.com page that talked about how these companies were total scams and whatnot. Apparently, the first $20 that I paid directly to the Secretary of State was all that I needed. All the forms and payments from other companies after were scams. They pay the $20 filing fee, which I already did, and keep the remainder as a service charge. Ugh. Why do they allow these companies to exist just to rip people off? I tried logging onto our bank account to see if the check had been deposited and cleared already, but it was a pain in the ass since Washington Mutual is now Chase, but not in California yet. Or is it? I have a Chase card that we got at Chase bank, but my Chase bank statement says to log onto WaMu’s website. Not confusing enough, thanks, guys and girls. Finally I decided to go old school and call in, but the Indian guy at the other line pulled up my personal checking account information despite the fact that I gave him our business account number. Wow. Is this my life now? I got transferred to another lady and she told me that the check had already been paid out. Bummer. Live and learn I guess. At some point in time I’ll forgive myself for slipping, but not anytime soon. Also, sorry to my business partner Will Roegge, for costing us a meaningless $239 that could have paid for about 10 lunches for both of us. I’ll make it up on the next deal we close. I just hope that karma will strike down on everyone involved with these scam companies. Not sure what would be worse, though. The company and every employee going bankrupt or eternal pink eye for all of them that isn’t contagious to anyone that isn’t tied to the company. I guess I’ll let the karma gods decide on that. I’m just giving them some suggestions. So if you’re starting a company, learn from my mistake and always read the fine print. Ugh. I’m sick of getting scammed. Tally: Scamming Companies-2 RikDaddy-0.