PHOENIX - Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced today his office obtained a consent judgment against Mandatory Poster Agency, Inc. and its owners, for sending government “Annual Minutes” lookalike mailers. The judgment resolves a 2015 consumer fraud lawsuit filed against the business. Mandatory Poster also agreed to pay $175,500 in restitution to Arizona businesses who responded to the 2013 “Annual Minutes Requirement Statement” solicitation.
“Every Arizona business who responded to the mailer will have the opportunity to receive a full refund,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “Scamming businesses with phony government lookalike notices is unacceptable. These types of scam mailers will not be tolerated in Arizona and our office will take aggressive legal action to stop them.”
The Michigan-based Mandatory Poster Agency, which operated in Arizona under the unregistered trade name “Corporate Records Service,” sent nearly 65,000 deceptive solicitations to Arizona businesses in 2013, instructing that each business pay $125 to fulfill its “Annual Minutes Requirement.” Nearly 1,700 businesses responded. A Maricopa County Superior Court found that the official-looking mailer gave the deceptive impression that it was sent by a government agency and that responding and paying $125 was required. The Court rejected the argument that disclaimers in the mailer cured its deceptiveness.
The consent judgment entered with Mandatory Poster Agency, Inc., requires the company and its owners to pay consumers $175,500 in restitution and another $125,000 to the State in civil penalties. In addition, it requires them to reimburse the State $100,000 in attorneys’ fees. The judgment also bars Mandatory Poster from mailing the “Annual Minutes Requirement Statement” or any other deceptive mailer to Arizona businesses. Mandatory Poster will be subject to civil penalties of up to $25,000 per violation should it violate the consent judgment.
It is important to note that the Arizona Corporation Commission does have an “Annual Report” requirement that Arizona businesses must comply with. The ACC Corporations Division can be contacted at (602) 542-3026 or 1-800-345-5819 (in Arizona only).
The Attorney General’s Office is in the process of contacting Arizona consumers who are believed to be eligible for a restitution payment in connection with this settlement. Anyone who responded to the “Annual Records Requirement Solicitation” who has not received a refund is eligible for restitution if they respond to notice that will be sent out by the Attorney General’s Office. Consumers can contact the Attorney General’s Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6504, or outside the metro areas at (800) 352-8431. Bilingual consumer protection staff is available to assist. Consumers can also file complaints online by visiting the Attorney General’s website at https://www.azag.gov/complaints/consumer.
Assistant Attorneys General Beau Roysden and Mitchell Allee handled this case.
Sample mailers are pictured below: