Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office filed a complaint on Nov. 5, 2014 against an Oldsmar, Florida-based company allegedly misleading small businesses by claiming to be the U.S. General Services Administration or implying a government affiliation to offer a five-year GSA contract.
Federal Verification Co, Inc., doing business as GSA Applications, conducts business through more than 60 business names and more than 50 websites. The company and manager of the businesses, James Dale Sprecher, allegedly used telemarketing to solicit small businesses and guarantee them a GSA contract within a short time frame, 90 days to six months, for an upfront fee ranging typically from $5,000 to $8,000.
A GSA contract allows a business to sell goods and services to the federal government at pre-negotiated pricing.
The Florida Attorney General’s Office reportedly received more than 200 complaints about the defendants’ unfair business practices.
The Complaint alleges violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. According to the complaint the company allegedly:
- Makes false and misleading representations as to the likelihood of a customer successfully obtaining a GSA contract, including assuring the business that it qualifies for a five-year to 20-year GSA contract award;
- Makes false and misleading representations assuring government-guaranteed minimum revenues upon a contract award and a 100 percent guaranteed return on investment;
- Unfairly collects advance fees, up to $10,000, from customers before services begin; and
- Enrolls customers without diligent review of their circumstances, adequate disclosure of requirements pertaining to the customer or its products or services, or regard for the customer’s meaningful probability or being awarded a GSA contract.
More details on the company’s alleged practices can be found in a copy of the Florida Attorney General’s complaint which is posted here: http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/KCAN-9QKLP3/$file/GSAComplaint.pdf