The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

August 17, 2013

$125 fee raised red flags

Pricey solicitation not legally required, New Berlin official says

NEW BERLIN — When Diane Lengle, with the New Berlin Heritage Association, received an Annual Corporate Records Form from the Corporate Records Service in the mail, she filled it out.

The form didn’t ask for much — just the name of each stockholder, all members of the board of directors and a list of any corporate officers.

But then Lengle saw a request to include a $125 fee.

“I looked in our files and the only time we have had to (list) all our officers, etc., is for tax and charitable status reports,” Lengle said.

There is also one called the Decennial Report of Continued Existence, sent every 10 years, for the Corporation Bureau, state of Pennsylvania, Lengle said.  

“I realized this was not something legal, required by the state or federal agencies,” she said. “Is it a scam — or a service offered without much of a disclaimer?”

It’s definitely a service being offered, but whether it’s a scam depends on what you consider to be a scam.

If you pay for something but get nothing, then this isn’t exactly a scam.

Corporate Records Service is providing a service — providing a permanent records document — for a fee.

However, the service it is providing is “something you can do yourself,” said Lewisburg attorney Peter L. Matson.

The forms can easily be found on the Department of State’s website.

But you don’t even need to do that either.

None of the information being requested by Corporate Records Service is required to be filed with the Department of State or the Secretary of the Commonwealth, according to wwwdos.state.pa.us.

What exactly is Corporate Records Service, 6059 Allentown Boulevard No. 904, Harrisburg, providing for $125?

A call to their offices — (888) 408-0886 — didn’t reveal much  information. The phone was answered by a man identifying himself at Carlos Izzo. For $125 and the submitted form, “You will a record of your meeting minutes,” he said. “We are cheaper than having an attorney do it.”

When told an attorney is not needed and that the forms are not required by the state, Izzo did not reply.

How many returned forms, with $125 payments, has the company been receiving?

“We’ve gotten thousands of orders,” Izzo said.

On the instruction letter Lengle received, at the bottom, it does offer this disclaimer: “The preparation of annual corporate records does not satisfy the requirement to file the annual report required by Pennsylvania law” and that “the annual report and instructions may be found online.”

After admitting “thousands” have already paid for documents from Corporate Records, Izzo did say that those receiving the form “are not obligated to use our services.”

If you receive this request from Corporate Records Service, throw it away.

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