It seems that companies today are willing to try anything to gain new business—including scare tactics. Small business owners can become victims of scams or fraud as a result. The labor law poster industry is no exception. Although there are many credible companies that provide a reliable labor law poster service—like Poster Compliance Center, of course!—there are a handful of less-than-scrupulous companies that use questionable tactics to scare businesses into spending their hard-earned money. These tactics have been around for quite some time, but have recently become more prevalent—we even wrote a blog on this topic two years ago! With the help of feedback from our loyal customers in our 27 years of business, we have compiled a list of red flags to look for the next time you suspect a labor law compliance scam. Moreover, you can learn how to distinguish the good guys from the bad.
You may have received one of these before. A letter or notice that may have the words “FINAL NOTICE” or “SUSPENSION OF COVERAGE” stamped across the top along with a payment submission form at the bottom. These official-looking mailers may say that you will face fines up to $17,000 or more if you do not purchase and post the mandatory labor law posters that are required by State and Federal governments.
Ignore them. These mailers are simply marketing materials used as bait in hopes of scamming small businesses into a web of never-ending sales pitches and phone calls. Unsuspecting victims who fall for this tactic sometimes find themselves ordering what seems to be a pretty good deal on a set of labor law posters. Shortly after, they are bombarded with threatening phone calls and pressure to buy more posters—some of which may not even be mandatory. What initially seems like a small investment for your business could quickly leave you $400 down the drain and with more posters than you know what to do with.
How’d They Find Me?
Ever wonder how your personal information was obtained in the first place? Here are the most commonly used methods you should know about:
- They purchased a list of newly opened businesses from your state registry.
- They purchased your information from another service provider you use, such as your internet service or magazine subscription.
- They partnered with a professional list vendor whose sole purpose is to buy and sell lists of contact information for marketing.
Some compliance scammers will sell your personal information so that they can make money off of your contact information, even if you decide not to purchase their posters. In fact, when buying and selling lists of personal information for marketing purposes, deceitful poster solicitors may target addresses and phone numbers of people who are not business owners or employers. Here’s a real example of a notice that was mailed to the home address of our employee’s retired father—keep in mind he has never owned a business!
Remember that if it looks fraudulent or questionable, it probably is. Frauds and scammers tend to omit certain information to avoid being traced. Look for these red flags before submitting any personal information or payments:
- No physical return address—just a P.O. Box
- No telephone number to contact a representative
- A non-corporate email address (i.e. Gmail, Yahoo!, Hotmail)
- A service fee or an up-charge for credit/debit card payments
Can I Report Them?
You may be wondering, “Isn’t this illegal?” Well, unfortunately, not always. If you look closely, you may be able to locate a disclaimer in fine print. Although it is illegal to impersonate a government entity, shoddy poster companies will mention that they are not affiliated with the government to avoid lawsuits. A disclaimer such as this would classify the mailer as a shady marketing tactic, rather than an illegal scam.
Unrelenting Phone Calls
Threatening mailers are often accompanied by threatening phone calls. If they already have your mailing address, chances are they have your phone number, too. Distasteful companies will often claim to be personnel from a government agency, such as the Department of Labor, calling to notify you that your small-to-medium business has posters that are out of compliance and that you must purchase new ones immediately or you will face hefty fines. DON’T BELIEVE IT! Government agencies do not sell posters. In fact, the issuing agencies provide posters on their websites that are free to download and print.
If Posters Are Free, Why Pay For Them?
A question we hear quite often is, “If I can obtain labor law notices for free from the internet, why would I purchase posters from a provider?” This is a fair question, indeed. Downloading posters off of the internet may seem like the most economical way to handle compliance at first glance. But here are some things to consider:
- The loss of time and labor spent searching for and printing required posters—trust us, this can take A LOT of time away from the bigger priorities of your business! This is especially true if your company has multiple locations, or employees that work on more than one floor in a building.
- The excessive amount of ink and paper that will be used to print posters. We all know how costly printer supplies can become—but did you know some notices are required to be printed on specific sizes and colors of paper? Others are required to be in colored ink, not just black & white.
- Printable posters can tear, fade, or get lost—thus you would need to replace them which would require additional ink and paper.
- The appearance of printable posters can make walls look unsightly and cluttered.
- The law requires some notices to be protected from altering or defacing. Certain industries require you to maintain cleanable surfaces—such as the food service industry or medical field. This means you’d have to spend time and money on laminating posters, or putting the notices behind glass.
- Unless you are tracking labor laws on a daily basis and posting new notices as soon as a mandatory change occurs, you could easily be out of compliance without knowing it.
- Your company could be held liable if the information you posted is not up-to-date or correct.
If all of the above sounds like a lot of responsibility and you’d rather spend time managing your business instead of your compliance, a trusted labor law poster provider may be for you.
How to Choose a Reliable Labor Law Poster Provider
We get it. You’ve been harassed and scared by dishonest poster companies in the past, but you could use some assistance in managing compliance. Here is what to look for when choosing a reliable labor law poster provider:
- No threatening mailers
- No bombarding phone calls
- Positive feedback on trusted websites such as Better Business Bureau and Yelp
- Amazing customer service with live compliance advisors and experts to assist you with your questions—no recordings or buttons to push
- A corporate services department with a dedicated account manager that can assist you if you are responsible for managing compliance for multiple locations
- Posters that include all mandatory notices for state, federal, city and county labor laws, plus helpful information on how to obtain any additional posting requirements, such as notices from your insurance company
- Posters that can be laminated at no additional cost, and Eco-friendly poster options
Choose a provider that offers an annual service for labor law posters that includes:
- Free automatic poster updates when there are mandatory changes
- FREE SHIPPING—Not just for your initial set of labor law posters, but any mandatory poster updates thereafter!
- A warranty that covers fines of up to $25,000 in case the posters are ever found to be out of compliance
- A coverage period of at least one full year, with a friendly reminder when your plan is set to expire
Poster Compliance Center’s OneSystem 1-Year Compliance Plan offers all of the above for one low cost. It’s the most reliable and most economical way to manage your company’s compliance. Consider all the time, money, and worry you will save yourself! And you can relax knowing that you will be in compliance for one full year. Understand that we are not just a poster company—we are your Compliance Partner. We promise to provide you with accurate information and to only contact you when there are mandatory changes that directly affect your compliance. No gimmicks. No threats. No unnecessary products. When you suspect a labor law poster scam, you will be able to disregard any threatening phone calls or letters. You’re covered on the OneSystem from Poster Compliance Center, your Compliance Partner!
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