IDC Servco to cease doing business in Georgia and pay $150K in restitution
ATLANTA, GA – John Sours, Administrator of the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection (“GOCP”), today announced that California-based office supply company G.N.M. Financial Services, Inc. d/b/a IDC Servco and Mytel International, Inc. (“IDC Servco”), and principal officer Gilbert Michaels, have entered into a settlement requiring them to pay $150,000 in restitution and $20,000 in penalties and investigative expenses to resolve allegations of unfair and deceptive practices in violation of the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act.
Georgia customers complained that they received calls from IDC Servco indicating that the company was their normal office supplier and encouraging them to order ink and toner immediately because an imminent price increase was planned. In fact, IDC Servco was not the customers’ normal office supplier and the planned “price increase” was allegedly just an attempt to create a false sense of urgency.
The GOCP investigation culminated in a settlement under which IDC Servco is required to refrain from falsely representing, directly or through its employees, agents, affiliated entities, or independent sales companies, to any current or potential Georgia customers that IDC Servco is associated in any way with the office supplier(s) with whom those persons have or have had an established business relationship. The settlement further requires IDC Servco to cease conducting office supply-related business in Georgia and to pay a $10,000 civil penalty and $10,000 in investigative and legal expenses. In addition, it must pay $150,000 to the State as a restitution trust fund for issuing refunds to eligible customers.
“We want our Georgia businesses to thrive and grow,” says John Sours, Administrator of the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection. “These types of practices hurt legitimate businesses’ bottom line. We hope this action will deter other companies from using deceptive marketing tactics.”
Those who believe they may be entitled to compensation under the settlement can fill out a claim form and submit it to GOCP, along with supporting documentation. Claim forms must be postmarked, faxed or hand-delivered no later than 5:00 p.m. EDT on April 12, 2014 in order to be considered for restitution.
In order to be eligible for restitution, the claim must meet the following requirements:
- The claim must involve a transaction with Georgia customers in which IDC Servco and/or others acting on their behalf, at their direction, or under a contractual arrangement with the company either marketed, sold, shipped, invoiced, or collected upon orders for office supplies during all or part of the time period between October 1, 2010 and December 13, 2013;
- the complaint must relate to an office supply transaction in which IDC Servco accepted orders when it knew or should have known that customers were under the false impression that that company was its normal office supplier, and/or continued to ship supplies and/or send invoices after receiving complaints regarding the misrepresentation; and
- the complainant must have suffered a verifiable out-of-pocket (monetary) loss.
Filing a Claim
Merchants or consumers can download a claim form here. Completed claims, along with supporting documentation, should be faxed to the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection at 404-651-9018 or sent via mail or overnight delivery, or hand-delivered, to:
Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection
Attn: IDC Servco Restitution Program
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE
Atlanta, GA 30334-9077
Claims must be postmarked or faxed no later than 5:00 p.m. EDT on April 12, 2014.