I am currently in the process of trying to start a new business to provide a Taxi service in Downtown Charleston using Global Electric Motorcars. I recently came to a point where I needed to register with S.C. as an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) and register for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the IRS. Since I am no lawyer and I have no knowledge about these filings I decided to find out what I could online. I simply googled File LLC. Apparently there is an entire industry out there to SCAM YOU into PAYING FOR THESE FILINGS! Thanks Google! After dealing with what you are about to read I found you can file for an EIN for free with the IRS as well as file for an LLC for a flat state fee. It would be nice for Google to remove all online scams from their ad database and I write this complaint as an initial request.
Now, onto the Scam.
Using SimpleFilings.com LLC registration I found a form. After filling out this form I found an option to submit for $50. At the time I didn’t know any better so it sounded ok. After filling in banking information and clicking submit I immediately found a screen informing me that I had been charged $178. I immediately responded by emailing TaxID@SimpleFilings.com the following email.
During the creation of my submission I selected the $50 option to file my claim. I was then charged $178. This is not what I agreed to pay. Please contact me immediately at
<snip my phone number & order details>
The next day I received a response.
Good Morning Zane —
I’m afraid you misunderstood the selections available to you. Our minimum price for obtaining an EIN on our customer’s behalf is $128.00 After the initial Standard Service of $128, you have the option of selecting Expedited Service (24 hour return after receiving the signature form) for an additional $50, or Same Day Service after receiving the signature form for an additional $99. These services are only available after the minimum standard service of $128.00. Beings as your order is already completed and a number has been assigned effective immidiately I have requested that you be given a 50% discount on your order. Once the finance department has completed the refudn transaction they will send you the confirmation via email. Have a great da and please let us know if you have any additional questions.
Fine. $89. Not $50 but better then $178. I respond with.
Good deal. Thank you for your quick reply.
Everything was ok. I got my EIN number via email and I could move forward starting my business.
Then this email came.
Thank you for contacting us. As requested, your order has been canceled. A refund less our 50% processing fee has been issued for your order. When you initially completed your application, you were required to check a box agreeing to our terms and conditions on the information submission page, or the site would not have allowed you to continue to our payment page. A copy of that agreement, the returns and refunds section of our legal disclaimer and details of your refund are below.
REQUIRED AGREEMENT BEFORE SUBMITTING APPLICATION:
LIMITED MONEY BACK GUARANTEE
We are proud to offer our limited Money Back Guarantee. This offer is subject to the terms and conditions set forth herein depending upon the particular service requested. Essentially, as long as you cancel your order before our work is completed we will refund your money less a fee for services already rendered. The specific details of this guarantee are as follows for each service.
a. EIN Obtaining Service
Where an SS4 form has been prepared by Hermeris and provided to you for your signature, we will refund your total payment less a fifty dollar ($50.00) document processing fee, as long as the signed document has not yet been received by Hermeris for filing. Once we receive your signed document there will be no refund granted, although, if we receive your request to stop the filing before we have submitted it to the IRS, the filing may still be cancelled.
b. DBA Registration Service and LLC/Corporation Formation Service
Where Hermeris has begun processing the order but not yet completed document preparation, we will refund your total payment less a fifty dollar ($50.00) document processing fee. Where Hermeris has completed document preparation but has not yet obtained your signature (or has not yet submitted the filing if your signature is not required) we will refund your total payment less a one hundred dollar ($100.00) document processing fee. Once we receive your signed documents and/or submit your filing to the appropriate government entity, there will be no refund granted, although, if we receive your request to stop the filing before we have submitted it to the appropriate government entity, the filing may still be cancelled.
c. All Services
Under no circumstances will there be any refund of any filing fees, publication fees or shipping fees incurred by Hermeris in relation to any assignment. There are no refunds for any assignment related to the contract template, toll-free forwarding, domain name registration, website development, or website hosting services.
Hermeris reserves the right to alter, change, amend or delete fees at its sole option. Hermeris further reserves the right to institute new services and charge fees in association with the provision of such new services as it deems appropriate. Hermeris reserves the right to offer subsequent promotional rates which may or may not be more favorable than the terms under which you entered this agreement. Any such periodic special rates shall not effect the then existing rights and responsibilities of each party.
Payment of Fees – Hermeris accepts payment by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express), and by personal check, cashiers check, electronic check, money order, and PayPal. In addition, Hermeris may from time to time allow additional forms of payment however the offering of a particular form of payment does not obligate Hermeris to continue to offer that form of payment in the future. The current list of payment options will be displayed during the order process. If you have any questions concerning the current available payment options, you may email us at email@example.com.
You have sent a partial refund to Zane.
Refunded 50% of order.
* Buyer: Zane
* Buyer’s Email:
* Original Transaction Date: Aug. 21, 2008
* Original Transaction ID: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
* Refund Amount: $89.00 USD
* Refund Transaction ID: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Ok. Time to do some research.
Start with the Better Business Bureau. I find via google (I guess we take the good with the bad) that the company behind SimpleFilings.com is Hermeris inc. Check out there Better Business Bureau report. Unsatisfactory. Expected.
Next I check out Google a little longer.
Now we are talking.
Time for my response.
I recently looked up your company on the Better Business Bureau’s webpage.
Name: Hermeris inc.
Phone: (866) 659-5241
Address: 4049 Pennsylvania, suite 100
Kansas city, – 64111
File Open Date: April 2008
TOB Classification: Internet Advertising & Marketing Services
BBB Accreditation: This company is not a BBB Accredited business.
I also found out that I am able to file as an LLC online with irs.gov.
Knowing these two things has made me very angry. If you do not file my form at the $89.00 you have charged me I will begin taking immediate action on your company with the BBB AND the Federal Trade Commission. I will file a complaint showing that your company is doing fraudulent business and is guilty of identity theft (who knows what a fraudulent company like yours is doing with my information. I have already found evidence that you sell this data to advertisement firms). This will in effect bring a Federal investigation of your corporation which I believe is due. Finally I will also join the folks on ripoffreport.com and warn the American public of your fraudulent nature.
Hermeris Inc has 48 hours to comply.
After sending this email I called the IRS and found that my LLC submission was in fact submitted. This leaves me nothing to do attack the Scammers. Please spread the word and help notify everyone that forming an LLC is free. Also help by notifying Google.com that supporting Scammers through Ad Sense is not acceptable. If Google.com wants to keep there name clean they need to support the consumers, not the Scammers.
Letter sent to Google Adwords Support
I recently used google to attempt to find information on filing an LLC. Not only did Google not fwd me to irs.gov but Google promoted a scam artist using ad words to the front page.
I wrote a full review about what happened to me on my blog here :
I will be submitting a complaint against google with the Better Business Bureau if I do not receive some notice from Google that indicates that they are working to remove simplefilings.com and other similar scam artists from Google AdWords. If Google continues to Peddle these scam artists online I will make sure the Google brand reflects the dirt they push.
I also left a message with Google New York
76 9th Avenue, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10011
View Location Map
Eric Schmidt, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Additional Phone Numbers:
Type of Business:
Internet Services, Internet Marketing Services
Update: I wrote this in 2008 and still get regular comments every day. BEFORE YOU COMMENT HERE IF YOU HAD A BAD EXPERIENCE WITH THIS COMPANY FILE A REPORT WITH THE BBB. THIS COMPANY HAS AN “A” RATING!!!
Response received from SimpleFilings.com
We want to reach out to you regarding the blog postings and reader comments about our company SimpleFilings.com, which are located at http://supportreview.wordpress.com/2008/08/25/simplefilingscom-scam/ and http://www.zaneperry.com/wp/google-adwords-promotes-scam-artists/.
We do our best every day to please our customers, to try to earn their repeat business, and to make whatever service they choose (LLC formation, DBA registration, EIN filing, tax extension, etc.) simply as easy and trouble-free as possible for them. We strive to differentiate ourselves from our larger competitors such as LegalZoom.com and MyCorporation.com by focusing on providing convenience, accuracy, speed, and support. By far the majority of our customers are pleased with our services. However sometimes customers are unhappy, which is true of course of any business. When that happens, we try to make it right.
Our concern is that many of the comments and postings on your blog regarding our website are untrue. For example, there are comments claiming that our website is not secure, that we sell data, or that in some way people need to be worried about identity theft. Those statements are now and always have been false. We take the privacy, integrity, and security of customer data very seriously. You can review some of our practices related to that here: http://www.simplefilings.com/security_practice.php.
Other comments left by multiple readers suggest that we are less than forthcoming about the nature of our services or our pricing. I would ask you to please return to our website to see for yourself: http://www.SimpleFilings.com. Pages dedicated to each service can be accessed from the green drop-menus at the top of the page. Read our company bio at http://www.simplefilings.com/aboutus.php. Search our FAQs at http://www.simplefilings.com/faq.php. See our Customer Help page at http://www.simplefilings.com/customerhelp.php. Even view our checkout page.
To summarize the information on our site, we have always been secure, and never take data over non-secured pages. Our code is scanned and intrusion tested daily by McAfee Secure. We never have, and never will sell or share customer data. We regularly purge much of the data from our databases that is not required by law to keep. We are an authorized IRS e-file Provider, which required us to pass fingerprinting and FBI background checks. Our business practices and contact information are entirely up front and transparent. We never take any steps to prevent anyone from learning about our company or contacting us. We want anyone who has a problem or complaint about our services to contact us, so that we can attempt to resolve their issue.
We are worried that some of the inaccurate comments on your blog could create unnecessary fear and anxiety among your readers. One reader mentioned fear of her identity being stolen, and that she is now paying fees to credit bureaus each month to create security alerts on her credit files. This is an unfortunate situation for a customer due to mis-information that is entirely avoidable.
We are reaching out to you in hopes of correcting this kind of reaction. Perhaps we can best serve your readers by working with you to post prominent links to our Customer Help page, http://www.simplefilings.com/customerhelp.php, and our phone number, 866-305-2702, at the top and bottom of your page. We respond to e-mails 7 days a week, and answer calls 5 days a week. Customers can request a refund or whatever else they need and receive real, direct support for their question or concern.
We hope you will consider this in order to prevent undue stress for anyone reading the postings. To be clear, we are not asking or even hinting at any suppression of honest reviews or criticism. We are not requesting any positive endorsement of us. We are simply requesting a way for people who read the inaccurate postings to have a way to contact us to receive support, before they spend time and money worrying that their identity has been compromised, for example. We take the trust of our users very seriously.
Best wishes, and thank you for your time and attention.
The SimpleFilings Team