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 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 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:  By clicking this checkbox, I agree to submit my information to this website.  I agree that filling out these fields acts as a signature agreeing to the Terms of Use linked from this page.  I hereby authorize Hermeris Inc. as a third party designee to submit my SS-4 form to the IRS, receive my EIN, and answer questions on my behalf.

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
You have sent a partial refund to Zane.

Refunded 50% of order.
Payment Details

* Buyer: Zane

* Buyer’s Email:
* Original Transaction Date: Aug. 21, 2008
* Original Transaction ID: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Refund Details
* 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 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.

Rating:  Unsatisfactory

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

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 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 that supporting Scammers through Ad Sense is not acceptable.  If 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 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 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
Phone Number:
(212) 565-0000
Additional Phone Numbers:
(650) 253-0000
(650) 253-0001

Fax Number:
(212) 565-0001
Type of Business:
Internet Services, Internet Marketing Services


Response received from

Mr. Perry,

We want to reach out to you regarding the blog postings and reader comments about our company, which are located at and

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 and 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:

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: Pages dedicated to each service can be accessed from the green drop-menus at the top of the page. Read our company bio at Search our FAQs at See our Customer Help page at 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,, 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



phone: 866-305-2702


Charleston Water System Online Payment

I recently received a letter from Charleston Water System telling me that I had a Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF) Check of: $94.56.  After investigating I found that Charleston Water System has a completely defunct online Payment System.  The following letter I wrote to them explains everything.

To whom it may concern,

Last month I tried to use your online bill pay system to pay my bill (account xxxxxx-xx-x) using my checking account.  After submitting my checking information I received a payment confirmation screen.  Last Friday I received a letter “Re: Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF) Check of: $94.56”.  This confused me because I have never had under $94.56 in my bank account since I have been in my new residence.  After calling my bank I discovered that no request for payment was received by my bank.  Eventually after signing back online I was able to identify that the problem was a missing 3 in the account number.  I have fixed this issue and paid the $94.56 and the $35.00 penalty fee (I was directed by phone support to pay in full and place a request for refund in an email online).  During this payment I noticed your payment system is missing several standard online payment safeguards that would have avoided this issue in the first place and I request a refund of $35.00 because of your failure to have these in place.  In particular you guys could simply have  a dual entry field for both routing number and account number.  This is where the user has to enter in the same number twice and checks to make sure both numbers are correct.  This will catch 99.99% of all user entry errors.  A final solution would be for you to verify payments online before accepting payment from an incorrect account number.  Every other online merchant that I have ever used has this in place.

If you fail to refund my $35.00 I will immediately begin taking action against Charleston Water System by filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.  Due to your “Unsatisfactory” rating with the Better Business Bureau I expect this threat doesn’t frighten you much.

Therefore if you continue to refuse to refund the $35.00 I have paid in penalty I will look into starting a class action lawsuit against Charleston Water System.  From the reaction I got from phone support the online payment issue seems to be an issue you guys are familiar with and it sounds like you are benefiting from your defunct payment system.  I highly recommend you refund my $35.00 and look to improve your online payment system.

I expect a response via email or phone from upper management to discuss this issue.

If anyone has been charged a penalty fee for this same issue please leave a comment and I will get back to you.


Charleston Water System I have been contacted and refunded the penalty charge.

Good Afternoon Zane,

We did have a seven day waiting period to verify account information but did away with it due to the abundance of customer complaints we received. I do want to apologize that your initial request to have the $35.00 fee waived wasn’t honored. I will be glad to remove this fee. Your next billing statement will reflect this adjustment.  Please feel free to contact me should you require additional assistance.

Thanks for writing and have a great evening.

Tamme’ Nathan
Contact Center Coordinator
Phone (843)727-6800  Fax (843)579-6688

Clean Water For Life!

I responded with

Good deal,  thank you Tamme

If you would like assistance setting up the dual entry method I would be glad to help.  A simple javascript would do it.  There is no reason not to have this and it would most likely remove all such entry errors.  If you would like me to explain to whoever created your site I would be happy to do so.

The way it works is the user enters the routing number and account number twice


Routing Number: <user input field>
Please Re-Enter Routing Number: <user input field>

Account Number: <user input field>
Please Re-Enter Account Number: <user input field>

If the user enters two different values for either the script would say “Error, your entries do not match.  Please try again”.

This will catch all “Fat Finger” errors where the user either missed a number or mis-keyed the numbers on their keyboard.  I am very surprised to see your site does not have this as it is pretty much standard on all financial transactions where Routing Numbers & Account Numbers are requested since there are so many numbers which increases the chance for error.

Thank you for your support & refund.