The Iowa Attorney General’s office is asking a judge to force a Michigan company to cooperate with a consumer fraud investigation. Geoff Greenwood, a spokesman for the A-G’s office, says the company (Mandatory Poster Agency, Inc.) has done business in Iowa under several different names – selling posters that spell out labor laws.
“It’s a private company, but they make it sound like they’re a government entity,” Greenwood said. “We’re asking the company to comply with a consumer fraud investigation we’ve launched. The company has resisted our efforts. We’re asking a judge to force them to comply with our investigation.” The posters the company sells include information about the minimum wage, the Equal Opportunity Employment Act and more.
Greenwood says they are posters the government requires businesses to post, but they’re available for free from through the state labor office. “This company doesn’t tell them that. This company makes it sound like they’re a government entity, they have to have these posters and they’re selling them. That’s how they’re making money,” Greenwood said. The company has placed calls to Iowa businesses, churches, charities and schools.
Greenwood says it’s unclear how many may have purchased posters. “We’re not sure and that’s some of the information we’re looking for,” Greenwood said. “We’re concerned there are businesses across Iowa that may have been deceived into thinking that this is a government entity and they have to have these products the company is trying to sell them.”
The company has done business in Iowa under the names Iowa Labor Law Poster Service, Iowa Food Service Compliance Center and Iowa Healthcare Compliance Center. Greenwood said in some cases, mailed notices from the company appeared to threaten penalties – even jail – for failure to buy the company’s posters. The company has been the subject of law enforcement action in 23 states and by the U.S. government.