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Virginia Biz Law Blog

Sign deception directed at businesses – don’t take the bait

Posted by Bernard Dietz | Jun 09, 2007 | 0 Comments

The Richmond Times Dispatch has an article regarding a Michigan company that was sending food service businesses around the country an official-looking notice concerning the need for proper hand washing signs for employees and offering to sell such signs to the business.  Apparently, the notice was deceptively designed to scare business owners into buying signs from this company, even though such signs can be simply made or obtained for free from the government.  Several States took the company to court to force changes to the mailings and obtain refunds for misled customers.

When you start and run a business, you will receive mailings from official-looking sources that are, in my opinion, deceptive.  While I have not seen a mailing from the company mentioned in the article, I have seen several from companies selling labor posters (minimum wage requirements, FMLA, etc.) that try to appear as if they are coming from the government and offer to sell posters to the recipients.  While the mailings are sometimes accurate in that certain notices are required to be displayed, what the mailings fail to tell you is that you can obtain the correct posters for free from Virginia and the federal government.

If you have employees and are required to post labor notices, you can visit the Virginia Department of Labor website and review an explanation of which posters are required, how they must be displayed, and then download and print them, all for free.  The U.S. Department of Labor offers a similar service for required Federal law posters, which you can also review and download for free.

When you receive mailings purportedly from government agencies or departments you have never heard of with a request to purchase something, view them with skepticism and do your research before sending in your check.

About the Author

Bernard Dietz

Bernie Dietz is a Virginia lawyer and Virginia business attorney with more than 15 years of experience as both an attorney and a business executive, which gives him a unique view into the special needs of small to medium sized businesses. He has worked in business development, sales, and marketin...


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