HARRISBURG – The Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection has reached a settlement with Mandatory Poster Agency, Inc, of Michigan, and its president, Thomas Fata, resolving complaints about deceptive marketing practices.
Attorney General Tom Corbett said that the Mandatory Poster Agency, Inc., sent out direct mailings soliciting labor law posters using the names “Pennsylvania Labor Law Poster Service” and “The Pennsylvania Food Service Compliance Center.” These mailings included a business logo which looked similar to a government style crest, and they described state and federal penalties for failure to comply with labor law posting requirements.
Corbett said that these tactics were allegedly either designed to or had a tendency to convey that Mandatory Poster was either a government agency or was affiliated with a government agency and that “Pennsylvania Labor Law Poster Service” and “The Pennsylvania Food Service Compliance Center,” were merely fictitious names used by Mandatory Poster Inc., which operated out of Michigan.
“Mandatory Poster sold labor law compliance posters, which certain types of employers are required, by law, to display, and they used language that suggested that they are affiliated with, or part of, a state agency,” said Corbett. “However, Mandatory Poster is not a government agency. The posters that employers are required to display can be obtained from federal and state labor agencies at no cost.”
According to the AVC, Mandatory Poster’s disclosure which indicates that “Posters may also be available free from the government agencies” was not sufficiently clear and conspicuous.
Corbett said that the consumer protection settlement filed today requires that Mandatory Poster:
Refrain from engaging in conduct which causes confusion about their status as a government entity.
Refrain from misrepresenting the characteristics, uses and benefits of their goods and services.
Pay $10,000 in civil penalties and another $10,000 for future public protection and educational purposes.
Offer refunds to the more than 400 businesses that purchased a food service compliance poster.
The agreement also calls for a $10,000 penalty if Mandatory Poster does not comply with the terms of the settlement.
Corbett noted that Mandatory Poster operated nationally and other states have also either brought formal legal action or issued consumer advisories regarding their conduct.
The investigation revealed that more than 10,000 labor law posters and hundreds of food service posters were sold to PA businesses.
The AVC was filed today in Commonwealth Court by Deputy Attorney General Jodi L. Zucco of the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.