AUGUST 21, 2019
Small business owners who may have been duped by deceptive advertising by DOTAuthority.com may get some small relief. The Federal Trade Commission has ordered the company to issue refunds totaling more than $750,000.
On Monday, Aug. 19, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it is sending checks totaling $757,946 to nearly 15,000 small businesses that paid DOTAuthority.com service fees for commercial vehicle registrations. The FTC found that the website used deceptive advertising and practices.
James P. Lamb, Uliana Bogash, DOTAuthority.com Inc., DOTFilings.com Inc., Excelsior Enterprises International Inc. and JPL Enterprises International Inc. all have been found to have violated the FTC Act and the Restore Online Shoppers Confidence Act.
According to an FTC complaint, DOTAuthority sent thousands of small businesses misleading messages that implied it was affiliated with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Unified Carrier Registration system or another government agency. DOTAuthority used official-sounding names and law enforcement threats, the complaint said. As a result, the complaint said DOTAuthority tricked the businesses into using their services and failed to disclose the fees.
An FTC settlement with DOTAuthority includes a $900,000 judgment. The commission has already sent out one round of checks totaling nearly $90,000.
Those who believe they should receive a refund but have not can call the refund administrator, Rust Consulting, at 866-303-8537. Average refund checks are approximately $50. Once received, checks should be deposited or cashed within 60 days.