Owner-operator services fraud case part of sweep by FTC, BBB

A lawsuit filed in 2016 against an owner-operator business services group was part of an initiative by the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau to target companies allegedly defrauding small businesses, the FTC and the Better Business Bureau announced this month.

The “Operation Main Street: Stopping Small Business Scams” initiative also involved eight state attorneys general and other enforcement partners. The announcement included 24 actions involving defendants who allegedly perpetrated small-business scams.

FTC’s October 2016 litigation came against companies DOTAuthority.com, DOTfilings.com, Excelsior Enterprises and JPL Enterprises and their proprietors James P. Lamb and Uliana Bogash. The companies settled the lawsuit in March, with Excelsior paying $900,000 to resolve the FTC’s complaint.

FTC accused the companies of using deceptive and fraudulent sales tactics to bilk owner-operators out of millions of dollars for registration services such as United Carrier Registration. Lamb says the companies engaged in “aggressive sales tactics,” but no fraudulent activity.

Lamb responded to the Main Street announcement that “there is quite a pattern of FTC abuse of the little guy,” pointing to cases other than his as an example.

Owner-operators defrauded by the companies may be eligible to receive payments from the $900,000 fund, as determined by the FTC and a federal court.

Citing unsatisfactory responses to consumer complaints, the Better Business Bureau chapter in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, gives its lowest rating, F, to DOTAuthority.com and DOTNumber.us, operated by Excelsior Enterprises. The Commack, N.Y., BBB also gives DOTauthority.com an F.

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