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Oregon warns small business owners of fake state fee demand

The Attorney General's office has received at least 15 complaints about this over the last few weeks regarding the notices.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Three different consumer protection agencies are warning small business owners about an official looking notice showing up in mailboxes all over Oregon.

The notice from Workplace Compliance Services charges businesses $175 to register with the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office.

The form lists a $100 state fee and a $75 registration fee noting if the business doesn’t file, it may be as risk for penalties.

The company appears to have a Salem address.

Veterinarian, Dr. Heidi Shafford, received a bill and almost paid it.

“It has all of my business information, barcodes and important follow instructions,” Shafford said.

But when Dr. Shafford’s administrator searched the company, she found alerts about the company from at least two states.

In Oregon, while you do have to pay the state a $100 fee to register your business, there is no processing fee and state officials told KGW investigates it takes just a few minutes to fill out the forms.

The Attorney General’s office has received at least 15 complaints about this over the last few weeks regarding the notices.

Small business owners have also complained to the Portland Better Business Bureau.

“You don’t need to pay money to have these forms filled out, you can do it yourself right on-line,” said Stephen Mayer with the Portland BBB. “The Secretary of State issued an alert as well, so we’re trying to get the word out.”

The Salem address listed on the form is a UPS store.

Workplace Compliance said via email in part:

“We offer a service to assist businesses to meet annual filing requirements. We are one of many types of companies that offer these services. Other examples include lawyers, accountants, and similar business professionals. We are disappointed that these States have issued unnecessary alerts that are based upon incomplete and inaccurate information about our company. Our services are fully guaranteed. If any customer is dissatisfied with the service they received, the amount paid to us is refundable. The overwhelming majority of our customers are completely satisfied with our services and are pleased to have our assistance in meeting the annual filing requirements.”

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