It took me a second to figure this one out, but it’s quite the scam. In short, if you register an LLC (and maybe other corporation types) in California, a company called “California Compliance Center” sends you an official-looking letter and bill for a supposed Certificate of Good Standing. Check out their seal as exhibit A:
The seal looks like it could be from a state government agency, right? Well, it most definitely is not. I wish I hadn’t shredded the letter and return envelope to first snap a photo, but they basically send you a bill which says that this is something you need to do. The bill amount is $49.95, though the amount due is $0. I’m no lawyer, but my guess is that’s probably how they keep it legal. They’re not telling you there’s an amount due, just a bill for what it costs.
I get so mad at these bottom-feeders who try to prey on unsuspecting new business owners by scanning the recent business registrations (it’s public record) and then sending them these official-looking letters. I’m pretty alert to this stuff and a quick Google search told me it’s a scam, but I’m sure lots of people forked over 50 bucks to get a worthless piece of paper from these jerks. This “certification” certifies nothing other than the fact that you got taken for a ride. It simply amazes me that people can live with themselves and run these types of businesses for seemingly good profit.
If you do need a certificate of good standing for a California corporation, you get this via the Secretary of State (SOS) website at this link: http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/be/information-requests.htm. Apparently these types of misleading business solicitations are pretty common, so common that it’s the first entry into an FAQ on the SOS website. If you do get ensnared by one of these scams, you can complain via this page: http://www.oag.ca.gov/contact/consumer-complaint-against-business-or-company.
I have some choice words for these guys that I’ve thus far restrained myself from typing.
Ok, I can’t any longer.