- Internet & the Web
www.PersonnelConcepts.com Employee Law Poster SCAM
About the Letter You Received in the Mail
When I received this letter...THE FIRST TIME (They have began sending them on a harassing, annoying basis, which led me to writing this article), I thought the same as you - "Ugh, I owe yet ANOTHER $25 to the government" (If you own a business you're probably like me and feel like there isn't a day that goes by that you don't have some kind of bill or tax to pay).
So anyway, this letter shows up and it looks pretty official. The envelope says in GIANT letters:
INSIDE: 13 FEDERAL AND MICHIGAN
REGULATIONS AFFECTING YOUR EMPLOYEES
IMMEDIATE RESPONSE REQUESTED
My letter arrived in a standard looking envelope - just like the kind the city sends me to pay Personal Property Taxes and such. The combination of the formal looking bill and the term "COMPLIANCE SERVICE DEPARTMENT" made me think it was something I had to pay. Here's what my envelope looks like:
Immediately and Intentionally Confusing - Part 1
So I opened my letter right away and I find this "bill" (photo below):
The very first thing that jumps out to me is the 18 point font in bold that says "ALERT: You Must Post Revised Michigan & Federal Labor Law Notices"
To the far left of the letter is all of my accurate company information - my personal name, my company name, my company address, etc; the only thing left blank is my phone number and my business is listed as "general".
In the center of the letter is a list of Michigan Notices (employer laws / employee rights).
To the right of the letter is a list of Federal Notices.
Then, in more bold-face print, directly in the center of the letter it says "FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH POSTING REGULATIONS CAN LEAD TO FINES UP TO $17,000 (29 USC SEC.666(I) & (29 USC SEC. 2005). RETURN THIS FORM IN THE ENCLOSED ENVELOPE TO BRING YOUR BUSINESS INTO COMPLIANCE"
Immediately and Intentionally Confusing - Part 2
After you read the above, you're probably either a skeptic (hence the reason you're reading this article) or you're thinking "There goes another $25" - either way, something inspired you to look this up and good for you.
So the next confusing part of this letter is the section that asks for your credit card information and which signs you want to order...granted, this is made to look like a bill, so why on earth am I being asked which signs I want to order????
Then you flip the "bill" over and you see more confusion:
Immediately and Intentionally Confusing - Part 3
The back of this "bill" has a giant bold-print "UPDATE NOTICE - 2013" (which is the current year; thus making it look even more like a legitimate bill)
The back side then goes on to state your business information - which is accurate (thus adding to the "legitimacy" of this "bill"). There's more bold face print that makes words like "FEDERAL", "RECENT MANDATORY CHANGE", etc stand out.
Then there's a who paragraph of ramble about how their firm (Personnel Concepts) is such a huge help to businesses. BUT....
NOTHING on this letter states that these Labor Law Materials are FREE to businesses from the government. Simply go to Federal and State websites and download the posters... for free
The trick is, they continue to pull off this scam because they HAVE included the disclaimer in the trickiest place ever (see photo below):
The text to keep them out of legal trouble IS located on the backside of the PART OF THE MAILER THAT YOU THROW OUT. Not only is it the ONLY part of the letter that is printed in light gray, but it is also surrounded by matching gray "security print", and to top it off, the disclaimer is printed at the very bottom. If you can't find the fine print, its probably because you are like every other business owner and already threw out the top part (that they intentionally made into a throw-away piece of paper).
As a Graphic Designer, I Can Tell You This is a GREAT SCAM
The scam was designed beautifully. The bold face, large print is located in all the right places to "pop". The use of using my state image in combination with "MICHIGAN BUSINESS", "FEDERAL", and "IMMEDIATE RESPONSE REQUESTED", without a doubt got me to open the letter. The hiding of the disclaimer in light gray that matches the standard security print is genius.
The paper they chose to use and overall design also deserves recognition for their overall design of trickery.
So kudos to Personnel Concepts, a D.B.A of the company AIO Acquisition, INC.
Here's a link to view their Rip-Off Report Page for the Personnel Concepts Scam.
My Personal Comments to Personnel Concepts
If you want to sell your posters, then sell them, but don't waste my time. You know full well exactly what you are doing with your graphic design trickery.
Why not just send a NORMAL solicitation and photos of your product like everyone else does?
Every time you send me another solicitation I am going to write another article about it.
And Just for The Heck of It
Here's a photo of the "Return Envelope" -