Legal Slimy Marketing

by Bob Poole on September 8, 2010

I got a mailing the other day. You can see a photo of it here. It’s a self-mailer letter and envelope that has the following in bold type:

PENNSYLVANIA BUSINESSES
INSIDE:  11 FEDERAL AND PENNSYLVANIA
REGULATIONS AFFECTING YOUR EMPLOYEES
IMMEDIATE RESPONSE REQUESTED

It also has an image of the state of PA and at the bottom of the envelope the words:

Compliance Update
2010

The date is in the same typeface as you see on your IRS 1040 form. Inside you are greeted with more bold type and the title of UPDATE NOTICE – 2010. The small type then goes on to explain that as an employer in Perkasie, PA, The Poole Consulting Group LLC must ensure compliance with revised 2010 labor law posting requirements and replace any outdated notices.

The mailing isn’t from the state of Pennsylvania or the federal government which is what the graphics and wording want you to believe. The company that sends them out is Personnel Concepts in Ontario, CA. Their return envelope is even addressed to Compliance Service Department.

Don’t you just love the word compliance? Personnel Concepts hopes you’ll be compliant, scan the document quickly and send them your credit card order for $15.90 or $25.90 dependent upon your desire for the laminated or unlaminated version.

If you do a search on Personnel Concepts you’ll find plenty of complaints. You’ll also find comments by someone by the name of Anonymous supporting the company and a rebuttal on a Ripoff Report from the company that states:

“Personnel Concepts has always informed consumers the posters they advertise are available from the government for free. If one chooses, they may read only one side of the mailer received, but it’s recommended they read both sides.”

That’s correct – all the stuff they sell to businesses is free from the government. And, they do say it on the letter I got. It’s in gray type on a gray background on the back side of the address piece of the envelope. That’s the side that usually gets tossed in the trash when you disassemble the self-mailer.

Is their marketing legal? As far as I can tell. In fact they say, “Our business nor our services and products are fraudulent. In fact, all of our products are attorney reviewed…”

Legal but absolutely slimy!

The mailings are meant to mislead and take advantage of the busy and uniformed. I’m sure many small business owners send them the money when they could get the same things for free. They’ll tell you they are providing business owners with a great service. But when an owner realizes they have been duped (even though it is only a few bucks) they will respond the way one customer put it in his posting:

“They may or may not have a good product but they have lost me as a customer with this sleazy low life marketing. If they indeed have such valuable products and services they would never need to stoop to such practices as other schemers on the Internet. Just makes you question if they are trustworthy or not, I say not. Once they loose enough customers they will change the deceptive marketing strategy that they currently employ.

If that were only the way it turns out. My guess is this is so profitable all the slime in the world won’t change they way they do business.

Oh, and by the way. My company doesn’t have any employees.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jodi Kaplan September 12, 2010 at 8:14 am

Gack! Reminds me of those domain name notices that make it look like your site is expiring any second. Apparently, they send those stupid things all over the world.

Bob Poole September 13, 2010 at 9:41 am

Hi Jodi – Yes! Same kind of idea. In my opinion this one is even worse as it really does look like a legal notice from a government entity.

Fred Gibson August 24, 2012 at 10:43 am

Thank you, I got one and was curious, so I looked them up. Not satisfied, I scrolled down and found you. The material is currently being shredded. I’m the only employee.

Bob Poole August 24, 2012 at 10:45 am

They are the worst and so close to being illegal. And, the sad part is that it must be profitable for them as they keep on doing it.

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