WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Eric Lowenhaupt, DDS travels the world educating other dentists. After 20 years of business, his company was put in jeopardy.
"The state of Florida is now dissolving my corporation for failure to file my annual report," said Lowenhaupt.
Lowenhaupt usually files his own annual report. The last time, he went to Florida Incorporator's website after responding to a postcard in the mail.
"Their entire modis operandi appears to me to be that they're trying to make this look as close to a Tallahassee company," said Lowenhaupt.
The fees were double what he's used to paying, but he paid them assuming the fees went up. Lowenhaupt didn't realize he paid a company not affiliated with the state, until the state told him it was dissolving his corporation.
"The thing that was most discouraging was the fact that nobody actually seemed to care. It was just like well you got taken sorry," said Lowenhaupt.
Lowenhaupt had to pay the state $750 to get his company back in good standing, and he says he can't get answers from the company he paid.
"Any attempts to contact them are met with failure. There's no response to emails. There's no response to phone calls. No response to messages that are left," said Lowenhaupt.
Lowenhaupt's receipt shows Florida Incorporator processed his order for a company called Online Filings.
We contacted Florida Incorporator and were told Lowenhaupt used Online Filings, and the company would contact us.
We've never heard from Online Filings. According to state records, there are connections between the two companies.
The Florida Attorney General received 39 complaints about Florida Incorporator and 12 about Online Filings. (A previous version of this story had different complaints due to a clerical error at the Attorney General's office.)
I guess you have to be sure you know who you are paying online," said Lowenhaupt.
It's been a thousand dollar lesson for Lowenhaupt.
There are many companies not affiliated with that state that offer to file all sorts of state paperwork for businesses, but the Department of State has a warning on its website and on their emails to not be misled by similar websites.