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Local business owner warning of costly solicitation

Posted at 9:02 PM, Feb 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-15 21:05:24-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — At A Couple of Gals Hair Salon in West Palm Beach you'll find Joanne Jaimedes doing what she loves.

"Kickback, Key West style, place to get your hair done," Jaimedes said.

Jaimedes says she's styled hair for more than 40 years and in 2005 she opened up her own shop.

She's in charge of her day to day operations and just like normal, she got an email reminding her it was time to renew her license with Secretary of State's office.

"I noticed on the email it was time to submit my year-end report," she said.

The email was from SunBiz.org the state's official page for small businesses to submit their business renewal form. But a few days later Joanne received another email with a similar message.

"That it was time to renew the text of the message was identical, identical and telling me if I failed to register there was a non-negotiable and non-refundable $400 dollar fee," she said.

The hairstylist says she knew something wasn't right when she saw the cost of renewal had more than tripled.

"With that amount of money for the renewal, I was just like "oh hell no," she said.

Over at the Better Business Bureau, Arthur Forster says stories like this are something they're hearing more of.

"They're going to use words like compliance, registration, annual," he said.

Forster says he too owns a small business and has received similar mail.

"If you look down at the bottom it says right here in very fine print this is a non-government organization," he said.

He says though it may be unethical it is not illegal and some go as far as listing a contact address in Tallahassee. He says to avoid losing on hundreds or even thousands, look for the official SunBiz title and always read the fine print.