The Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) have sent warning letters to six companies that may be misleading small businesses seeking SBA loans as a result of the coronavirus 2019 pandemic.
The letters highlight claims by the companies that could lead consumers to believe the companies are affiliated with the SBA, or that that consumers can apply on their websites for loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or other programs authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
The letter to California-based TF Group, doing business as Taycor Financial, warns the company about claims on the website disasterloanassistance.com, which include using the official logo of the SBA, claiming to offer “COVID-19 SBA Loan Programs,” and inviting consumers to “Quick Apply.”
The letter to the operators of SBADisasterLoan.org warns the company about its claims to operate from the SBA’s address in Washington and to offer “SBA Lending experts” and “SBA Loan Officers” to small businesses.
The letter to California-based Small Business Advocates – Los Angeles, doing business as SBA Los Angeles, warns the company about its repeated uses of the terms “SBA Los Angeles” and “SBA LA” on its website and social media, as well as its claim to offer “SBA Loans.”
The letter to New York-based Madison Funding Partners, Inc. warns the company about claims that consumers could “Apply for the PPP Loan now” and “Get matched with a PPP lender now!”
The letter to Florida-based NYMBUS, Inc. warns the company about claims that its program “is able to process your SBA Paycheck Protection Loan faster than any other source” and that consumers can “Apply Now” on the company’s site.
The letter to New York-based USAFunding.com warns the company about claims that describe the PPP loan program and “encourage anyone interested to apply immediately,” inviting consumers to “APPLY NOW.”
The letters warn the recipients to take immediate action to ensure all deceptive claims are removed and to remediate any harm to small business consumers as a result of the claims. The letters also instruct the recipients to notify the FTC within 48 hours about the specific actions they have taken to address the agency’s concerns.
This is the second set of warning letters the FTC and SBA have sent to companies warning them about potentially misleading consumers about their affiliation with SBA. The first set was sent in May.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, stop deceptive and unfair business practices and scams, and educate consumers. Report fraud, scams, or bad business practices at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Get consumer advice at consumer.ftc.gov. Also, follow the FTC on social media, subscribe to press releases, and read the FTC’s blogs.