August 2016: A federal judge granted final approval of a settlement of this lawsuit. According to the settlement terms, class members may receive up to 10% of their total purchase price for an Employment Identification Number (EIN). In addition, the company agreed to revise the disclaimers to be in at least 14-point font, a darker color that contrasts with the website’s background, and expressly state that an EIN can be obtained for free from the IRS. Additionally, the company agreed to include its corporate name and address on SS4 forms submitted to the IRS on behalf of its customers and only process EIN applications with a customers’ signature.

January 2015: class-action lawsuit was filed against GovSimplified LLC (a company that purports to streamline government application processes) for allegedly deceptively representing that it is a government website and charging consumers for services they can receive for free elsewhere. The complaint, which was transferred to federal court in February 2015, alleges that the company’s website is deceptive in several ways, including that the company uses a URL that makes consumers think the website is affiliated with the government, makes the website look like a government website in layout and appearance, and uses hard-to-read disclaimers on its website. According to the complaint, the named plaintiff purchased an IRS Employment Identification Number (EIN) through GovSimplified when she actually could have received an EIN for free directly from the government. (O’Brien et al v. GovSimplified LLC, Case No. 15-cv-20702, S. D. FL.).

 


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