A Florida-based financial services company has been banned from doing business in Kansas until it cooperates with the attorney general’s investigation into its business practices, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced today.
In a lawsuit filed in Shawnee County District Court last month, Schmidt accused Financial Help Services, Inc. of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., of violating the Kansas Credit Services Organization Act and the Kansas Consumer Protection Act while operating in Kansas. The lawsuit accuses the company of advertising and providing debt management services to Kansas consumers without a license and of charging Kansas consumers a price that grossly exceeded the price at which similar services were readily obtainable from licensed credit services organizations.
The investigation stemmed from a notification in late 2014 from the Better Business Bureau in Florida, which had received complaints from Kansas consumers who had done business with the defendant. The complaints alleged that the defendant had withdrawn money from consumers’ bank accounts but failed to remit those funds to the consumers’ creditors in a timely manner. At least one other Kansas consumer filed a similar complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
District Judge Rebecca Crotty yesterday entered a temporary restraining order prohibiting the company from operating in Kansas pending the outcome of the case. The attorney general is seeking civil penalties, investigative fees and restitution for all affected Kansas consumers.
Any Kansas consumers who may have done business with this company are asked to contact the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division at (800) 432-2310 or online at www.InYourCornerKansas.org .