Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ventura County DA is investigating....

The Ventura County District Attorney's Office is conducting an investigation into the business practices of Ladco Leasing, Inc. ("Ladco"), of Thousand Oaks, California. The investigation could result in a civil prosecution by our office in which we would seek injunctive relief, penalties and restitution to victims of any unlawful or unfair practices committed by Ladco. Ladco was involved in the business of leasing equipment credit-card swiping terminals to small businesses. If you or your business was a party to a lease with Ladco, we request that you please call Christine Mitchell of the Ventura County District Attorney's Office at 805/662-1731. Thank you for your assistance in this matter.


Christine Mitchell
Senior Paralegal
Ventura County District Attorney
Special Prosecutions Division
5720 Ralston Street, #300
Ventura, CA 93003

805/662-1731 Christine.Mitchell@ventura.org

Friday, June 3, 2011

MerchantScams website

http://www.merchantscams.com/

The group of people who are fighting Ladco Leasing continues to grow. One member of the group has documented his own story at the above link. He has also done a huge amount of research, which he shares here as well.  It is an invaluable resource for anyone who is being ripped off by Ladco Leasing or by some other consumer-unfriendly company.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Unconscionability

UNCONSCIONABILITY


The Doctrine of Unconscionability, section 2-302 of the Uniform Commercial Code, is protection for the little guy against grossly unfair contract terms set out by the big guys.


Unconscionability, by definition, is an amoral, unscrupulous action.  In contract law, it refers to an agreement so grossly unfair as to be shocking to the conscience.

A defense against the enforcement of a contract or portion of a contract.  If a contract is unfair or oppressive to one party in a way that suggests abuses during its formation, a court may find it unconscionable and refuse to enforce it.  A contract is most likely to be found unconscionable if both unfair bargaining and unfair substantive terms are shown. An absence of meaningful choice by the disadvantaged party is often used to prove unfair bargaining. 
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary

In contract law an unconscionable contract is one that is unjust or extremely one-sided in favor of the person who has the superior bargaining power. An unconscionable contract may take advantage of the little guy's ignorance or lack of bargaining power.  It usually involves the use of a pre-printed form contract offering no option except to “take-it-or-leave-it.”  Contractual provisions that indicate gross one-sidedness in favor of the seller include provisions that limit damages against the seller, limit the rights of the purchaser to seek court relief against the seller, or set limitations on a warranty.   Deliberate misrepresentation of fact also constitutes unconscionable conduct.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ladco Leasing Class Action

There is a growing number of victims of Ladco Leasing's immoral business practices.
I too have been a victim, but somehow I managed to free myself from their clutches.
Here is an account of what I did, following numerous phone calls, one of which ended with the Ladco guy telling me to "have a nice day" after reminding me that the lease I had signed was "irrevocable."
 
On the morning of August 24, 2010, I received a phone call from an agent at Ladco Leasing,
informing me that the auto-draft to my bank account did not go through. This was, of course, not unexpected, as I had my account  frozen to prevent any further drafts.   She wanted to know how I planned to deal with the remainder of my uncancellable 3-year lease with Ladco for equipment rental.
 
"I have no equipment," I said.  She said "Oh, software," and put me on hold. She came back and informed me that buy-out amount for the remaining 28 weeks of the lease was $1383.17.
 
I responded that this was  outrageous and unreasonable, and that there should be more acceptable terms for buy-out.  Yes, I realize I signed the 3-year lease.   But my business situation  had recently changed, and I decided it would be better to move to a bank with more business services to offer, including an in-house merchant services department.   Elavon's contract included an early-termination clause.  Why wouldn't Ladco Leasing have a similar clause?   

The Ladco agent was authorized to give me 30% discount, or a new buy-out amount of $968.22.  After much discussion and argument, I asked to speak to someone higher up.
 
She passed my call to Cathy  who reiterated that I needed to “return the equipment.” Again, I replied, "I don't have any equipment."   She said, "Oh, software," and put me on hold for a minute.  (Why do I smell a rat here? I thought.)  

She came to the phone; her offer was $961.30 which could be split into 2 payments, and gave me till 5:00 PM the next day to make the payment. Otherwise, she would turn it over to 3rd party collections.

I decided to write a letter to the bank where I had a business account. They had, after all, referred me to Elavon, parent company of Ladco Leasing, when I requested merchant services for my business account.  I hand delivered the letter to the bank's area manager. Here's the link to that letter: 
https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=18j7-5bNYIdQyoVCR2paHMYQ3cf-1t-WLh8Rt4HG-LT0

I'm going to skip some of the play-by-play details for now.
I wrote a follow-up letter to the bank on September 8, 2010. https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1PdwEDU5vG9qx3kFRGXmOknc8MjvrxmFj-DAzcTr2yH0

After hearing nothing from the bank or from Ladco, on November 18, 2010 I decided to call Ladco Leasing; I spoke with Stephanie and asked her to give me “status of the account.”

She said “The vendor paid us back and it’s closed.” I asked her what she meant by "vendor."
 
She said the vendor was Elavon, and that "Elavon purchased it back and as far as Ladco is concerned, the account is closed out.”

"Thank you," I replied,  "that’s just what I needed to hear."  Hung up the phone and whooped it up.

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I have no idea what transpired between SunTrust, Elavon and Ladco.  I've had no further contact with SunTrust bank since I closed the account there.  I don't know if SunTrust paid them off, or whether their legal department pulled strings or what.  I'll try to find out.
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In the meantime, I have continued to research contract law and unconscionability.
To be continued.......