Benchmark Financial Group / Unfair and Fraudulent Business Practice
I am a physician in NJ. I own a medical spa and I decided to purchase a medical laser from a vendor that referred me to an Aliso Viejo Company called Benchmark Financial Group that does funding for small businesses for equipment purchase. After submitting the initial application, I was told by Mike Franke, the representative I dealt, with that I was approved. I sent them a check for $1608 which included first and last month's payment as well as a $300 document fee. After 45 days of being told by Mike that the paperwork would come through and the funding would be completed, I learned last week that the funding has not been approved. In addition, I have not received my deposit check despite being told that my money would be refunded.
I decided to do a little homework on the company which I should have done prior to trying to obtain finance. They have an "F" rating on the Better Business Bureau Website as well as over 80 complaints with similar stories to mine. I am a small business owner and I rely on the any capital to survive in this economy. What this company is doing is engaging in unfair practices and taking advantage of many people who are following their dreams. While ultimately the loss will not lead to my demise, I feel out of principle that other consumers need to be protected. I have notified the DAs office, but I feel the media can get the story out much quicker and prevent other people from suffering. The DAs office is inundated with many claims and therefore the media is my only recourse. The primary objective is to shed some light on an unscrupulous practice and alert other potential consumers.
I have proof and correspondences from Mike Franke substantiating my claims. I have also included an excerpt for the company from the BBB website.
Some complainants allege the company fails to fund equipment leases and does not honor the original terms and conditions of the lease agreement. Complainants indicate the company offers a pre-approved equipment lease and requires an advance deposit. However, after sending the required deposit, complainants report the interest rate, length of term or payment amount changes, or the company is unable to fund the lease at all. Complainants request refunds, however, some complain the company only refunds a portion of their initial deposit. The company generally responds to complaints by indicating the customer was approved for and executed the lease agreement, and by stating that the terms of the lease did not significantly change. The company states complainants decided not to continue with the lease funding after they were approved and states they are willing to apply any deposits received towards future funding. In some cases, the company indicates the complainant was unable to be approved for financing or by referring to the terms of the contract which states the deposits are non-refundable. The company responds to other complaints by issuing refunds.
The CEO of the company is Marcus Davin and the name is Benchmark Financial Group in Aliso Viejo. I hope you will investigate this story and prevent other consumers from making the same mistake I did