Nearly two years after a consumer protection lawsuit was filed against Atlantic Bonding Co. and its owner, Marc C. Zinman by Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett, the suit has been settled.
The lawsuit alleged violations of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law by Atlantic Bonding and Zinman for failing to provide, and in some cases, provide in an untimely manner, notary packages purchased by Pennsylvania notaries.
Some consumers’ notary commissions expired while waiting for the packages. When the consumers requested refunds, Atlantic Bonding failed to respond in a timely manner to refund requests.
Common Pleas Court, Civil Division, Philadelphia County, dictated the terms of the consent agreement with Atlantic Bonding and Zinman. The agreement requires that Atlantic Bonding:
- Is prohibited from violating the Consumer Protect Law
- Will state on all advertisements that properly completed applications for notary commissions will be mailed to the PA Department of State (DOS) within two business days of receipt from consumers; applications for renewal will be mailed to the DOS no sooner than six months prior to the notary’s commission expiration date
- Will state on all advertisements that properly completed renewal applications must be received by Atlantic Bonding from consumers no later than two months prior to the commission expiration date
- Will mail to the DOS all properly completed applications for notary commissions within two business days of receipt from consumers, with the exception of renewal applications
- Will notify consumers in writing within two business days of receipt of an early application that the application will be held until six months prior to the commission expiration date and then mailed to the DOS at that time
The court also determined how Atlantic Bonding will deal with consumers if the company could not honor its advertised statements regarding: delayed shipments, late commission applications, and consumer complaints.
Consumers who filed complaints against Atlantic Bonding will receive $468.50 in restitution. Civil penalties against Atlantic Bonding include $4,000 to be distributed to the Treasury Department, and $5,031.50 allocated to the Office of Attorney General for future public protection and educational purposes.