There is a scam happening in WA state where new LLCs and businesses are being targeted. So much so that the WA Secretary of State has a warning for it.
If you have recently created a LLC in the state of Washington, its likely you would have received a notice in your mail to get a certificate of existence. The letter looks super official, so much so that my friend who received it thought it was a Government notice. The certificate is sent by
WA Certificate Service, 1420 Marvin Road NE, Suite C – #348, Lacer, WA 98516. I am attaching a copy of the notice you receive in the mail with the fake deadline as well.
The notice from WA Certificate Service is very official looking but demands $82.50 for this service. This certificate is routinely available for only $20 from the state and is needed only in limited circumstances.
My friend was super confused about this extra fee and a little bit of research guided me to the page here on the secretary of state’s page. It seems like this company is scraping new business data and then sending them this letter which almost looks like a demand letter asking to pay $82.50. It has a deadline just to make it look like its a fee that must be paid. It is likely thousands of people are falling victim to this notice thinking its another required fee to be paid.
The notice on the SoS site states:
If you receive one of these letters for a Certificate of Status order, please do your research. If you have any questions about ordering an actual Certificate of Existence feel free to contact our office at 360-725-0377, by email firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting the contact us link from our website www.sos.wa.gov/corps
If you received this notice, we recommend you trash it and report it to the SoS.
Just made a video around tips to save on car insurance and how to ensure you are always paying your best rate.
Here are the tips from the video summarized:
Tip 1 – Go out and Quote!!! – Quote every 3 months, no such thing as over quoting. Insurance companies will return back pro-rated refunds to you.
Tip 2 – Insurance Brokers – If insurance seems too much of a hassle use insurance brokers and ask them to shop around for you.
Tip 3 – Credit Reports and Car Insurance – Your credit report not only affects the credit cards you can get and your mortgage rate but also your insurance rate. Keep credit utilization low and available credit high.
Tip 4 – Review your coverage – Do you really need personal injury protection if you have medical insurance, do you really need uninsured property damage if you have comprehensive coverage?
Tip 5 – Claims and your rate – Be very careful about claims and what might be considered a claim. Some companies will tout free roadside assistance but then ding you for using it (Allstate which offers Tmobile SyncUp device roadside assistance did that).
Bonus Tip – Bundle!!! – Almost all insurance companies will allow you to bundle your rates. Use it. I bundle my car insurance, rental insurance and umbrella from the same company for maximum savings.
Hopefully you found these tips useful. Dont forget to checkout my video, like, share, comment and subscribe!
A few weeks ago my Sonicare toothbrush went kaput. Looking to find a replacement, i saw a seller selling the handle for cheap on Ebay. Since Ebay guarantees purchases, it seemed to be a good deal. I ordered the sonicare toothbrush from this seller who seemed to be some kind of a distributor.
Anatomy of The Fraud
When I received the sonicare toothbrush from Ebay, I was shocked to see that it was shipped by Philips directly. I was sure I bought it off a random account and the Paypal transaction showed me it was a middle aged person on the Easy coast.
However the proof of the fraud was in the package itself. It had a warranty claim with my name on it. Looks like the seller files a fake warranty claim in the name of the buyer stealing their identity.
Ebay is useless (and so is Philips USA)
Despite alerting Ebay to this scam, Ebay has taken no action against the seller. It did have to refund my money as the seller was probably scared that I exposed their scam.
I also alerted Philips to the scam who took some time to find a good team and then just decided to let the seller use their systems and scam others.
Since the identity theft seems to continue and eBay is not doing anything, I have filed a complaint with the State Attorney General so that they have to respond.
I have too many thoughts about this company and their performance in my portfolio. Today I finally decided to pen some of them down.
First of all, Kickfurther is not a scam, its a company with a skewed business model. As I will explain below, as an investor you are the worst off in the equation, between the company, Kickfurther and you, you are the one that is most likely to lose money in my experience, especially if you keep investing. The POs, guarantees, UCC Liens mean nothing when shit hits the fan and you lose your entire principal.
The business model is quite simple, you fund inventory for companies, companies sell through the inventory. Kickfurther takes two cuts, once at disbursement to the company and once during withdrawal. Note that there is some conjecture here in my business model paragraph since I have not seen the actual agreements and I have got to know that Kickfurther itself invested in at least one co-op.
Recently, a good majority of the last few companies I have invested in have not paid back.
The risk I did not expect
However its all part of the risk you would say, right? Well, its not so simple. The risk most investors including me signed up for is the risk of inventory not selling out. However in my experience, many companies actually sell off inventory and then refuse to pay back.
The model in my opinion encourages such “scams” for the lack of a better word by these companies. No action is taken against these companies by Kickfurther until buyers vote no confidence against this company. Usually a 50% threshold is required to make a co-op as cancelled. So many bad co-ops were not getting cancelled that Kickfurther has now pro-actively started doing affirmative votes. That’s actually one of the only steps where I think Kickfurther is working for investors in these unfortunate situations.
What happens when a company defaults? In my experience, you often times don’t get anything back. Kickfurther has stated that they have no obligation to sue the companies who refuse to pay. They end up sending the companies to a collection agency. These collection agencies in my experience end up with little success so investors have to write off their loss while Kickfurther has made their money and move onto the next company.
Kickfurther just hides the companies that don’t pay so its hard for you to figure out what’s happening overall on the platform, they often quote some research numbers but its of little solace to investors who are facing losses.
Example Failures – Kickfurther is broken!
Lets take a few examples of what happened (again its what is visible to me as an investor in these companies, reddit is a good source to see other egregious stories of scammers using Kickfurther including a case wherein the CEO Sean Clerq had to issue an apology).
Company 1 – This company is super popular on the web for their equipment. I invested in it looking at its presence and almost certainty that it would sell through the inventory. It did, however the company initially denied any liability, then got onto a payment plan with a bulk payment at the end and then defaulted on that payment. This company is still active but they owe hundreds of thousands of dollars to investors.
Company 2 – This company also seemed to have a decent web footprint, after selling through, the company shared how their payment would be a month late. After that they stopped updating and sent no response to Kickfurther. Guess what a few months later, this company sold all of its assets but not the liabilities (Wink wink). According to LinkedIn, all execs of the company quit. Kickfurther knew about the sale and despite being a creditor claims that it had no right to interfere in the sale. The collection agency is still collecting against the old company which actually may not even have assets. This incident is what broke the camel’s back for me. Its the first time I actually think I am sure Kickfurther does not give a damn about me as an investor. All detective work here was done by investors and Kickfurther had not even shared the sale information.
And these are just 2 examples, there are a lot of other examples wherein the company just didn’t pay even after selling the inventory and Kickfurther’s updates are only about collection agencies collecting against them. In many cases I have seen the companies continue to sell other things.
The model is inherently broken for individual investors, as Kickfurther has no incentive to get the money back if a company refuses to pay. The 1.5% withdrawal fee is a pittance against what would be required to get a judgement on a company. Despite the horrible recent performance new companies continue to get funded in days which shows me this hide the bad performers model is working.
So what’s the moral of the story?
If its too good to be true, it probably is. I don’t have the heart to do full math on my losses on the Kickfurther (yet) platform, but its significant with the 1.5% withdrawal fee and the companies I think would be permanent defaulters. I also have no clue on why these are not considered equity and under the SEC. I plan to ask the SEC that.
Be Prepared to lose your principal. Investment Rating:
One of the reasons I am writing this is that sites like Trustpilot are flooded by experiences of companies who were able to get money via the platform and hence leave 5 star reviews. If I were to fathom a guess, I would say Kickfurther solicits reviews from these companies just due to the regularity with which these companies are posting on Trustpilot.
As I write this, I have thousands of dollars pending on the platform, keeping my fingers crossed for a Christmas miracle but not holding my breath.
My car is one of my most prized possessions, after my house its also my most expensive possession. One car accessory that is an absolute must have for every car enthusiast is a dash camera. Its an essential accessory for insurance purposes and in general if you love your car.
I used to have the Roadhawk camera for quite some time. However with time I was getting more and more annoyed with the extra set of wires and how it didn’t merge into the interior of my car. The long wires looked super shabby and I didnt like the fact that it took over my cigarette lighter slot.
At that time I discovered that BMW had a dash camera system: the BMW Advanced Eye 2.0 camera. Not much was known about this camera on the Internet.
At the time I was thinking about buying it, no one in my car dealership had heard about it. The accessory shop was ready to order it but was asking for close to $1000 to install it. Mainly because BMW of Bellevue had no clue on how to install it. Its a pretty shitty dealership but there are only a handful in Western Washington.
Anyway, the camera proposition seemed to be great. It was BMW branded which meant it was covered by the car warranty. It would connect directly to the car systems and it would look sleek and fit into my interior. I ordered the camera from an out of state dealership which gave me a great discount and got it installed by a local shop Zahntech. They did it for 30% of BMW of Bellevue’s cost.
Build quality for the camera is surprisingly solid. The wires hide pretty well into the car when well installed and the functionality of parking mode and general move works pretty well.
Overall no complaints with respect to build quality. Even in super hot and super cold weather the camera worked perfectly.
As someone who works in software development, i am embarrassed that BMW felt it was ok to ship the Advanced Eye 2.0 application. The application is perhaps one of the most frustrating I have ever used in my life. That would explain why the application has 1.1 rating on the Apple Itunes App store.
Why you ask? Where do I even start? The UI is un-intuitive, the application and interface to the camera is buggy and updates are few and far between. I remember spending close to 60 mins configuring the app for the first time.
One of the features that should work the best, video downloading often hangs, the device uses modal popups to share simple messages to the user. Its almost impossible to use the application and to be honest i would rather just take the SD card out and use it. Unfortunately there isnt a native way to see the rear camera view when you do that.
There is a Windows app that is also published for this camera but that also didnt work for me. I am shocked that BMW endorsed such a shitty product.
If you can get over all the software hangups and still want to give it a try. Here is a sample video for you.
Video quality is nothing to write home about. There are always random glitches present in the video where the image would gray out for a split second or so. Again poor quality hardware plus software.
That is right, dont waste your money on the BMW Advanced Eye 2.0 camera, you will do better to get other more conventional options than relying on the BMW Advanced Eye 2.0 camera system. Its a cheap system with a lot of functional gaps and not so great video quality.
When I contacted BMW around issues with the camera they asked me to talk to the dealer, the dealers dont even know about this camera. So BMW is letting its customers bear the brunt of this poor product.