Two companies that marketed a grant-matching program online and via direct mail and classified ads have agreed to pay $296,000 to settle a federal deception complaint, the Federal Trade Commission said yesterday.
Grant Search Inc., Ashland, OR, and Grant Pac Inc., Sedalia, MO, purported to assist consumers in obtaining grants for a fee and, for an additional fee, apply for the grants on behalf of the consumer, according to the FTC. But the companies gave consumers outdated lists of nonprofit organizations and general information on applying for grants, the FTC said.
Grant Search and Grant Pac also offered consumers a 100 percent money-back guarantee but failed to fully disclose the conditions upon which consumers could obtain the refund, the FTC said.
Along with the payment, which will be used to compensate consumers who paid money to the companies, Grant Search, Grant Pac and their principals agreed to a ban from the marketing of grant-matching services. The FTC charged the companies as part of its Operation No Credit financial fraud sweep in August 2002.