I recently began looking into various grants to assist me with my new business. I've had problems getting it off the ground for years now, but finally realized that I would be able to qualify for some grants to assist me in my quest to help others. My business helps those who struggle in this expensive area to find a home of their own.
I originally had gone through a grant writing course, and found it very difficult. While I learned some valuable lessons, I didn't feel quite prepared to do it myself just yet, so I came across Financial Solution Center online and it seemed like they would be perfect to help me with my first grant.
I went through the online process and spent much time talking to them on the phone, gave them my bank account information so they could charge a $299.95 processing/application fee and then I would receive a $50,000.00 small business grant in 30 days or less. Well, it never showed, but I was surely charged that fee.
When I went to my bank to inform them that Financial Solution Center charged me for a service they never came through on, I was told there was little I could do as I had not only given my permission to deduct the $299.95 from my account- but I had given them my financial information so it was quite possible that they could charge further things to my account.
Of course, unauthorized charges would be removed and credited to my account, but my financial institution was unwilling to do anything for authorized charges (even if the company failed to complete their end of the bargain).
Luck helped me keep my business afloat at the last minute, but it is admittedly frightening and unnerving to know that my information is in untrustworthy hands. It's further unnerving to know that there is very little that I can do about it to either get my money back or assurance that my information will not be used without my consent.
The only thing I can do is put my message out there (as I have found others have done), in hopes that it will help someone else.
Santa Rosa, California