If you're an individual or small business owner considering signing a lease or finance agreement with LFCI beware, it may well be the worst mistake of your life!
I know this because it's been the worst mistake of a friend of mine.
In '07 he signed a finance agreement with a company called LFCI out of South Carolina and that began the worst ongoing nightmare anyone could ever experience. It may soon force him into bankruptcy at age 52 and cause him to lose every single thing he worked so hard for the last 32 years.
He was promised verbally by (what the evidence has proven to my satisfaction, the outright liars) at LFCI that his music recording gear would be owned by him free and clear at the end of the 60 months of payments. He paid the required first and last month's payment in advance and looked forward to using the gear, paying it off, and owning it.
But once he signed LFCI's financing agreement, they soon sold the contract to what I have come to realize is, in my mind, an extremely creepy, scary, totally unethical lease company called Pentech Funding, LLC in Los Gatos, California based at 240 E. Hacienda Ave,. Suite 100 Campbell, CA and originally branched off from Pentech Leasing who began to send him bills titled "lease payments" in spite of the fact he was sold a finance agreement, not a lease. I've read his contract and the contract clearly states "this is a financing agreement" the word "lease" does not appear on the contract and paragraph 5 as well as paragraph 6 both clearly state that he owns and the equipment, not the finance company, it states that that they are providing only financing for a finite term of 60 months of payments. I can verify, through the canceled checks he provided, that he has fully paid every dime.
Pentech Funding is a stand-alone branch of Pentech Leasing but beware, it has tentacles all over the U.S.A. solely designed, in my firm opinion, to ensnare their unwary victims: I have come to believe, by a preponderance of the evidence I've discovered, that they operate under various names, have several Pentech locations throughout the country, and have developed a feeder network of various independent leasing and finance companies who market loans and leases to the unsuspecting, then sell the loans to Pentech.
Based on my experience and beliefs, Pentech is as crooked as they come! Think Madoff, the mafia, Lou Pearlman and sociopathic murderer, Ted Bundy, combined. No decency, no conscience, ruthless. That's exactly how I look at Pentech and the employees I've encountered to date.
They tricked my friend, and from what I've surmised from researching this company, other victims, with cleverly designed fine print using sneaky tactics to cheat them as they near the end of their agreement. In my friend's case, what he didn't realize, was that in very tiny, about unreadable-to-the-naked-eye print is that he signed away his right to defend himself in any court case in his home state. He signed away what lawyers refer to as "the right to inconvenient forum." That's THE huge mistake.
I've dealt with many, many companies for financing contracts during my many years in business but in reviewing the documentation provided by my friend regarding what they're doing to him, Pentech, by far has proven itself to be the absolute worst and most unethical.
In my firm opinion, you would be better off to meet 50 armed loan sharks in a dark alley and borrow money from them than even spend one minute with this level of Pentech evil!
According to my friend's records, Pentech Funding LLC charged him unexplained fees that they refuse to detail or even return a call about, they refuse to give a loan balance/payments-to-date printout when he requested one, rarely return phone calls and threaten my friend, their victim, via attorney's letters if they start asking too many uncomfortable questions such as how his finance agreement that doesn't have the word lease anywhere on it became a lease, or why they just billed him for thousands of extra dollars with no explanation.
If you sign any type of lease or loan with L.F.C.I expect that it could be sold to or a similar loan/lease sharking operation and that may well start your worst nightmare too!
I know how bad you want that equipment but my strong advice is: walk away from Pentech Leasing, Pentech Funding, LFCI, any vendor in any way associated with , or any other lease, especially any out-of-state leasing company right now. Walk fast, walk strong, walk tall and don't look back no matter how "right" they make it seem upfront. In the end all those years of hard work with your equipment will be for absolutely nothing if you are forced to your knees in bankruptcy court with crushing debt you may well carry the rest of your life.
Sign anything with Pentech now or any of their numerous, affiliated companies and you may well regret it like you've never regretted anything before, as my friend does now!
Go to your local bank for a straight up loan or better, save up the cash! Never sign a document waiving your right to inconvenient forum! Read the fine print and have a lawyer review the docs, above all never sign a lease of any type! I believe most, if not all, leases are chock full of opportunities for scam artists pretending to be legitimate, large companies to have their way with you.
In February 2012 my friend called the point lady in the Pentech scheme, Minerva, as he knew his lease was nearly up and entering the final month of five years of payments totaling nearly $40,000 for that $25,000 worth of equipment. Listening in on an extension line as I documented the conversation, I heard Minerva give him a payoff quote and she called it exactly that - a final payment payoff amount. He asked her if that would pay off the agreement in full and that he would then be complete owner of the equipment and free to do what she wanted with the music gear. She replied, "Absolutely!" He paid it, it cleared the bank and a few weeks later "we" (he with me listening in and documenting) called to confirm that the loan was paid in full, at which point I heard Minerva say it was indeed paid in full. She assured him he'd receive proof of ownership "in a couple months".
He received two more bills from Pentech after payoff and brought them to me. "We" called Minerva again to ask why he was receiving them if his loan was paid in full. I heard her tell him, clear as a bell, that the extra bills were "nothing" just an accidental computer glitch. "Ignore them," she said, "I've corrected the problem and I promise you'll not receive another bill from us, just your ownership documents."
WHAT A LIAR MINERVA IS!
He never received the promised ownership papers and Minerva began ignoring all my friend's voice messages asking where they were. She wouldn't even answer the phone or return e-mails or phone calls asking where they were. 6 months later after the payoff he still has no papers.
But what he does have is a whopping bill that arrived about 6 months after the false payoff quote from Minerva. On 9-1-12, his birthday weekend he had planned with his seven year old daughter during her only birthday visitation he opened his mailbox to find a bill from Pentech Funding LLC Los Gatos, CA with a corporate office listing of Funding LCC 240 E Hacienda Ave. Suite 100. Campbell, CA 95032 for $3,428 includes $1,177.02 in "late charges and other fees". Needless to say, it thoroughly ruined the weekend with his seven year old daughter he had planned for half a year.
And now it is ruining his entire life.
I've seen the e-mails he sent to Minerva asking why he received that nearly $4,000 bill aftere she had assured him the loan was paid in full. He e-mailed the company officers, called Minerva several times and has received not a single response.
I began to research for him and found that others have had the exact same thing occur and can only conclude this may well be a scam that Pentech Funding has been running on other small business owners with equipment leases. One poor guy on this very site claims he was paid off his agreement serviced by Pentech in full, celebrated, and later received a bill for several times higher than the original purchase price of his gear.
Google " Pentech Leasing vs." as well as " Pentech Funding vs." "Pentech Scam" and whatever else you can think of and you'll find the tip of an iceberg of court cases Pentech lawyers file in states that make getting to court nearly impossible for the defendant. And the fact most state "defendant not present" I'm guessing they likely pull the old lawyer's trick of asking the court to reschedule if the defendant does travel and shows. Until the one time the defendant can't travel, then they proceed because they automatically win if the defendant is not present in court. None of the defendants in the cases I found were present for court. Read the line items in the court orders- in one you'll see that billed a guy $20,000 for a bad check charge! It sure appears they have the defendant trapped like a rat, know it, and want to rub in just how arrogant they can be as they absorb the entire life earnings of another victim.
I'll update with the steps that happen as this nightmare moves forward. I sure hope I'm wrong and can update with a positive wrapup saying I'm wrong about Pentech but my fear, based on my extensive research, is that the scam appears to work this way:
Once the chosen victim's loan or lease is "paid in full" they simply keep billing, adding every charge they can think of- bogus fees, lawyer fees, etc,- to quickly get to about $150,000 owed (on gear that originally cost not a third of that!) then they sue in California court getting a continuance (rescheduled date) if you show up to defend, moving forward the first time their victim fail to show up, get a court order giving them the equipment back and the right to repo it, as well as a $120,000 to $200,000 judgment against the victim that accrues interest until paid in full.
Then I'm guessing the victim's local sheriff's office office gets an order to seize the victim's possessions to satisfy the judgment. What amount isn't satisfied by that seizure continues to be owed and continues to accrue interest. If this is indeed the game they play it's a scam that may provide a great lifestyle for the founder of Pentech Funding, probably Pentech Leasing and the founder's minions of lawyers and workers. Unfortunately, unless I'm totally wrong about them, it appears to leave their customer victims not just without the gear they paid for they expected would make a better life for themselves and their family, but also bankrupt, penniless and in some cases, such as my friend, crushed, elderly, hopeless and homeless.
My bottom line advice on any lease or loan having anything to do with anything with the word attached is:
STAY OUT OF THE CLUTCHES OF WHAT MY FRIEND APPEARS TO BE LEARNING THE HARD WAY: PENTECH FUNDING LLC CAN ONLY BE VIEWED AS A THOROUGHLY EVIL COMPANY!
I'm sure they'll sue me for this report, but unlike my friend, I have never signed anything with them, still retain my right to inconvenient forum and have a right guaranteed by the constitution to tell the truth about a company. We have docs, canceled checks, phone conversations and agreements to verify every word above stored in my office as well as various other places online and off and will gladly forward copies of the same to anyone who requests copies. I look forward to a lawsuit here in my home state actually as it will give me plenty of additional fodder to post more of the ugly truth about Pentech and about every one of it's independent reps, at various places on the Internet. In the meantime, don't worry, I'll continue posting for my friend all over the Internet and sending press releases to every newspaper, TV and radio station in the U.S. to warn their viewers and readers, hoping to shame Pentech into doing right by my friend and give me a reason to write a happier ending.
If you're a believer, do please pray for my friend!
P.S. So far I've enlisted the help of about 600 Facebook friends and growing to soon help begin spreading the truth about Pentech Funding LCC, and if you'd like to join the party exposing what so far appears to be a corporate vampire, feel free to copy/paste the above article and send it in the form of a press release to your local media and local businesses (Small, local businesses appear to be their favorite targets). Also, do all you can to detect the local lease and finance companies who deal with Pentech and expose exactly what may occur to anyone who signs anything with them.