20 states have taken action against a Michigan company accused of misleading small business owners

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For more than 20 years, businesses across the country have gotten letters in the mail asking them to buy administrative goods and services, such as labor posters or corporate records.

Attorneys general have targeted the mailings for years, raising concerns that they look like they’re from the government and that those optional purchases seem mandatory. But businesses who pay for these services are actually sending their money to companies that trace back to three Michigan brothers: Joseph, Steven and Thomas Fata.

So who are these brothers? What makes this business model tick? Is it a marketing innovation, or deceptive as some attorneys general have claimed? Follow along as MLive gets to the bottom of it in Mandatory, a new investigative podcast.

The brothers, through their attorneys, declined comment for this story.

Attorneys general and their consumer protection units have taken issue with the tactics of the initial company, Mandatory Poster Agency,…

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