WASHINGTON — Small-business owners are complaining about a host of scams, high fees and abusive marketing tactics related to federally guaranteed loan programs, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Inspector General reports.
One of the complaints involves firms charging small businesses high fees to provide assistance in applying for SBA loans. The firms imply that the applicants will receive the loan if the fee is paid. SBA says it does not endorse or give preference to specific private companies or their clients.
The SBA also warns of firms offering assistance and asking for the applicant’s bank account and routing information, and then charging for services never requested.
Small businesses are urged to ask for references when selecting service providers. Always establish and document potential charges, date of the charges, what they must do, and what services will be received, the SBA suggests.
Free assistance with SBA programs is available at www.sba.gov. To report any “misrepresentation” of SBA loan programs, call 800-767-0385.