Policy Statement---Nothing is sent out that is not "fair." Always unbiased reporting. Fairness always. If it is questionable, we will ask the writer's permission to quote them. We will print information without attribution, but feel as long as we do not name the person who sent it, we can use the information.
Any information we think is suspicious, we try to have if substantiated first by at least two reliable people. We will not purposely send out "negative" news.
It is our policy to post all major corrections in the next earliest edition at the beginning of the news edition, highlighted in bold, and to make any major correction in the current “on line” news edition as early as possible. Typos such as wrong dates and name corrections are also corrected on line when noticed by the editor or reader(s), and if necessary, as determined by the editor, may be noted in the next edition as a “Clarification” or “Correction,” such as an email address or telephone number.
All press releases will be marked preceding and after with #### Press Release #### to note the article did not originate at leasing news.
All advertising traded for writing or for support will be so noted below the advertising.
Leasing News follows “The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law, ” Perseus Publishing, Cambridge, Massachusetts, plus “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White, MacMillan Publishing, Co., Inc.
It is our policy to post all major correction in the next earliest edition at the beginning of the news edition, highlighted in bold, and to make any major correction in the current on line news edition as early as possible. Typos such as wrong dates and name corrections are also corrected on line when noticed by the editor or readers, and if necessary, as determined by the editor, may be noted in the next edition on top of the start (before the Classified ad section) as a “Clarification” or “Correction.”
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We follow Internet Netiquette at all times. Our sole purpose is to provide communication to improve our profession. We reserve the right to deny sending the newsletter or purchase advertising when requested. We reserve the right to edit or delete an opinion that is not in good taste or is outright derogatory.
We prefer "positive" news. We have no "axe" to grind or are not paid or seek or accept any remuneration for product or promotion. We do not Spam anyone.
The Leasing News Advisory Board is chosen by the publisher. They are not financially compensated. They participate in the overall direction of our electronic newspaper. As stated earlier, and as per a “printed” newspaper procedure, it is the editor's sole discretion as to what is printed and not printed; not the board of directors or any advisory board.
American Leasing is a separate company than Leasing News and does not receive any remuneration or leads or business in any manner from Leasing News.
We may refer to a specific company, for instance, if they are looking for a captive vendor program, or niche equipment. If a broker looking for a funding source, we may make a referral, but never with any strings or benefit to American Leasing. American Leasing is a small lessor/broker doing business primarily in Silicon Valley. The company does not have a broker program or pay fees or referrals to a broker. We bend over backwards to keep both companies two distinct entities to avoid any journalist conflicts. American Leasing has been in a wind down mode for the last seven years.
Mr. Menkin sits on several board of directors and advisory boards. He has served as a “Leasing Expert” to attorneys as well as a consultant to vendors regarding finance and leasing. Should there be any conflict, it is so noted in the story. If there is a financial interest in the company, it is also so noted in the story as a disclaimer.
Major Policy Change 6/23/06
by Christopher Menkin, publisher
In a major policy decision, Leasing News now includes those companies with complaints and poor Better Business Bureau reports on all “business category” lists. Those who were also rejected from the mailing list are now invited to rejoin.
In the past, a company on the Leasing News Bulletin Board Complaint list was excluded, as well as companies with poor Better Business Bureau reports.
In changing this policy, all BBB reports and Leasing News Bulletin Board complaints will be included in the lists. Companies are invited to submit footnote comments on these reports, as well as other information about their company.
“Funders” such as Microfinancial/Leasecomm were originally not included, due to their poor BBB report. Those with recent Leasing News Complaints, such as Trident Leasing, San Jose, California, and American Equipment Financial, Warren, New Jersey would be removed. They now remain.
In addition, information from “The List” and recent news stores printed in Leasing News will also be available as follows:
BBB - Better Business Report
Readers also voted that those listed in the Complaint Bulletin Board
who resolve their complaint listed should be removed from the list.
In addition, Leasing News will use its best effort to remove the
complaint from the archive section. Should another complaint against the person or company be listed, the prior listing will be re-instated, as well as archive stories. In addition, it is Leasing News policy, should a person or company not resolve a complaint, all the prior complaints
Leasing News is the only equipment leasing trade publication with a vast archive section, which is also free. As with all “search engines,” the changing of words bring up different findings. In order to save readers time, the searches have already been loaded. For instance, run “Fin Pac,” you will find more pages on Financial Pacific than running its name. Readers also still have the ability to customize their searches, too.
“The List,” “ Mergers, Acquisitions and Changes,” has also been incorporated; to trade the evolution of the company since 1998 to the latest quarter of the current year.
The “why” was discussed with the Leasing News Advisory Board regarding this major policy change. One of the criteria that lead to the need for the change was the discovery of several companies already on the list who had developed unsatisfactory Better Business Bureau reports. It would then become a lot of mechanical work to re-check all those listed to keep up-to-date. In addition, companies who had been rejected, their BBB report may have improved. We found several, although it normally takes three years for the changes to occur.
Our original concept was that companies would keep us informed and want to be on the list, especially if we offered to include any information they wanted on the list in their “footnote.”
We considered it “free advertising.”
We had hoped by listing all the “good guys,” readers would question why the company they were seeking to find information on was not on the list. We learned they did not understand our concept.
On our Wednesday, June 21, anniversary I had hoped to include this major policy change, but we had not finished all the lists at that time ( in reality, they are an “on going” feature.) The points in the anniversary statement were: we listen to our readers, we are not afraid to experiment, try new things, and admit when we are wrong, change things when they were not working.
Readers, including consumers ((that is what leasing clients refer themselves as “consumers,” not lessees or businesses or even corporations (most are closely held who contacted us)), vendors, funders, and broker/lessors complained when they could not find companies on the list. They did not understand they were purposely left off. The fact that all are not listed, or there is incomplete information on the list, led them to believe it meant the company was overlooked. The concept was lost to the readers.
In discussing the subject, several Leasing News advisors also thought it more fair to list everyone and let readers make up their own minds whether they wanted to do business with a company or not.
It was then decided that if Leasing News were to list all BBB reports that were available, why not list the other information, as Yahoo does on publicly held corporations, such as history and current news. If the concept was to let readers make up their own minds, then let them have all the important information we could find available to them. This is our first attempt at this, and we hope companies listed will made corrections, additions, and help keep the lists current.
It has been quite some time since I have written about the procedure, the purpose, and actually how many complaints Leasing News receives. Since the first one appeared June 1, 2000, there have been over 3,500 leasing company complaints, perhaps more. Most do not make the Bulletin Board and are “resolved.”
Recently the Leasing News Advisory Board reviewed the policy and decided not to change it. One of the consequences of being on the Bulletin Board is Leasing News does not accept advertising from companies who make the list, as well as endorsement, such as being added to the “Story Credit List” or to be recommended by Leasing News when such inquiries are made.
In the first few years, I would write a column every other week regarding complaints Leasing News was working on, not naming the parties, but giving the incidents. As more and more were aware about the "Action News" or "Ombudsman,” the list was growing too quickly, too many changes, and just couldn’t keep up.
At first, they came from brokers who had run into a customer who had a bad experience, then it was the vendors, then the actual applicant themselves, and today the search engines have brought us to the top. Leasing News does not receive any remuneration, nor accepts gifts, and often the referring broker may get business from the party with the complaint, which Leasing News does not participate.
What has happened in the eleven years now of doing Bulletin Board Complaints, companies that remain in the archives and Bulletin Board find these stories appearing in Bing, Google, Yahoo, to name the most popular. Although Leasing News now only has three editions a week, not five as we once had (and holidays goes down to two), the number of hits is eight times the amount of our competitors combined, according to web statistics. The more hits, the higher you are in the search engine, so a story about these companies that was not seen much a few years ago, now is in the top ten, or sometimes the top one.
It is common to be contacted about stories written, to make changes, and to request the complaint be removed. June 23, 2006, the policy was changed that a party who resolved a complaint, it would be removed, with caveat any new complaint would bring up the old complaints again. (1)
At present time, Leasing News receives four or five complaints a week; some take a month or more to resolve, and the process is time consuming as the party must present all the documents, correspondence, and email to verify thier claim. Then the other side is presented with these materials and asked if there are missing documents, a statement or comment regarding the claim. An hour to two hours a day are spent on these Monday-to-Friday.
Leasing News role was to determine if the complaint was "legitimate," meaning valid, and if not resolved, which might means "negotiated," "compromised," or "settled," it would appear in Leasing News as well as the Complaint Bulletin Board. It was never the role to say who is right or who is wrong, although some are quite obvious, such as an Evergreen Clauses on $1.00 purchase options, or the lessee has a copy he signed of an original purchase option, but does not have a signed copy from the leasing company. There are also other claims where there is no agreement regarding being paid for time spent and wanting to keep the advance rental because they spent a lot of time, or other issues, such as an approval with an ACH, but the customer won't accept an ACH. Most are an approval at one price, but the lease at another price.
There are also issues over security deposits not being returned and therefore the purchase option not paid or the security deposits applied to the purchase option. A lease starts with one broker, goes to another broker, who discounts to a leasing company that fails, and their portfolio is sold to one company, who later discounts it to another leasing company. Don’t laugh. This is one being considered now.
And this has happened a lot in the last few years, such as the current one with the Bankruptcy Estate of IFC Credit whose lease was assigned to M&T Bank with a $1.00 out, but now the Bankruptcy Estate is billing extra lease payments.
And there are complaints from lessees about a "fair market value," and although the salesman said it was a $1.00, they claim, there is no documentation on it, the salesman is no longer around (in the times a salesman is found, none have remembered the lease) and more importantly, on the face of the contract it says "Fair Market Value" or there is no purchase option document.
Now before you say, the lessee should have read the contract, there are many leasing companies who have a side letter that states "fair market value" is $1.00, and they say this is done for "tax reasons" as the purchase option can't appear on the contract. Or sometimes the original proposal says "fair market value" as does the contract, but the lessee says he was told by the salesman it would not be very much at the end.
And there are times the lessee did not read the contract and didn’t know what they were signing. Some of these come from large companies, not small businesses, and they have no documentation to support their position.
Nevertheless, I would say 98% of the complaints are legitimate, but as you may observe in the Complaint Bulletin Board to follow, almost all are resolved and do not appear below.
Christopher Menkin, editor