TV-6 Investigates: Champion Posters agrees to shut down
A Davenport poster company has agreed to shut down operations. It's a company TV-6 Investigates dug into last November. The Iowa Attorney General's office announced an agreement Friday morning, closing the state's five-month investigation.
The agreement says the company's owner James Shannon will stop doing business in Iowa. He didn't admit to any wrongdoing as part of the deal. TV-6 Investigates was able to get two realtors their money back in November when we ran our story. This new agreement also requires Shannon to give up collecting payments on any open accounts.
A giant for lease sign now stands in front of the former Champion Posters business office in Davenport. It's a physical sign of the agreement the Iowa Attorney General's office hammered out with Champion Posters.
Consumer Protection Division Attorney Mari Thinnes Culver said, "The business has been shut down, we understand, our office has seen that it physically has shut down."
TV-6 Investigates was contacted last fall by two realtors, one locally and the other out of state, who felt they had been ripped off by Champion.
LeClaire Realtor Pam Brammann said, "They said they'd give me a refund, that was three weeks ago."
Indiana Realtor Felicia Emmons said, "A couple weeks went by, I think they said they were going to email me the proofs, never heard anything."
The Attorney General's office found the same problems TV-6 Investigates uncovered. The agreement said Champion misrepresented that it would widely distribute posters to business, that it was associated with a school, and that it printed the numbers of posters it promised to each client.
Thinnes Culver said the office received 30 complaints, but its investigators found more.
"We found a lot more victims than complaints that we had," said Thinnes Culver.
Owner James Shannon told TV-6 Investigates over the phone back in November that his business was not a scam. He said if people were promised refunds they would get them. Brammann and Emmons received their refunds after the phone call and before the initial story aired. As part of this current agreement, Shannon does not admit any wrongdoing. But Thinnes Culver said Iowa will share its agreement with other states.
"We'll send it to other states and their attorney general's offices," said Thinnes Culver.
The Attorney General's office recommends folks do their homework before signing an advertising contract. Potential customers can call the school, check the Better Business Bureau, or type the company's name with the word complaint into an internet search browser.
Owner James Shannon called TV-6 Friday evening to give us a statement about this situation. He declined to be interviewed.
Shannon said, "I voluntarily closed my business before I received any request from the Attorney General's office."