COLUMBUS -- Dozens of consumers lost more than a combined $800,000 to a central Ohio company that was supposed to help launch their inventions, according to a lawsuit announced Thursday by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.
Customers of Idea Buyer LLC accuse the now-closed Dublin company and its owner, Eric Corl, of taking their money and providing little to nothing in return. The lawsuit seeks, among other things, refunds for affected consumers.
“People trusted this guy to help hatch their ideas but it turns out he’s a pretty rotten egg,” Yost said. “It’s time to hold him accountable.”
Consumers from 23 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces have submitted 49 complaints to Yost’s Consumer Protection Section, blaming Idea Buyer and Corl for over $800,000 in losses. Of the complaints, 28 were filed after Idea Buyer abruptly announced in December 2019 that it was shutting down.
Consumer complaints allege Idea Buyer pressured customers into signing contracts and paying large up-front fees, typically over $10,000. The company told some consumers their inventions had been specially chosen by Idea Buyer investors and they needed to sign up fast.
After paying Idea Buyer, many consumers said they heard little from the company, despite repeated calls and emails seeking updates. Consumers who did hear back said the company gave excuses and provided little evidence that any work had been done to develop or promote their inventions.
The services Idea Buyer did provide to some consumers lacked the benefits that Corl and the company had represented, according to the lawsuit.
The state’s lawsuit, filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, alleges violations of Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act. It seeks an order requiring Corl to reimburse affected consumers and pay civil penalties. It also requests an order prohibiting him from violating Ohio’s consumer protection laws.
Consumers who suspect an unfair or deceptive sales practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515.