No matter what, Violeta Maczynski wants you to know that her Boca Raton company, US Passport Services, is most definitely not a scam.
So ignore the 190 complaints filed against it with the state Better Business Bureau alleging misdeeds from failure to reimburse customers to not honoring its verbal contracts with customers.
Ignore that the Better Business Bureau has allotted the passport company on NW 77th Street an 'F' rating, and hasn't granted it accreditation.
Ignore that US Passport Now -- an offshoot of US Passport Services -- claims on its site that it's housed in a swank and official-looking office building - when its actual accommodations are pedestrian.
Ignore that the company's president, Marek Maczynski, is a former priest booted from the the Orlando diocese, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Maczynski was removed from his duties at Holy Name of Jesus in Indialantic in 2005 after more than $10,000 went missing from the church's coffers. (Maczynski apologized and returned the money, the newspaper reported, and no charges were filed against him.)
"We were shocked," recalled one church administrator, who requested anonymity. "He was such a nice man... I've heard he's gotten into passports."
But ignore all of that. Because under no circumstances is U.S. Passports Now operating a scam. "We don't have any hidden fees," Violeta Maczynski said. "Maybe you should do more research."
She said her company's very clear that it provides the same exact services as the U.S. government - though at a higher cost. "People refuse to read. If you go online and agree to the terms and conditions and agree to the fees, and then change your mind?"
Former customer Bill Hahne said it didn't go down like that. He said he was invited to a friend's wedding in India, but didn't have a passport. So he went to the website uspassportsnow.com, and says he was lulled into a sense of security by the official-seeming website.
When he learned the Boca passport company was charging him $50 for a service the U.S. government could have provided, he tried to rescind the transaction - but it was too late. They wouldn't refund him.
"Yeah it pisses me off," he said. "I think they ripped me off."
Mike Galvin of the Better Business Bureau wouldn't go that far, but did express dismay at the number of complaints they've received. "190?" he said. "That's a lot. Most companies don't get nearly that many. The complaints say they don't issue refunds for services, and don't answer their complaints."
He added: "People are anxious to receive a passport so they turn to someone to assist them. The way it looks on the surface is that this is a company that isn't being cooperative to both the complaints of their consumers and with the Better Business Bureau."
"And that means they wind up with an F."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to New Times Broward-Palm Beach's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling South Florida's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism