Bonanza Marketplace founder Bill Harding is suing current owner Quincy Faison for failure to make payments on a promissory note that was issued as part of the sale of the company in March 2023.
Harding's software development company Alloy.Dev, Inc, claims Hanson Enterprises USA, LLC and Bonanza Worldwide, LLC (of which Faison is president) owe almost $125,000 plus interest, court costs and attorneys fees after failing to complete payment per the terms of their agreement.
The lawsuit filed in Florida on October 13, 2023 provides the following Statement of Facts:
Statement Of Facts
On 3/8/23 Defendants issued, executed and delivered to Plaintiff a promissory note, copy attached hereto and hereinafter the Note, in the amount of $240,000.00, payable on the terms and conditions stated therein.
The Note matured on 6/6/23, at which time the sum of $245,917.50 became due and payable, plus per diem interest from said date of $98.63.
Defendants made one payment of $125,000.00 against the Note on 7/10/23.
After the payment described above, the remaining principal balance due on the Note was $124,270.82.
As of 9/21/23 the principal balance due on the Note remains $124,270.82 and interest due is $3,728.12 and interest continues to accrue on said principal balance at the rate of $51.07 per day thereafter.
Plaintiff owns and holds the Note.
Plaintiff has retained the undersigned's firm to represent it in this matter and agreed to pay a fee for said firm's services for which Defendants are liable pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Note.
Wherefore Plaintiff demands judgement against Defendants, jointly and severally, for principal, interest, court costs, and reasonable attorneys fees.
Court records show Faison was successfully served in this suit on October 31, but Alloy.Dev, Inc's attorney omitted filing the Returns of Service with the court until January 22, 2024.
Harding declined to comment for this article.
Faison provided the following statement: "This is not really a story. Small disagreement on the terms of the sale. We have settled out of court and came to an agreement on our own."
However, PACER still shows the case is currently open as of 5 PM Eastern Time, January 29, 2024, with the latest filing showing on January 22, 2024.
Those filings were to provide proof that service had been executed and to respond to the previous order to show cause. As shown in the screenshot above, Plaintiff's attorney was still actively petitioning the court to allow the lawsuit to move forward at that time.
If a settlement has been reached, it would have been very recently and it has not yet been added to the public record.
Case 1:23-cv-23911 is still open in the Southern District of Florida with Judge Federico A Moreno presiding.
Faison took over Bonanza last year with grand plans and a focus on marketing the site to bring in more buyers.
Since then, he's introduced new features and functionality like Bonanza Lending, a Diamond Membership plan, and Vercado Webstores but many sellers say they are still struggling with low traffic and low sales on the platform.
Seller sentiment has also soured on Bonanza's controversial new shipping program, which charges a $2 per transaction fee if sellers choose not to purchase shipping labels from Bonanza.
The new shipping program went into effect November 8th, but Bonanza had originally said sellers who use approved 3rd party Shipping API partners would be exempt.
However, some sellers report their settings were changed to remove their exemptions last week and their credit cards started being charged for these extra shipping fees with no notice or explanation.
Bonanza General Manager, Sarah Tranum, has provided the following statement to clarify that a recent validation check found some sellers had opted out of the Bonanza shipping program even though they do not use an integrated third-party shipping service, those sellers were removed from the exemption and notified via email that they are no longer exempt.
Bonanza Shipping was launched to save our sellers both time and money. We are able to offer the lowest possible rates for FedEx, UPS and USPS to our sellers no matter the size of their business. Now, small businesses can access the same rates as much larger ecommerce businesses thanks to our community-wide rates.
Sellers shipping from outside of the US or sellers using third-party shipping services connected to our API are exempt from using Bonanza Shipping.
When we first launched Bonanza Shipping, we provided sellers using third-party shipping services connected to our API with the ability to opt out of the program in their account settings. Recently, when we ran a validation check, we found that only 1,045 sellers who do not use an integrated third-party shipping service had also opted-out. These sellers were all sent an email to notify them that they are no longer exempt.
We have also made it easier for sellers who do qualify by automatically exempting them with no action needed on their part. All sellers who were previously exempt remain exempt. Our policy has not changed. Sellers with questions should contact our award-winning support team at email@example.com for assistance.
However, sellers who have been impacted by this issue deny they were notified via email and say they are still waiting for answers.
Unfortunately, those answers may not be forthcoming, as once again Bonanza has decided to delete and censor user comments on their community forum - clearly showing they did not learn anything from the debacle that ensued when they censored comments about the shipping policy announcement back in November.
Value Added Resource reader Jeff12671 commented that these latest shipping shenanigans raise questions about if there may be "something really screwy" going on, saying the surprise charges and censorship don't bode well for the company.
So far today I have not received any further responses from them. I messaged their support this morning when my $38 would be refunded and no reply.
It looks like something really screwy might be going on there with the deletion of the opt our button, surprise shipping label charges with no explanation and now the deletion of seller posts in their community forum asking questions about what is going on presumably in an attempt to try to control the narrative all together does not bode well.
I'm happy to give them a chance to fix their mistakes but if they don't try to fix them after some reasonable amount of time I'm going to have to look at filing chargebacks on my improper fee charges.
That's certainly an understandable response and he is not the only seller we've seen express similar sentiments.
Clearly, Faison and the rest of the Bonanza crew have a lot of work to do to gain seller trust - restoring the option to enter a 3rd party API shipping partner, refunding fees that were incorrectly charged, and committing to transparency about the company's current state and future plans would be a good place to start.