Update on The Plastic Merchant – Missouri AG Not Pursuing Legal Action

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Update on The Plastic Merchant

Update on The Plastic Merchant – Missouri AG Not Pursuing Legal Action

Last year we broke the terrible news that The Plastic Merchant was bouncing checks and appeared to be insolvent.  There was hope that TPM would bounce back since they had had payment issues in the past as well and still made everyone whole.  TPM responded to our article and our attempt to reach out by sending an email to all sellers that Mike fell ill causing issues with payments and that things would be figured out soon.  They then went silent never to be heard from again.

Update and AG Response

This was a hot topic in our Facebook Reselling group and people would offer updates along the way.  A little while ago a Facebook Group member shared a link to the letter the Missouri AG sent out in response to people’s complaints. It included The Plastic Merchant’s attorney’s response as well.  You can find it at the bottom of this string of comments in our Facebook group.  Thanks to Scott R for sharing it.

It seems to me that the Missouri AG did not feel that legal action was the way to go.  I believe they thought it was more of an insolvency issue vs a criminal fraud case. They suggested contacting an attorney to discuss the possibility of a small claims lawsuit.


I know this is not what many of you wanted to hear.  The whole situation is terrible and I know many of you lost money because of this, some a substantial amount. While there may still be an option of pursuing this in court civilly, the costs of that may outweigh any benefit received.

What are your thoughts on this latest TPM update?

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. I believe the claim is that he is involved with GiftCardigan.com – unsubstantiated, as no one in their right mind would disclose his involvement in a business venture

  2. Missouri gives 10 years to file a small claims case against someone for written promises to pay money — if your claims is less than $5,000 hold off on filing for a while. If he files for bankruptcy you weren’t going to get any money anyway. If he doesn’t then let him get on his feet again so you can go after him once he has cash and make his life hell for years to come

  3. I don’t remember the blog/post but someone had said he did resurface with a new partner. Can’t substantiate the claim as there was no website or reference, so seemed a bit hokey, but stranger things. Be careful if any “new” groups come about.

  4. I met this guy at an FTU in I think late 2017.

    My hinky-meter immediately pegged all the way to the right. Never gave him a dime.

    Everyone keep watch in case he resurfaces.

  5. For a collections attorney, I was quoted $1500 to $2500 for retainers. If you lost more than $2500, I think it’s worth it to go after TPM/Mike Dean. Of the dozens (hundreds?) of people who were defrauded by Dean, we are out money he promised us. The letter from Dean’s attorneys are full of wild unsubstantiated allegations to paint him into being a victim. To my knowledge, no one affected was directly contacted by Dean to contest our claims. If he believes sellers defrauded him (in May, before he was kiting checks), show the proof. But he never has. Because his behavior is fraudulent. Did you know Dean and his spouse filed bankruptcy 8 years ago? Guess how many years you have to wait to file bankruptcy again? The Missouri AG believes it’s too messy to wade into this case and is beyond their scope. The statute of limitations for small claims suits is several years. If Dean ever tries to get into this business or another public business, there are plenty of people who will advise the public to stay clear of him.

    • you gonna have to prove he “defrauded” you and its not his personal BK that is relevant. His company went under not much you can do about that. Im guess a lawyer will be in the 5-7k range by the time its all said and done. And if you win, you wont collect. Hard to get money out of a bankrupt company

      • Proving fraud is the easy part. Collecting will be tough. Mike Dean didn’t operate TPM as an LLC or private company; it was a sole proprietorship. Your guesses of legal costs are just guesses. To file in small claims court you don’t need an attorney. Fill out the paperwork, pay the filing fee and get Mike Dean legally served.

    • Buyer Fraud is what likely did him in.

      Retailmenot/GiftcardZen had large clawbacks of cards (6 figure range) in a short period of time. They had also had other claw backs over the several years he was in business. From my understanding he didn’t really try to fight those or investigate with sellers and was eating the cost. At 1-5% margins you have to sell 20-100 good cards for every bad one. He also hadn’t done taxes since forming TPM so he probably had no idea what his actual profits or losses were. He was supporting himself his wife and 2 employees at the height of his business that’s a lot of overhead on a business that may have never been making money on the actual gift cards themselves. You can definitely say he was negligent, lazy or an idiot, but I’m not sure he intended to defraud people.

  6. I completely agree that it’s not worth it for most of us to pursue. I was out only $900 but put a value of around $2500 from the points I got from using TPM. While it totally ticked me off what they did, I used net as justification to myself that I did alright compared to not using them at all. I absolutely do think there was fraud though. They kept sending out deals, and some of the GC seemed like they were cashed out quickly. No proof, but I think they knew they weren’t going to be able to pay people back while still accepting GC. Their communication enough to me that they turned shady.

    Thanks for the update Mark. I was curious if there was anything going on.

    • I think that is a healthy way to look at it DW. Overall you came out on top and I think that is the important part even though what happened sucks.

    • Not sure if they provided paperwork showing that he took on personal debt trying to keep the business afloat etc. Or maybe they just didn’t think the case was worth spending money on pursuing. Not entirely sure.

    • If everything stated by TPM’s attorney is accurate then that is the only conclusion I think the AG could come to.

      • “If everything stated by TPM’s attorney is accurate”

        It was all a smokescreen. Listed off a bunch of reasons he should’ve changed his business, not reasons he ran out of money and knowingly sent out bad checks.


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