Class Action Suit Drives Scammers Into Bankruptcy

Missouri florists have bankrupted a New Jersey telemarketer accused in a class action suit of tampering with phone book listings to siphon callers away from local businesses. The telemarketer, TTP, purchased phone book listings under the same names as local florists, but did not provide an address; the listings appeared side-by-side, but when local callers dialed the number without an address, they were directed to an out-of-state call center that tacked on a handling fee and submitted the order to a different area florist.

“The primary objective of both lawsuits is to get TTP out of Missouri,” said Gregory Leyh of Gladstone, the attorney for both class-action lawsuits. “TTP cheats by pretending to be a local florist so it can fool consumers and steal the legitimate business of Missouri florists. At least for now, TTP is no longer in the floral business in Missouri.”

TTP’s president, Thomas Meola, said the company could no longer afford the cost of defending the lawsuits.

“This is a victory for us,” said Debbie Fulton, owner of Gladstone Florist on North Oak Trafficway. “We noticed our business began to pick up this summer, when it is normally down. Then we found out that the telemarketer had disconnected the phone.”

TTP has come under fire in the past from the attorneys general of Delaware and Virginia. If you see two listings in the phone book, remember to call the one with an address.

Local florists score victory over telemarketing scheme [KCCommunityNews]
(AP Photo/Greg Baker)