Van Hollen takes on advertising business

Keith Loria Feb. 7, 2011, 3:00pm

Van Hollen

KENOSHA, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has announced an enforcement action against a man and his advertising business for allegedly violating the state's consumer protection laws.

Edward Zapencki, through his business Fun Treasurer Maps, allegedly solicited small business owners to purchase ads on cartoon-style maps that he would create for different communities around the state.

Van Hollen alleges that Zapencki collected upfront fees from the business owners but often never produced the maps or printed them later than promised.

The lawsuit alleges that hundreds of businesses have paid for advertising on Fun Treasure Maps that have never been produced, with some businesses that paid Zapencki as far back as 2007 yet to see their ads on maps

The state's complaint also alleges that Zapencki violated the state's false advertising law by misleading customers about the timeframe in which the maps would be produced.

Complaints first surfaced against Zapencki and his company in 2007, when the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection issued an order against him to deliver the maps in a timely manner, setting a deadline of 15 months.

At that time, Zapencki, under terms of a special order, agreed to provide full refunds to anyone who didn't agree to a further delay. He also agreed to provide all prospective customers with a written notice detailing their rights to a refund if the map was not delivered as promised.

The special order subjects Zapencki to a forfeiture ranging from $100 to $10,000.

The new complains stems from Zapencki's violation of the original order by not giving notice or delivering maps on time.

Van Hollen is seeking forfeitures, injunctive relief and restitution for all injured consumers.

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