Fla. AG and FTC team for lawsuits against business directories

By Bryan Cohen | Jul 15, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) - Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and the Federal Trade Commission filed lawsuits on Monday against multiple business directory companies that allegedly charged consumers for services they did not order.

Yellow Business Ads; National Biz Ads; National Business Advertising; 7051620 Canada Inc., doing business as Nationwide Marketing Bureau Inc.; City Pages Inc., doing business as City Yellow Pages and Online City Yellow Pages; Rapid Pages Inc., doing business as Rapid Yellow Pages; and Your Yellow Pages Inc. allegedly collected between $200 and $1,800 from more than 600 consumers for business directory fees that were never authorized, inaccurate or nonexistent.

"I urge Florida consumers and businesses to watch for unauthorized charges on invoices," Bondi said. "We will continue to pursue illegitimate businesses that seek to deceive consumers into giving up their hard-earned dollars."

The lawsuits allege the defendants misrepresented that consumers had a preexisting business relationship and agreed to buy a listing in the defendants' business directory. The defendants then allegedly misrepresented that the consumers owed money for a listing in the business directories.

The suits seek an injunction prohibiting the defendants from engaging in any business related to deceptive business directories, civil penalties of $10,000 per violation of Florida's Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, $15,000 per violation where the victim is a senior citizen, restitution on behalf of consumers and reimbursement for fees and costs.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office assisted with the inquiry into the defendants.

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