BALTIMORE (February 14, 2011) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today announced a settlement with Derek Oliver, a Florida-based florist and Nationwide 411 Inc., also a Florida-based business. Oliver and Nationwide 411 placed advertisements in Maryland telephone directory listings that represented Olivers florist business was located in Maryland. The listing included phone numbers with Maryland area codes and names such as Perry Hall Florist and Gifts, Dundalk Florist and Gifts, and Essex Florist and Gifts, that falsely suggested the Florida-based business was located in Maryland. Marylands False Advertising Law prohibits advertisements in telephone directories that misrepresent the location of a business.
Advertisers cannot mislead consumers regarding their location, said Attorney General Gansler. Consumers who want to shop with local merchants should be able to do so.
Both businesses denied violating any Maryland laws, but agreed to stop placing business advertisements in Maryland telephone directories that contain either a Maryland address or Maryland phone number unless they are located in Maryland. The companies also agreed to disconnect the phone numbers that they had previously included in Maryland phone directories and to a $5,000 penalty.
Source: Office of Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler