Deceptive Advertising

Minnesota says NO – Deceptive Advertizing

In 2010 MNSFA partnered with the Minnesota Retailers Association to set in motion a bill to combat the deceptive floral listings in yellow pages and on the internet.  After months of writing, re-writing, testimonies and playing the waiting game On August 1st 2010 the bill became law.

Featured in an article in the Floral Management Magazine, May 12, 2010, SAF’s Brian Gamberini states:

“This law actually has some teeth built into it,”   The law takes on deceptive Internet advertising as well. Most states with deceptive phone laws apply only to those listings in printed directories.

The bill also has an enforcement arm — another major distinction from other states laws.   Minnesota florists can bring an injunction through a private lawyer against companies they allege are using deceptive advertising practices. They need only prove geographical misrepresentation via name, phone number or address. Proof of monetary damage, loss of profits, or intent to deceive is not required. And the court may award attorney’s fees to the prevailing party.

MNSFA will help with deceptive listings by sending a cease and desist letter to the deceptive lister.  If you find a listing please fill out the deceptive listing form and return to MSFA.

MNSFA has contacted a firm that is willing to represent florist in a class action suit. The first step it to send this letter.

CHAPTER 235–H.F.No. 3277

An act relating to commerce; specifying that advertising of deceptive local
telephone numbers for businesses is a deceptive trade practice; amending
Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 325D.46, by adding a subdivision.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1. Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 325D.46, is amended by adding a
subdivision to read:
Subd. 3. Deceptive telephone-related directory listings and print
advertisements.

(a) The practices described in this subdivision are practices described
in section 325D.44, clauses (2) and (4).

(b) For purposes of this subdivision, “business is located within the geographic
area,” “geographic location of the business,” or similar term means that at least one owner
or employee of the business regularly performs services on behalf of the business at that
location. Renting use of a street address, post office box, or mail-drop does not constitute
having a business at that location.

(c) A person operating a business misrepresents the geographic location of its
business in a listing of the business in a telephone directory, other directory assistance
database, or on the Internet, if the name of the business, or the name under which the
business is listed, indicates that the business is located within a geographic area and all
of the following apply:

(1) the business is not located within the geographic area indicated;
(2) the listing fails to identify the actual municipality and state of the business’s geographic location; and (3) telephone calls to the local telephone number listed in  the telephone directory, directory assistance database, or on the Internet routinely are forwarded or transferred to a location that is outside the calling area covered by the telephone directory or directory assistance database in which the number is listed, or outside the local calling area for the local telephone number posted on the Internet.

(d) A person operating a business misrepresents the geographic location of the
business in print advertisement if a fictitious or assumed business name is listed in print
advertisement and both of the following apply:

(1) the name used misrepresents the geographic location of the business; and
(2) a telephone call to the local telephone number listed in the print advertisement
routinely is forwarded or transferred to a location that is outside the calling area for the
local telephone number listed.

(e) This subdivision does not limit the application of sections 325D.43 to 325D.48.

EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective August 1, 2010, and applies to any
telephone directory, directory assistance database, Internet Web site, or print advertisement
provided, published, or posted on or after that date.

Presented to the governor April 12, 2010
Signed by the governor April 15, 2010, 11:51 a.m.