Pennsylvania AG Sues Gift, Novelty DMer

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The Pennsylvania attorney general's office said last week that its Bureau of Consumer Protection filed a seven-count civil lawsuit against Taylor Gifts Inc., Paoli, PA.


The direct marketer of gift and novelty items and consumer goods is charged with violating the state's Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, Fictitious Names Act and the Federal Trade Commission's Mail Order Rule.


The company, which sells through catalogs and online, is accused of "failing to deliver the products sold to consumers, delivering incorrect items and/or delivering the products well beyond the advertised delivery time or the time period allowed by law."


The release said an investigation was opened after more than 80 consumers in Pennsylvania and around the country filed formal complaints about the company's alleged illegal business practices.


"My office received complaints about virtually every aspect of the defendant's sales transactions with consumers," attorney general Jerry Pappert said at a press conference at the Bureau of Consumer Protection office in Philadelphia. "These alleged illegal business practices include misleading advertising, premature billing, illegal fees and failure to honor guarantees and refund policies. In many cases, frustrated consumers only received satisfaction from the company after extended periods of time or when my office intervened."


Taylor Gifts lawyer Peter Kelsen said the company could not "respond at this time" since the company had just been served.


"I just received it about an hour ago," Kelsen said. "We have not had a chance to review it and, therefore, any comment would be inappropriate. We will review the action and respond accordingly."


According to several of the complaints, Pappert said, Taylor failed to ship the ordered merchandise within the designated 36- or 48-hour time period.


"In some cases the defendant took as long as three months to ship consumers' goods," he said. "Several consumers reported that their orders never arrived and they failed to receive a refund."


Consumers also said that Taylor shipped items though they had canceled orders because of significant delivery delays and that they had difficulty obtaining refunds, according to the Attorney General's office.


Pappert also said consumers were charged for products before they were delivered despite company claims that it does not do that. Also alleged is that the company cashed consumers' personal checks upon receiving the orders and before the products were shipped.


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