|February 13, 2009
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
|en Español||Print Version||Tweet|
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced his office has sued a Pinellas County Marketing company, alleging the company and its owners engaged in unfair and deceptive marketing of gasoline redemption vouchers. Tidewater Marketing Global Consultants, Inc., a Florida corporation located in Pinellas, and the company’s president, Crystal Clark, are named in the lawsuit.
An investigation by the Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division revealed Clark and her company engaged in an unfair and deceptive marketing scheme by producing and distributing vouchers for gasoline through a nationwide network of independent distributors, but failing to provide the gas cards as promised. The vouchers were sold by distributors to retail merchants which in turn offered the vouchers to encourage sales of retail products and services. The lawsuit states hundreds of thousands of these vouchers may have been provided to consumers across the country.
Consumers with vouchers were required to register with Tidewater Marketing through websites, such as freegasredemption.com and FreeBeeGas.com, or by mail and pay a $5 fee for registration. Registered consumers were allegedly entitled to receive gift cards from Tidewater upon submitting receipts for gasoline purchases that complied with the requirements of the program. The Attorney General’s Office is aware of over 500 complaints from consumers who never received the gift cards and is aware of at least 1,300 additional complaints reported to the Better Business Bureau and other authorities.
The lawsuit was filed under Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. Civil penalties against the company and Clark could include an injunction prohibiting them from engaging in this conduct, a requirement for consumer restitution, a $10,000 civil fine for each violation, and payment of attorneys’ fees and costs. Consumers with complaints about this company should call the Attorney General’s fraud hotline at 1-866-966-7226 or may file a complaint online at http://myfloridalegal.com.
A copy of the lawsuit is available here.