Magazine promoter must give refunds and is barred from selling ads in Idaho
Idaho businesses that paid for ad space in the Gem County Spotlight are entitled to refunds under a settlement with the publisher, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said today.
The settlement resolves allegations that Sam Consalvi, owner of Sector Marketing, accepted money from businesses based on his misrepresentation that their purchased ads would appear in the monthly Spotlight. Consalvi subsequently left Idaho without publishing the magazine or returning the businesses’ money.
Business owners in the Emmett area filed complaints with the Attorney General’s Office claiming they paid Consalvi as much as $700 for ad space in the unpublished magazine. According to complainants, Consalvi represented he was starting a community magazine featuring local businesses. He also represented that the glossy magazine would be mailed to all residents in Gem County beginning in December 2011.
Consalvi produced a rough draft of the magazine, but never published or distributed final copies as he promised. He stopped returning customers phone calls and moved out of Idaho.
The Attorney General’s Office located Consalvi in Texas and obtained a consent judgment that: requires Consalvi to refund businesses that paid for ads in the Gem County Spotlight; prohibits Consalvi from selling ad space in any type of media within Idaho; prohibits Consalvi from soliciting Idaho consumers for the purchase of ad space; and requires Consalvi to pay the Attorney General $800 in attorney fees and $20,000 in civil penalties if Consalvi violates the consent judgment.
Small business owners who believe they are entitled to refunds under the settlement and have not already filed a complaint with the Attorney General must file a complaint before May 14, 2012. Consalvi agreed to make monthly restitution payments to the Attorney General, who will forward refunds to eligible businesses as they become available. As a result, eligible business owners should expect delay in receiving their restitution.