Florist Files RICO Class Action|Over Teleflora’s Flower Sales

INDIANAPOLIS (CN) – In a RICO class action, a member of the Teleflora network claims that the largest mail-order flower service in the country hijacked its web link to snatch customers. Perfect Flowers says it refused Teleflora’s offer to create a website for it, since it already had a website up and running. And it claims Teleflora played the same trick on “other retail florists [who] did not authorize Teleflora to direct Internet users away from their websites to unauthorized websites.”

     Perfect Flowers claims that it ran its own website, “Flowers By Valerie,” and when it signed a contract to receive referrals from Teleflora, it did not authorize the giant chain to operate a website on its behalf.
     “Perfect Flowers receives 100 percent of all retail sales obtained through this [its own] website,” the complaint states. Its own website “did not require the use of the Teleflora national network.”
     Teleflora owns and operates the directory website Findaflorist.com, with links to member florists.
     But Perfect Flowers says “the operation of and inclusion of Perfect Flowers and Flowers by Valerie is not included in the contract between Teleflora and Perfect Flowers.”
     Under the contract, “Perfect Flowers agreed to become a member florist and Teleflora agreed to refer to Perfect Flowers orders by other member florists for delivery at 73 percent of the order or sale price,” according to the complaint.
     Perfect Flowers claims that Teleflora “owned and operated a website which purported to be a website for Flowers By Valerie and could be accessed independently or by a hypertext link from Findaflorist.com.”
     But Perfect Flowers claims that it never authorized Teleflora to direct Internet browsers “to an unauthorized website for Flowers By Valerie.”
     Perfect Flowers adds that it “did not authorize Teleflora to collect and keep any of the funds from orders and sales obtained from the unauthorized website for Perfect Flowers and Flowers By Valerie.”
     In some cases, it says, “Teleflora did not inform Perfect Flowers when someone ordered from the unauthorized website for Flowers By Valerie owned and operated by Teleflora. Hence Perfect Flowers would not receive any customer information for future advertising or other business purposes.”
     Perfect Flowers says Teleflora refused its request for an accounting of the money Teleflora made from the unauthorized website.
     It seeks an accounting, compensation and class damages. Perfect Flowers filed the class action in Marion County Court, then removed it to Federal Court.
     Perfect Flowers is represented by Steven Poore.

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