Friday, September 22, 2023
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Ghost Tour Says Boo to Competition

SAVANNAH, Ga. (CN) - A haunted walking tour in Savannah stole the identity of a more established ghost tour provider and is making off with its business, the aggrieved concern claims in court.

In a complaint filed in the Chatham County superior court, plaintiff Ghost City Tours LLC says it has been providing ghost and haunted-theme walking tour in the city's historic district since 2012, and has trademarked the phrase "Ghost City."

As a result, it says, "customers throughout the United States have come to associate the mark 'Ghost City' with the Plaintiff's high quality services."

It's reputation notwithstanding, Ghost City Tours says it began to have an uneasy feeling in March 2015, after the defendants Ghost City Tours of America, the Sorrel Weed House museum, and its tour guide and manager, Orlin Reynolds and Calvin Parker, began offering their own haunted tours of the 282-year-old city.

According to the complaint, the upstart competitor deliberately used Google Local, an online ad tool, "to change its search name from 'Sorrel Weed House Ghost Hunts' to 'Ghost City Tours' and directed users to Defendants' website ."

Ghost City Tours also claims that the defendants bought websites that have very similar names to its own.

Since then, the Nov. 2 complaint says, the defendant have advertised with this name and "promote this confusion by selling tickets to customers based on their belief they are purchasing a ticket for Plaintiff's walking tours. ... Postings have been made on Plaintiff's website disparaging Plaintiff and asking viewers of the website to visit GCTA's website instead."

Ghost City Tours says it has told the defendants to cease and desist. and that "while Defendant GCTA made some changes to its websites, it continues to use the mark GHOST CITY on its website, in violation of Plaintiff's exclusive right to use the mark GHOST CITY."

Further, Ghost City Tours says, since sending the defendants a cease and desist order, it has been subjected to "harassment by phone calls and through its live chat feature, to include racial slurs and references to illegal drugs."

Ghost City Tours seeks a temporary restraining order, interlocutory injunction, punitive damages, and attorneys' fees.

The company is represented by Julie Wade, and by Kate Strain of Belzer PC. both attorneys are located in Savannah.

Defendants Reynolds and Parker did not return a telephone case from Courthouse News seeking comment.

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