Industry Members Fight Deceptive Phone Listings
Pennsylvania Senate Bill 198, which makes it unlawful for a floral vendor to misrepresent its geographic location by listing a fictitious name in a local telephone/electronic directory, was approved by a unanimous vote in the Pennsylvania House recently.
Chris Drummond, AAF, Plaza Flowers, Norristown, Pa., started working on this issue in 1998 in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Floral Industry Association. "It's been frustrating at times," he said, "Legislation doesn't move quickly ... It has been a long time coming."
The bill is currently on the governor's desk and waiting to be signed into law. "It certainly has been a grassroots effort," says Drummond of the 8-year ordeal.
The battle continues in North Carolina: florists met recently to discuss the problem of deceptive telephone use by companies that pass themselves off as North Carolina florists. Billy Hardin, Jr., of Hardin's Wholesale Florist Supply in Liberty, N.C., state Sen. Janet Cowell of Wake County, N.C., the Society Of American Florists’ (SAF) senior legislative representative Jeanne Little Ramsay and SAF's director of member services Dave Bowman led a panel discussion on the topic with members of the North Piedmont Florists Association at the meeting.
"This is a huge problem," said Jon Miller, president of the North Piedmont Florists Association and owner of Floral Dimensions, Durham, N.C. "We have to get florists together and make them feel that something can be done. They have to realize other people are doing it and there are things you can do." To date18 states have successfully enacted legislation to outlaw listings that misrepresent a business' location.
Ramsay advised the group to educate their legislators on the issue, drum up support with a grassroots lobbying campaign, and to contact key legislative committees as well as the governor's office and state attorney general.