XENIA — A Xenia florist who allegedly abandoned couples on their wedding day has been sued by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost for violating consumer protection laws.
The civil lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Greene County Common Pleas Court, alleges that Desiree Gilliam Pace, doing business as Flowers by Des, violated the Consumer Sales Practices Act by accepting money from Ohio consumers for weddings and other important events but failing to deliver services.
“Weddings are meant to be a celebration of love, not a chance for a heartless grifter to leave couples empty-handed and upset,” Yost said in a release. “This action won’t take the sting away from that day, but I vow to help these couples get some payback.”
Yost is seeking restitution for at least 48 Ohioans who were scammed out of more than $50,000. Flowers by Des, 99 Lowell Road, is no longer in business the AG said. Pace has been unresponsive to repeated requests by Yost’s Consumer Protection Section to make her victims whole, according to the release.
The lawsuit charges Pace with one count of failure to deliver and misrepresenting the status of orders and refunds, both violations of the Consumer Sales Practices Act. The filing comes three months after Yost’s investigators began receiving consumer complaints about Pace.
An investigation found consumers either paid in full for services or put down a 50 percent deposit for Pace to provide flowers for their events, Yost said. Pace either canceled the contracts within days of the events or, without notice, failed to appear at the events when she was contractually required to do so, the AG added.
Pace forced consumers to scramble for flowers for their weddings or other events at considerable additional cost. according to the release. Other consumers were left without flowers for their special events. Yost said Pace told consumers who requested refunds that, pursuant to the contracts, they had to wait 90 days to receive their refunds. She also misrepresented to consumers the status of their refunds, the lawsuit alleges.
In nearly all cases Pace did not issue refunds, according to Yost.
Consumers who suspect an unfair or deceptive sales practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515.