Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon has suit against a Kansas City man who advertised retail gift cards on the Internet and collected at least $9,000, then failed to deliver the goods. The lawsuit says Ryan Gabriel Flint violated Missouri's Merchandising Practices Act in many ways.
Nixon says Flint's scheme worked like this: he bought gift cards or in-store credit cards for retailers such as Lowe's, Home Depot and Best Buy from a flea market for 40 cents on the dollar of the face value of the cards. Then, Flint advertised the cards through eBay.
When some consumers contacted Flint to buy the cards, he offered to sell them similar cards not yet placed for auction on eBay. Flint told consumers they would have to pay for the cards before he would send them.
At least four consumers from across the United States paid Flint up front in amounts ranging from $1,499.99 to $3,550.00. The consumers then expected to receive the cards but they did not. The consumers asked for refunds, and Flint has refused to give them.
"Internet auctions are based on trust, and this man violated that trust. Now he'll realize Missouri is serious about protecting the rights of consumers even if they make purchases in cyberspace," Nixon says.
The Attorney General says Flint violated Missouri's consumer protection laws by misrepresenting that he would sell consumers gift cards or in-store credit cards, deceiving consumers and engaging in the unfair trade practice of advertising and selling on eBay, then failing to act in good faith to deliver the goods he promised.
Nixon is asking the court to order Flint to make full restitution to all consumers taken by this scheme, to order him to pay a civil penalty of $1,000 per violation and to prohibit Flint from violating Missouri's consumer fraud laws.