Maker of Commemorative Toys Faces Lawsuit

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Jacksonville, FL—The Florida Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit last week, alleging that the maker of some popular toys violated the state’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Showbiz Promotions and its owner, Jaime Salcedo, were named in the suit for having duped consumers into believing that a portion of the toys’ purchase price would go to charitable organizations.

Showbiz Promotions had marketed a doll called “Caylee Sunshine,” which was modeled after a slain Florida toddler, Caylee Anthony. Salcedo had claimed that “100% of the profits” from sales of the doll would go to charities, including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He later posted on his website a donation receipt which he alleged was for a credit-card donation in the amount of $5,000. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, however, shows only a donation in the amount of $10 made by either Salcedo or Showbiz Promotions.

Even before the charitable donation scandal, Salcedo had been under fire for attempting to profit from Caylee Anthony’s death. The Anthony family and others had called for production of the dolls to cease. The company did stop manufacturing the dolls, but cited high costs and a lack of consumer interest.

The company had also manufactured dog chew toys meant to look like Michael Vick, the NFL athlete who was suspended and is currently serving time for involvement in a dogfighting case.

After complaints were filed by consumers who claimed they had ordered but never received the toys, the Florida Attorney General’s office began investigating Showbiz Promotions.

Additionally, Salcedo is accused of promising that a portion of proceeds from the Michael Vick dog toys would go to local animal shelters, but not fulfilling that promise.

Salcedo claims that he did make donations to shelters, but in the form of merchandise, rather than cash. The shelters, he said, preferred to receive merchandise so that they could auction it off.

Salcedo also said that of the many consumer complaints the attorney general’s office received, all but a handful of them were resolved. Those few, he added, had been purchases made through online payment service PayPal, and he had been unable to contact the consumers via email in order to resolve their complaints.

The lawsuit against Salcedo and Showbiz Promotions seeks $10,000 in penalties for each violation of the Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

 

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