CHICAGO, Ill. — On February 6th 2009, a federal jury in Chicago returned a verdict against Consumer Guide LLC / Publications International Ltd. (PIL) of Lincolnwood, Ill., and awarded $5.6 million to The Smart Marketing Group, Inc. (SMG) in damages resulting from PIL’s breach of a 2003 contract. According to the lawsuit filed in January 2004, PIL’s “Consumer Guide” division contracted with SMG of Los Angeles, Ca. to market and sell certain “Consumer Guide” products to automobile dealers. SMG alleged that it exceeded its sales and revenue targets but Consumer Guide failed to provide the products and services it promised to the dealers.
“The jury clearly agreed with SMG that PIL acted in bad faith by terminating the relationship when there was no cause to do so,” said attorney William Ziegelmueller of Chicago.
“PIL and Consumer Guide wrongly put us out of business, then wrote letters to all of our dealers to damage our reputation when it was really Consumer Guide that failed to perform,” said Michael Welch, the CEO of SMG. “It was the dirtiest kind of pool.”
“No amount of money can make up for what they purposely did to our business and our reputation over the past five years,” said Bill Magarity, SMG’s President. “At that time in our careers, we were the number one dealer sales organization in the country. We had sold more than 7,000 auto dealers into advertising and internet programs, and Consumer Guide took everything from us. Fortunately, after five years of trial delays, a jury has vindicated us.”
Conflicting trial testimony from PIL’s top executives “proved that PIL did not deal honestly with us,” according to Magarity, who also indicated that SMG intends to pursue a fraud claim against PIL in the event PIL appeals the verdict.
Consumer Guide content is currently marketed by HowStuffWorks, Inc., a subsidiary of Discovery Communications, New York, N.Y.
To view copy of court judgment/verdict (PDF), please visit:
[tags]Smart Marketing Group Inc[/tags]