January 2, 2014
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster today announced that his office is suing Stadia Studio, LLC and Michael Allton, of St. Charles County, for failing to provide website design, development, and hosting services after receiving down payments from clients.
According to the civil lawsuit filed in the St. Charles County Circuit Court, Stadia Studio solicited clients for website services, often through Craigslist. The company required clients to provide an "initial retainer" of fifty percent of the total contract price before work began on a project. The company failed to provide contracted web design services for at least eleven customers, and ceased communicating with them when they requested refunds. Koster's suit alleges that Stadia Studio cheated these eleven consumers out of approximately $12,000.
"This web designer took customers' money and ran," said Koster. "Our priority is to permanently stop this fraud and to get consumers their money back."
According to Koster, Michael Allton is currently operating a similar web design and hosting firm named Social Media Hat, which he has failed to register as a business with the state as required by Missouri law.
Koster's lawsuit seeks full restitution for consumers and an order preventing Allton from advertising or engaging in any website design or development services in the state of Missouri. Additionally, Koster is asking the Court to impose fines for making false promises and misrepresentations in violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.
The Missouri Attorney General's Office recommends carefully selecting contractors for web design and hosting services. Koster recommends asking for references and a list of prior clients. Consumers can also check with the Better Business Bureau and the Attorney General's office for complaints regarding specific businesses.
Consumers who have contracted with Stadia Studio, LLC, Michael Allton, or Social Media Hat for website design, development, or hosting services that they have not received should contact the Attorney General's Consumer Hotline at 1-800-392-8222 or online to file a complaint.