Wednesday, April 21, 2010

OC Bail Bonds Trade Group Sues Over Marketing

Glossy fliers the size of postcards with eye catching designs and eye popping colors greet everyone coming and going from the Orange County Central Men's jail.

They've been left by eager bail bondsmen trying to compete for the luccrative bail bonds business which is potentially coming in and out of the jail complex. This is the essence of guerilla marketing and it is esclating in Orange County. It extends into the parking structure adjacent to the jail, with vehicles wrapped in extra large colorful advertisements for each baondsman's respective bail bonds business.

Newport Beach attorney Richard P. Herman filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Orange County Bail Agents Association on to stop these guerrilla marketeers and their aggressive solicitation outside jails and police stations.

But some bail bond company owners contend it's legal absolutely legal and the bail bonds association is suing at the behest of other more established and powerful bail bonds companies. The association's lawsuit alleges that the agressive solictation creates an unfair playing field for other bail bondsmen.

Not coincidentally, the the newer bail bondsmen and the more established bail bondsmen are lined up on opposing sides of the issue. The newer businesses say they are doing what is their right to promote their business and attempt to grow it through innovative and creative methods. They complain that the more established bail bonds companies would rather not have to compete with the effective and aggressive methods, instead relying on their reputations and more traditional marketing practices.

The Orange County Bail Agents Association's lawsuit names Orange County and the city of Santa Ana as the defendantse. The lawsuit will be heard by U.S. District Judge Andrew Guilford. The lawsuit states bail companies are not allowed to send representatives into the public to solicit business. The matter will be decided in federal court soon enough.

Although this isn't the first time bail bond solicitation practices have been called into question, it is new territory for a bail bonds association to sue other local bail bondsmen over the matter. The issue of how a bail bondsman may market or solicit their services is a hotly contested one in many areas.

Bail bondsmen have made similar claims for agressive marketing of Las Vegas bail bonds, Miami bail bonds and San Diego bail bonds to name a few.