Midland, MI asked in Business Law for Michigan

Q: Q: XYz plumb. sole prop. lies, states he's after hours phone service for XyZ & Mech. LLC. Recourse for the LLc?

People call the ph. number of xyz plumbing, a sole proprietor, by mistake. They want XYZ plumbing & mechanical LLC. Instead of xyz plumbing telling the person he has the wrong number, XYZ plumbing states falsely he is the "after hours" phone number for XYZ plumbing & mechanical LLC fully aware of taking the business from the LLC. Can anything be done to stop XYZ sole proprietor from impersonation?

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1 Lawyer Answer

A: First, confirm that XYZ Plumbing is registered to use the assumed name in your state and in your county. Michigan law requires that a sole proprietor or co-partnership file the business name (if different than the real name of the person) at the county clerk's office, and maybe also with the Michigan Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Filing the business name allows the public or anyone dealing with the business to find out who owns the business. Corporations, limited liability companies, and limited partnerships are filed with the State, not the Clerk's office. If they have not filed with the county where you are located, you may be able to file and use the shorter version of your company name as the d/b/a. A local attorney could advice you in this regard.

If they are making false representations to your customers, stating that they are your after hours service, they are interfering with your business and you may have a cause of action for damages (loss profits, maybe even damage to your reputation if their work is subpar). I would recommend discussing this with a local attorney that can write a "cease and desist" letter to the sole proprietorship requesting that they stop immediately, and take further legal action if they fail to stop.

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