A.G. Healey demands fireworks retailer stop sending flyers to Massachusetts

Healey alleges Phantom Fireworks is violating state consumer protection law by mailing advertisements and discount coupons.

A Danvers resident who did not wish to be identified holds an armful of fireworks at Phantom Fireworks in Seabrook, New Hampshire.
A Danvers resident who did not wish to be identified holds an armful of fireworks at Phantom Fireworks in Seabrook, New Hampshire. –Lane Turner/Globe Staff

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is demanding that a fireworks retailer with stores in New Hampshire stop targeting its advertising to residents of Massachusetts, where fireworks are illegal.

In a cease-and-desist letter sent Wednesday to Phantom Fireworks, Healey alleges the company is violating state consumer protection law by mailing advertisements and discount coupons to Massachusetts addresses and highlighting the proximity of its New Hampshire stores.

“Phantom Fireworks knows its products are illegal in Massachusetts, yet we are hearing that residents are getting their advertisements in the mail,” Healey said in a statement.

Complaints about illegal fireworks being used in Massachusetts have soared during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Ohio-based Phantom Fireworks has three stores in New Hampshire, all close to the Massachusetts border.

Chief Executive Bruce Zoldan told The Boston Globe the company would review Healey’s letter and adjust its marketing strategy if necessary.

“We always follow the law,” he said.

Zoldan did note that his advertisements contain a notice that people should use fireworks in compliance with their local laws, and that they specifically state that fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts. He also told the Globe that many customers from Massachusetts come to his stores to buy products that they intend to use legally in New Hampshire or elsewhere.

“If a Massachusetts customer says, ‘I’m coming to buy your fireworks, I’m going to my aunt’s house in New Hampshire,’ I’m not allowed to advertise to that customer who comes every year and uses it properly?” Zoldan asked the Globe.

Also, a statement from Phantom Fireworks in response to Healey’s demands read, “We find it ironic that Massachusetts, the birthplace of former U.S. president John Adams, the author of the most iconic fireworks quote in American history, is the only state in the U.S. that totally bans the use of consumer fireworks.”

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