Bondi announces million-dollar settlement with Md. company

Jessica M. Karmasek Aug. 8, 2011, 10:18am


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) -- Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced Friday a settlement with Maryland-based Encore Marketing International that includes $1 million in restitution for state consumers.

Encore is one of many companies that market club memberships in connection with the sale of goods and services, Bondi said.

After consumers make online or telephone purchases of such goods and services, they are offered discounts or other incentives for becoming club members with companies such as Encore, a practice known as post-transaction marketing.

The failure to disclose recurring fees associated with club memberships is a violation of Florida's Unfair and Deceptive Trade Act.

"Consumers deserve to have a clear and prominent disclosure of any fees associated with a transaction, and we are committed to protecting Floridians from deceptive practices," Bondi said in a statement.

The Assurance of Voluntary Compliance with Encore requires the company to make clear and prominent disclosures about memberships in online offers and in telemarketing scripts.

The company also will establish a $1 million notification and restitution program for Florida enrollees and pay the Attorney General's Office $200,000 in fees and costs.

Bondi's office said consumers will need to submit appropriate claims asserting they enrolled in a membership program and then were charged recurring fees without their authorization.

In addition to the settlement, the Attorney General's Office said it will continue to investigate post-transaction marketing to ensure that proper disclosures are made.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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