N.J. company settles with Iowa attorney general

Bryan Cohen Dec. 29, 2011, 2:00pm


DES MOINES (Legal Newsline) - Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced a settlement on Tuesday resolving allegations that a New Jersey direct television marketing company charged unknowing Iowans for a membership program.

Telebrands Inc. of Fairfield, N.J., is a designer, manufacturer and promoter of personal care, pet care and home products it features on television infomercials. Miller alleged that the company enrolled customers, often without their knowledge, in its Everyday Savings Club when they purchased those items online or by phone, SourceMedia Group News reports.

The Everyday Savings Club purported to save consumers money through beauty and wellness, recreation, travel, entertainment and shopping programs. Telebrands allegedly charged consumers between $14.95 and $19.95 per month for club memberships.

"Too often, purchases from Telebrands led to month after month of membership charges to a consumer's credit or debit card for a membership the consumer didn't want, didn't use, and didn't even know about," Miller said, according to SourceMedia Group News.

The assurance of voluntary compliance agreement requires Telebrands to comply with Iowa's Buying Club Memberships Law in connection with any sales of its memberships in the future. The company must pay a $10,500 payment for refunds and make a $2,000 payment to the state for consumer fraud enforcement.

Telebrands denied any liability as part of the agreement.

The agreement will allow for full refunds to be made to all of the 242 Iowans who were charged for memberships and have not already received refunds. The company is providing a customer list and refund checks are expected to be mailed out within a few weeks.

Telebrands' TV-advertised products included Robo Stir, Chef Basket, Pasta Boat, Royal Heirloom Ring, One Second Needle and Aluma Wallet. The Iowa Buying Club Memberships Law requires companies to make specific written notices to ensure that consumers understand they are being enrolled in an ongoing membership - notices that Telebrands allegedly failed to provide.

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