Florida AG settles with publisher over allegedly deceptive practices

By Bryan Cohen | Jun 24, 2013

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) - Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced a settlement Friday with a Connecticut-based book and DVD publishing company that allegedly engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices.

Boardroom Inc., a corporation that publishes financial, nutrition and health books, newsletters and DVDs, allegedly marketed its products by using trial offers and automatic subscription renewals, also known as negative option plans, without making conspicuous and clear disclosures to consumers.

"Trial offers and automatic renewals that do not fully disclose all risks and obligations to the consumer are becoming more common and are a violation of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act," Bondi said. "My office will remain committed to protecting Florida consumers from deceptive business practices."

Consumers also allegedly received publications they did not order and multiple bills for the publications. Boardroom allegedly made numerous representations that the products it offered were free, while failing to disclose risks and obligations tied to the free offer.

Boardroom Inc. completely cooperated with Bondi's inquiry.

Under the terms of the settlement, Boardroom Inc. will mail refund notices to approximately 35,000 consumers, provide a total amount of up to $1.8 million in refunds to eligible customers, obtain the proper consent and make appropriate disclosures to consumers regarding automatic subscription renewals, modify its representation and use of the term "free" in relation to negative option marketing and cease deceptively representing the content or benefits of its products.

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