DES MOINES, Iowa (Legal Newsline) - Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced a court order on Monday against an Urbandale magazine sales operator that bans the company from telemarketing to Iowans and calling consumers in any state from Iowa.
Legion Marketing Services LLC and its owners, Christopher Bright and Brandy Bright, allegedly engaged in unfair and deceptive practices, including using survey-type questions to obtain information and create a false impression that Legion was involved in handling the consumers' magazine subscriptions. The defendants allegedly used credit card numbers and other information gathered through its deceptive practices to bill consumers.
When consumers complained to Legion about unauthorized charges, the defendants allegedly used heavy-handed collection efforts.
"This operation used misleading ploys to make consumers think they were dealing with the business that was already handling the household's magazine subscriptions," Miller said. "Many consumers who thought they were updating an existing subscription arrangement, or benefiting from a promotion offered by a company that was already serving them, unexpectedly found themselves saddled with multi-year contracts with an unfamiliar business, involving payments of more than a thousand dollars."
District Court Judge Michael Huppert ordered the defendants to refrain from any future marketing calls to or from Iowa. The defendants must cancel balances owed by consumers who complain or previously complained about the company's practices.
"The court order we obtained requires the defendants to immediately write-off the remaining obligation of any consumer who complains or has complained about Legion's practices," Miller said. "If a consumer runs into problems, he or she should contact our Consumer Protection Division."
Under the terms of the court order, the defendants would pay up to $40,000 per violation of the order and spend up to six months in jail if they willfully violate the order.
The defendants denied any wrongdoing or liability.