If you’ve bought a Snuggie, a Perfect Tortilla, a Forever Comfy or any of a handful of other “as-seen-on-TV”-type products, you might be getting a refund.
Officials with the Federal Trade Commission said more than 218,000 checks are being mailed -- each worth an average of $33.14 -- to customers who bought products from the Allstar Marketing Group, a direct marketer based in New York. The company handling the refunds, Analytics, began sending refund checks to consumers Monday, according to FTC officials.
Authorities sued the company in 2015, alleging that it deceptively marketed its products by promoting a phony “buy-one-get-one-free” offer to consumers without disclosing additional costs for the deal.
In the FTC’s complaint, officials used as an example a commercial for the company’s Magic Mesh screen door.
“The company promised that it would ‘double the offer’ for consumers if they just paid ‘processing and handling fees,’” FTC officials said. “While consumers were led to believe that they would be getting two $19.95 products for ‘less than $10 each,’ in fact, the total cost with the undisclosed $7.95 ‘processing and handling’ fees jumped from the advertised price of $19.95 to $35.85.”
Officials also charged that customers who called Allstar Marketing were immediately prompted to share their billing information and were charged for products before they could indicated how many items they wanted to buy. The company would then attempt to up-sell customers using automated voice prompts and sometimes following up the process by sending consumers to other third-party sellers with even more sales pitches.
“Once all of the offers ended, consumers were not told the total number of items they’d ‘agreed’ to buy, or the total amount they would be billed,” the FTC alleged in its complaint. “Allstar even charged those consumers who hung up mid-call, not intending to complete a sale.”
A federal judge in Illinois ordered Allstar Marketing in 2015 to stop its alleged deceptive marketing and ordered the company to pay $7.5 million for refunds to affected customers.
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