June 13, 2016

Consumer News Consumer Protection Class Action

Minnesota Magazine Company Sued for Deceptive Sales Tactics

State and federal laws protect consumers against deceptive sales tactics, abuses, and privacy infringements. In a recent development, Minnesota Attorney General, Lori Swanson, filed a lawsuit against Your Magazine Service Inc., a Minnesota magazine company, for using deceptive sales tactics to enroll consumers. The company targeted seniors selling magazine packages for up to nearly $1,000 each.

Elderly Consumers Signed Up for Packages They Repeatedly Declined
According to the complaint, the company used a sales scheme that targeted individuals who had already been sold magazine packages to sign up for additional products. In many cases, the elderly consumers were sold publications they had no interest in. In one case, the magazine company signed up an 87-year-old blind woman for magazines even after she told them that she couldn’t read them. Another 75-year-old man was sold packages totaling more than $4,000 for magazines he had no interest in.

Telemarketing Companies May Already Have Your Credit Card Info
The Attorney General is also sending a warning to consumers to watch out for telemarketing companies that may already have your credit card or banking information. Just by getting on the phone, you may end up getting charged for products that you don’t need or want. The lawsuit was filed in Carver County District Court and seeks civil penalties, restitution, and injunctive relief. Individuals who have been targeted or charged may be entitled to financial compensation.

Sales Scheme Used Prior Subscription Data
“Your Magazine Service” allegedly used consumers’ personal data and posed as an existing magazine to offer a fake credit on their existing account. Baiting elderly and unwitting consumers, the purpose of the telemarketing call was to enroll consumers into buying unwanted and expensive packages up to nearly $1,000. Some of these consumers were unknowingly sold multiple packages and billed monthly without consent.

Consumers Should Be On Alert
Personal data and call lists were purchased from a vendor then used to target consumers, many of whom were senior citizens. Telemarketing companies will often inflate prices for magazine subscriptions that can be purchased directly at a lower rate. If you are contacted by a telemarketing company, you should end the call immediately or ask the company to mail the offer so that you can review the fine print.

Minnesota residents should be wary of any telemarketer contacts them from a magazine company. Always be sure to review your credit card and bank statements each month so that you can identify unapproved or recurring charges. Never give out your banking information over the phone and always dispute unauthorized charges. In the event that you were illegally targeted, you also have the right to take legal action.

Wanta Thome PLC is currently investigating consumer claims related to illegal telemarketing practices. We are dedicated consumer rights advocacy in Minnesota and will pursue all available remedies for our clients. Please call 612-252-3570 to discuss your case with our St. Paul and Minneapolis data privacy and consumer rights attorneys.