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$8.7 Million Refund Checks Sent After “Free-Trial” Offers

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$8.7 Million Refund Checks Sent After "Free-Trial" Offers
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FTC Sending Refund Checks Totaling More Than $8.7 Million to Consumers Defrauded by Deceptively Marketed Online “Risk-Free Trial” Offers

The Federal Trade Commission is mailing refunds totaling more than $8.7 million to 187,425 consumers who signed up online for “risk-free” trial offers, but were then charged full price and enrolled in expensive continuity plans without their knowledge.

The refunds are the result of several orders settling the FTC’s allegations against San Diego-based Triangle Media Corporation and related defendants.

According to the FTC’s June 2018 complaint, the defendants marketed and sold a variety of products online, including skin creams, electronic cigarettes, and dietary supplements.

Using third-party websites, blog posts, and surveys, the defendants advertised trial products for just the cost of shipping and handling, but after a limited trial period, then charged up to $98.71 for the products and enrolled customers in costly negative option plans without their consent.

The FTC also alleged the defendants used deceptive order confirmation pages to trick consumers into ordering additional products for full price, enrolling them in additional negative option plans. The court orders resolving the FTC’s complaint bar the defendants from such illegal conduct and required them to turn over more than $9 million in assets, which are being used to provide the refunds announced today.

Rust Consulting, Inc., the refund administrator, will begin mailing checks today.

Consumers who receive a refund check should cash or deposit it within 90 days, as indicated on the check. The average check amount is $47.

Consumers who have questions about this refund program should contact the redress administrator at 1-877-625-9411. The FTC never requires consumers to pay money or provide information to cash refund checks.

The FTC’s new interactive dashboards for refund data provide a state-by-state breakdown of these refunds, as well as refund programs from other FTC cases. In 2019, FTC actions led to more than $232 million in refunds to consumers across the country.

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