State officials have helped a Fairfield woman get back most of the money she paid to a Texas company that promised her big profits in what Attorney General Tom Miller calls a “coupon scam.” Mayumi Koida is originally from Japan but moved to Fairfield in 1984 and is now a US citizen. She’s getting over $100,000 back to cover her expenses, most of which she charged to credit cards. The Attorney General says his office went to bat for her after investigating her deal with Coupon Connection of America.Miller says the company has agreed to quit doing business with Iowans. Miller says the company offers to print coupons for local businesses, like restaurants, and the person who agrees to serve as a local coupon marketer gets about a quarter for every coupon that’s used. Miller says the scheme doesn’t make money and Koida, the woman from Fairfield, was scammed. Miller says Koida was “contacted, solicited and then called and called and sold different projects and different labels.” Miller believes she probably sent the company $125,000. Miller says there were some danger signs in some of the marketing materials luring Koida to do business with the Texas firm. Miller says “what happens here is that people want to get ahead, they want to do the right thing, they want to succeed, they want to make money and people play off that good human tendency” and he says the company “really misrepresented” the profits Koida might make. Koida did not show up for the news conference Miller’s staff arranged to announce her settlement, but arrived in the Attorney General’s office an hour late. She talked with Radio Iowa by phone this afternoon after Miller handed her the final payment from the company. Koida says she’s “really, really happy” and feels lucky to have recovered her money. Koida says after a few month of dealing with the company, she knew they were shady dealers and she started asking for her money back. Koida says “it really became clear that the company was no good.” She turned to the consumer protecton division of the Attorney General’s office for help, and a staff attorney worked countless hours on her case. Koida says the company ran up her credit card debt, and she was forced to think about filing for bankruptcy. “It was a very hectic experience,” Koida says.
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