A Florida-based online retailer has agreed pay $135,000 in refunds to Iowans who may have unwittingly agreed to monthly membership charges. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says BestBrandValues.com sells a variety of products including books, videos, posters and vitamins.
Almost 4,000 Iowans who bought something from the company also clicked on an offer to receive a $5 discount. “And by getting the $5 savings, without knowing it, you would sign up for their membership club and be charged $9.95 to $19.95 a month on an ongoing basis,” Miller explained.
Details of the membership charges were disclosed in the $5 savings offer, but not many people would see it. “The disclosure that people would be in the membership club and what they would pay would be in very small print,” Miller said. “The whole business plan was tricking people.”
In many cases, Iowans paid the membership fee for several months because they did not pay close attention and see the charges were showing up on their credit card or bank statements. A customer list was obtained from the company and Iowans who are due a refund will be contacted by the Attorney General’s office.