Tennesseans may be entitled to refunds as a result of an agreement resolving allegations a company deceptively enticed consumers to enroll in a variety of discount club programs, Attorney General Bob Cooper announced today.
Tennessee and 46 others states and the District of Columbia named in its lawsuit and settlement Connecticut-based Affinion, and its subsidiaries Trilegiant and Webloyalty. The parties have agreed to pay the states more than $30 million.
Affinion and its subsidiaries run multiple discount clubs and membership programs offering a variety of services such as credit monitoring, roadside assistance, and discounted travel. Affinion markets these programs through a series of agreements with "marketing partners," including well-known banks and retailers. The partners often immediately offer programs to consumers after they make a transaction. Affinion's programs are marketed via direct mail, online, telemarketing, and through point-of -sale transactions. Affinion charges a monthly fee to consumers for these services, which continues until the consumers affirmatively cancel.
Consumers complained that Affinion charged them for services without consumers' authorization or knowledge. Some consumers reported that once they realized they were being charged for the services, they had trouble canceling or getting a refund. Other consumers were confused about who Affinion was because the offers looked like they came from its marketing partners, which usually were banks or retailers with which the consumers did business.
"I am pleased that money from the agreement will go directly to Tennesseans who were harmed by confusing and deceptive business practices in this case," Attorney General Cooper said. "Consumers should regularly check their credit card and bank account statements and should look for the names of Affinion's membership programs, because that is how the company's charges appear on their bills." A list of Affinion's membership programs can be found at http://www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral/cases/Affinion/affinionlist.pdf.
Today's agreement includes requiring Affinion to provide clear and conspicuous information to consumers after enrollment into its membership programs as well as periodic reminders of their enrollment, and changes to Affinion's cancellation practices.
The complete settlement terms and refund eligibility, and a complete list of Affinion's membership program, can be found at http://www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral.
Consumers who believe they were improperly charged by Affinion, Trilegiant, or Webloyalty may be entitled to restitution under the settlement and should file a consumer complaint with the Division of Consumer Affairs by February 14, 2014.