|October 18, 2010
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
|en Español||Print Version||Tweet|
TALLAHASSEE, FL - Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that his office has reached an agreement with Rodale, Inc. publishing company for charging consumers for books or magazines the consumers never ordered. Rodale publishes and sells Prevention, Men’s Heath, Women’s Health, Organic Gardening and other magazines, and also publishes and sells books, newsletters and other products on the subjects of health, fitness and related topics. Rodale sells its products and offers program memberships on several of its web-sites. The settlement resolved issues related to Rodale’s trial offers, automatic subscription renewals, and automatic shipments.
The Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division began investigating Rodale when consumers complained that they were receiving books they had not ordered, or were billed for products never ordered or not received. The investigation revealed that Rodale offered free trials of its books and magazines and billed consumers if they did not return the books or cancel the magazine subscriptions, and then enrolled the same consumers in automatic renewals of magazines or automatically shipped books to them, allegedly without specific consent from consumers.
As part of the settlement, refunds will be offered to Florida consumers who were enrolled in a trial offer, automatic renewal or automatic shipment plan online through third party advertisers who had contracts with Rodale to sell Rodale’s products. Refunds will also be offered to Florida consumers who paid for Rodale’s products or services only after receiving several invoices from Rodale requesting payment. In addition, Rodale will provide refunds to other consumers who notify Rodale that they paid for a product or service that was not ordered.
In addition to the customer refunds, the companies will pay up to $1.3 million to the Attorney General’s Office for attorneys' fees and costs and for future investigation and enforcement. Rodale agrees to advertise in a way that clearly and conspicuously tells consumers about the terms and conditions of its plans and assures that consumers have agreed to automatic renewals and automatic shipments before enrolling them in such programs. Rodale cooperated fully with the Attorney General’s investigation.