Perhaps you’ve had that feeling after a late-night informercial-fueled shopping spree, that, “Why did I buy four mini desk fans in various colors?” buyer’s remorse. While it’s one thing to do that to yourself, officials in New Jersey are accusing the company behind “As Seen On TV” gadgets and gizmo of forcing customers into a buying trap, with no way out other than buying more stuff.
State officials in New Jersey are accusing Telebrands — the company behind the Ped Egg, The Ankle Genie and something called Dump Cakes — of violating consumer protection laws by trapping customers in a labyrinthine automated phone and online ordering system that resulted in unwanted purchases, reports the New Jersey Star-Ledger.
New Jersey says phone callers were prompted to buy other items than the ones they originally intended, without providing any kind of way to opt out, resulting in customers buying more crap than they wanted. The call would end without allowing customer to confirm their order before authorizing charges and without getting a total cost. There was also no chance to connect to a live customer service representative, officials claim.
In addition, the state says the company’s website isn’t clear about what customers are actually ordering or paying for, and wouldn’t let shoppers edit their virtual shopping carts.
The state says it got 340 complaints from consumers regarding Telebrands in the last two years, and has conducted its own undercover investigations to bolster its claims.
New Jersey says Telebrands is also on the hook for reneging on terms of a 2001 agreement that settled a previous lawsuit, where it promised to abide by consumer protection laws.
“As demonstrated by its alleged actions, Telebrands cannot be trusted to do right by its customers or to even honor its own 2001 pledge to follow our consumer protection laws,” acting state Attorney General John Hoffman said in a statement. “We are bringing this action to end the abusive business practices that Telebrands allegedly is inflicting upon consumers.”
Telebrands’ founder and chief executive officer A.J. Khubani says the company is “confident this matter with the state of New Jersey will be resolved in short order.”
“We take pride that for more than three decades, tens of millions of consumers have trusted TeleBrands for delivering innovative products,” Khubani said in a statement. “Consumer satisfaction is always our top priority.”
‘As Seen on TV’ products company scammed customers, N.J. authorities say [New Jersey Star-Ledger]