Authorities In Five States Suing Magazine & Newspaper Subscription Service Accused Of Fraud

The attorneys general of five states have filed a lawsuit against a company they say is peddling magazine and newspaper subscriptions it isn’t authorized to sell, and charging highly inflated prices for them to boot.

Authorities in New York, Oregon, Minnesota, Missouri and Texas are accusing Oregon-based Orbital Publishing Group Inc. and eight other third-party subscription companies of charging mostly elderly readers as much as double the actual price for a slew of subscriptions and renewal offers in a nationwide scam, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Subscriptions to that same publication as well as the New York Times, Old Cars Weekly and Turkey & Turkey Hunting and our older, wiser sibling Consumer Reports are included in the list of publications involved in the alleged scam.

The suits claim that the companies mailed out millions of solicitations to consumers around the country without the permission of the publishers. A total of 44 publications have filed complains in the five states accusing the companies of targeting their readers.

In one example, WSJ readers allegedly received renewal offers from one company for $499.95 a year when a subscription costs $413. In another, companies offered Consumer Reports for as much as $59.95 a year, though the actual price is $29.95.

These companies would then fulfill the subscriptions themselves on the publications’ websites and keep the difference for themselves, the lawsuits allege.

“It is illegal under New York law to trade on the name of reputable publications and use deceptive advertising to trick consumers into overpaying for goods and services,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in a press release.

The lawsuits ask judges in each state where they’re filed to bar the companies from soliciting subscriptions and submit lists of all affected consumers, and require full monetary restitution for those scammed.

Subscription Service Accused of Fraud [Wall Street Journal]

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