Class Action Over ‘Club’ Charges Advanced in MN

     MINNEAPOLIS (CN) – A federal judge refused to dismiss a class action against a company that allegedly defrauds customers with expensive membership programs.
     Georgia resident Carol Maher claims in the complaint that she was sold the service when she called a number from an infomercial to order a dietary supplement.
     The representative processing Maher’s purchase offered her a membership in Taste for Savings for $1.95, but deflected questions about the program’s specific costs and benefits.
     Maher said she was told to expect information on the program in the mail.
     Though she allegedly never received information on Taste for Savings, Maher said she noticed some months later that she was incurring $24.95-per-month charges on her credit card for the program.
     Unable to to cancel her membership, Maher had to cancel her credit card to avoid further charges, the complaint alleged.
     Maher filed suit against the program’s creator, Sempris, and the company that she had called about the dietary supplement, Health Pure Products.
     U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery refused to dismiss the claims against Sempris on Wednesday.
     Though Sempris had claimed that Maher did not connect it to the as-yet unknown call-center company that employed the customer-service representative who took Maher’s informercial order, Montgomery disagreed.
     “Essentially, Maher alleges Sempris undertook the responsibility of fulfilling the representations John Doe made to Sempris customers, thus it is plausible that Sempris took an active role and interest in the representations made by the John Doe entity,” the opinion states.
     Sempris also failed to sway the court by claiming that Maher’s home state of Georgia does not allow consumer class actions.
     Noting the lack of clarity as to whether the laws conflict “in any meaningful way,” Montgomery said that the relationships between Maher, the company and the call center should undergo discovery before the court can make such a ruling.
     Maher is represented by Alicia Hwang with Edelson PC.

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