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Class Claims They Were Defrauded Online

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Clarus Marketing Group and Provide Commerce team up to defraud online shoppers by secretly enrolling them in and charging $9 to $20 a month for “membership” in a “club” – merely because shoppers click on an offer for “free shipping,” shoppers say in a federal class action.




     “Plaintiff is a victim of this scam, as are thousands of other class members who never agreed to join CMG’s FreeShipping.com Insiders-Club,” lead plaintiff Nicole Hall says.
     Hall says she was sucked into the scam when she bought flowers from Provide Commerce’s website, ProFlowers.com, using her credit card. She clicked on free shipping, she says, but “never joined any type of membership program, including F reeShipping.com lnsiders-Club.”
     Nonetheless, after a few months she discovered that Clarus (CMG) had been charged her credit card $11.97 a month. “She was surprised to see the charges by CMG since she had never done business with CMG, she never authorized such charges, and she never authorized Provide Commerce to provide her account information to CMG.”
     Provide Commerce is a Delaware corporation operating out of Eastgate Mall in San Diego. It runs at least five online shopping sites: RedEnvelope, ProFlowers, Cherry Moon Farms, Secret Spoon and Shari’s Berries, according to the complaint.
     Clarus is a Connecticut corporation that operates out of Wethersfield, Conn.
     Hall seeks disgorgement, restitution, class damages and punitive damages for fraud, false advertising, unfair business practices, unjust enrichment, conversion and violations of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
     She is represented by Vahn Alexander with Faruqi & Faruqi of Los Angeles.

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