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MemberWorks Tricked Customers, Class Says

CALDWELL, Idaho (CN) - MemberWorks Inc. gleaned consumers' credit card information when they called about other products and used it to charge them for membership programs they never ordered, according to a class action in Canyon County Court. "By this method, Defendants are able to accomplish the old and pernicious practice of mailing unsolicited merchandise and then tricking consumers into paying for it," the lawsuit claims.

The class says MemberWorks, now called Vertrue Inc., conspired with telemarketers and bait-product suppliers to rope customers into paying for unsolicited offers.

For example, according to the lawsuit, a customer who calls to order a Tae-Bo product would be given a deceptive sales pitch for an unrelated product.

MemberWorks allegedly pays the telemarketers and bait product suppliers a fee for each consumer they enroll in its membership programs.

The telemarketers then send the consumers' credit or debit card information to MemberWorks, which mails "free" 30-day trial memberships, the suit claims. MemberWorks allegedly bills the consumer $60 to $170 annually if they don't call to cancel, but it hides its phone number in a membership kit that's made to look like junk mail, in the hopes that customers will simply toss them.

The plaintiffs seek disgorgement and an order freezing the defendants' assets. They are represented by Philip Gordon.

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