State Calls Language Tape Offer a Fraud

     SEATTLE (CN) – The Philadelphia man who runs Internet Order LLC offers Pimsleur-branded foreign language tapes for “only $9.95,” but then bills victims for as much as $1,024, Washington’s attorney general claims in court.
     Washington sued Internet Order LLC dba Stroll dba PimsleurApproach.com and its founder, CEO and co-owner Daniel Roitman, on Monday in Federal Court.
     Roitman et al. offer “Pimsleur-branded foreign language-learning audio courses primarily through their Internet website www.pimsleurapproach.com,” the complaint states. “They advertise the audio courses for ‘only $9.95.’ However, upon signing up for this offer, the consumer is unwittingly enrolled in a negative option plan, which obligates the consumer to receive up to four additional audio courses at a cost of $256 per course. Thus, while the consumer thinks the total obligation is ‘only $9.95,’ his or her obligation may be as high as $1,024, which is 10,291 percent more than the original advertised price of $9.95.”
     If a customer notices the extra charges, he or she is “subjected to high pressure ‘save’ techniques for which the customer representatives are incentivized by receiving financial rewards,” the attorney general says.
     And that’s not all: Roitman will not refund money unless the customer demands it within 30 days; and if he does, he charges a $64 “restocking fee,” in violation of his “100 percent money back guarantee;” and if customers refuse to pay, he sends them threatening letters, the attorney general says.
     “They place a partial Social Security number on their collection letters, and threaten to send delinquent accounts to a collection agency, even though defendants do not have the customer’s Social Security number and do not intend to send the account to a collection agency. More than 38,000 Washington consumers have purchased language-learning CDs from defendants,” the state says.
     The state seeks an injunction and penalties for consumer law violations, unfair and deceptive collections, unfair and deceptive trade, violation of the Unsolicited Goods Act, misrepresentation, failure to disclose material terms of an offer, and violations of the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act.

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