Magazine subscription scammers ordered to pay over $16M

Magazine subscription scammers ordered to pay over $16M

December 12, 2019

A ring of companies behind a magazine subscription scam was ordered to pay more than $16 million in restitution and fines, the New York Attorney General’s office announced Thursday.

Orbital Publishing Group, Inc. and other connected New York and Ohio-based companies were sued by the AG’s office in 2015 for mailing out millions of deceptive ads claiming to offer the cheapest prices to publications including The Economist, The New York Times, National Geographic and the Wall Street Journal.

But instead, the companies charged double what the publications themselves offered and didn’t specify the duration of the subscriptions — causing consumers to pay for renewals before their subscriptions had even expired, the AG’s office said.

Many of the publications had sent the companies cease and desist letters which were ignored, the AG’s office claimed.

The ring — which carried out the scheme for three years —  pocketed the profits, the AG alleged.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Carol Edmead in a ruling from Monday ordered the companies to stop any further deceptive practices and ordered them to pay $16,134,456 in restitution, penalties and other costs.

Earlier this year, the same ring of companies was ordered to pay a nearly $9 million fine by an Oregon Federal Judge after the Federal Trade Commission sued in 2016.

“The subscription to New Yorkers’ hard-earned money is cancelled for these deceptive magazine and newspaper companies,” said Attorney General Letitia James.

“This decision sends a message that, as the nation’s media headquarters, New York will not serve as a safe haven for those who aim to cheat, scam, and defraud our consumers. This is an important victory for the millions of New York consumers, who could of have been victims in the future,” James said.

A lawyer for the companies did not immediately return a request for comment.

Source: Read Full Article