Idahoans will be able to seek refunds from Classmates Inc. and Florists’ Transworld Delivery Inc., or FTD, as part of a settlement between attorneys general and the companies.
Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and attorneys general from 21 other states have accused the companies of engaging in misleading advertising and billing practices. Classmates operates a social-networking website at www.Classmates.com, and FTD operates a florist-delivery website at www.FTD.com.
The companies allegedly worked with third-party marketers to sign up their customers for discount-buying clubs and travel-rewards programs, “often immediately after the consumer made an online purchase with Classmates or FTD,” Wasden said in a news release. The companies then would share the customers’ personal information, including credit-card account numbers, without the customers’ knowledge. The third-party marketers then could bill the customers for these offers if they did not cancel.
The companies agreed to settle for $8 million without admitting any wrongdoing. Classmates also is setting up a $3 million restitution fund to provide refunds to consumers who were enrolled in a subscription service without authorization or who had trouble trying to cancel their Classmates subscriptions. FTD will pay $72,000 and Classmates will pay $132,000 to Wasden’s office for the office’s costs and fees.
Idaho consumers can seek refunds from Classmates by filling out a complaint form and sending it, along with documentation of the loss, to Wasden’s consumer protection division. The forms can be printed from the Consumer Complaints page at www.ag.idaho.gov.
“Idaho consumers should not be forced to pay for goods or services they did not request or authorize,” Wasden said.
Idaho settled similar allegations against two of Classmates’ and FTD’s marketing partners — Webloyalty Inc. and Affinion Corp. — in October 2013. That settlement included more than $19 million in restitution.
Terms of the settlement agreement prohibit marketing partners of Classmates or FTD from misrepresenting the reason for requesting a consumer’s account information; using FTD and Classmates’ names or logos in the title of a membership program; and calling an offer “free” or “risk free” if the offer actually will convert to a paid subscription.
The settlement is subject to the approval of the Fourth District Court.