News | Local

Department Of Justice Settles With Online Retailer

OPB | Sept. 6, 2013 3:38 p.m. | Portland

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The state Department of Justice has reached a settlement with an online retailer accused of defrauding Oregon consumers of more than a quarter million dollars.

Florida-based Best Brand Values has agreed to refund the money to more than 5000 Oregonians who unknowingly signed up for a shopping club that billed them $10 to $20 a month.

People buying discounted books and movies from the Best Brands site as well as several affiliates were automatically enrolled when they clicked on a blinking icon that said “free shipping.”

“It’s wrong and they’re taking advantage of people, often taking advantage of elderly people, and it’s evil,” said Jeff Manning, with the state Attorney General’s office.

As part of the Oregon settlement, he says, the company has agreed to change its websites to more clearly warn consumers about membership fees.  And it will pay $300,000 to a Justice Department consumer protection fund.

Iowa and Florida reached similar settlements with Best Brand Values.

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