by: Jim Strickland Updated:ATLANTA, Ga. —
Eight-thousand Georgians will get back $526,000 in a settlement with a notorious marketing company. Many didn't even know they had spent money until it was too late.
"Fair to call this a scam?" Strickland asked consumer protection chief John Sours.
"I certainly think it's a scam," he replied. "I consider the conduct they were engaging in to be was parasitic."
Sours said 47 states will share in a $30 million settlement with Connecticut marketing company Affinion and two subsidiaries.
Jan Taylor of Woodstock blew the whistle to Strickalnd six years ago, after discovering a string of mysterious charges on her bank statement.
She had signed up for two free offers included in her mortgage statement, then discovered years later to be enrolled and getting billed for in two discount buying clubs.
"I feel by looking at my records it's probably $500 to $600," said Taylor.
"You and I can both be assured that they made a whole lot more than $30 million out of this scheme," said Sours.
"To some extent we hope that they'll clean up their act."
Strickland obtained the following statement from Affinion spokesman Michael Bush:
"We are pleased to resolve outstanding concerns regarding our subsidiaries, Trilegiant and Webloyalty, with respect to certain legacy marketing practices for membership services. Both companies voluntarily ceased these practices several years ago, and they represented an insignificant contribution to revenues. The agreement does not include any fine or penalty payments. We have a long-standing history of employing the best marketing practices in the industry, and remain the industry leader in marketing standards and quality. Our programs provide tremendous value for millions of consumers worldwide, and we strive to ensure that our marketing always incorporates clear, prominent and unambiguous terms."