Edison-Based Company Agrees to Pay $35,023 to Conclude Investigation of Its Business Practices by the Division of Consumer Affairs
NEWARK - The Division of Consumer Affairs and Dr. Leonard’s Healthcare Corp., an Edison-based company that allegedly charged consumers optional service fees via telephone without express authorization and made misrepresentations about the efficacy of merchandise, have reached an agreement under which the company will pay $35,023 to conclude the Division’s investigation without the need for further action.
The Division began its investigation of the company after receiving complaints from consumers, who said they were unaware that they would be enrolled in a paid membership after a free trial period ended unless they called to cancel membership beforehand.
Dr. Leonard’s Healthcare, which also does business as Dr. Leonard’s, Carol Wright Gifts, DRL Healthcare Corp., and Healthcare Direct, Inc., will donate $22,500 to a charitable organization that promotes recycling, under terms of the settlement. The balance of $12,523 will pay for reimbursement of the state’s investigative and legal costs.
As part of the settlement, the company is required to obtain a consumer’s express authorization before the consumer buys any merchandise that involves a recurring order. Also, under the terms of the settlement, the company must notify consumers at least 30 days prior to charging them for their recurring orders.
“This settlement ensures that consumers know that they are enrolling into a paid program after the free trial ends. Any ambiguity will be eliminated through the disclosures required in this settlement,” said Eric T. Kanefsky, Acting Director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs.
Dr. Leonard’s Healthcare did not admit to violating any consumer protection law in agreeing to the settlement.
Deputy Attorney General Jah-Juin Ho of the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section within the Division of Law represented the Division of Consumer Affairs in this matter. Investigator Aziza Salikhov of the Cyber Fraud Unit within the Division’s Office of Consumer Protection conducted the investigation.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file a complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey ) or 973-504-6200.
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