The Federal Trade Commission will mail more than 58,000 refund checks to consumers who lost money to Green Millionaire, an online site that claimed to provide free information and then billed consumers for a magazine they never ordered.
Nearly $2 million will be returned to customers—approximately 54 percent of consumers’ total estimated losses. Each consumer is expected to receive an average amount of $33.88.
Earlier this year, the FTC halted the scam in a settlement order against Green Millionaire. Green Millionaire featured a “free” book that promised to show consumers how to power their cars and homes at no cost and then billed them for an e-magazine they did not order.
According to the FTC complaint against Green Millionaire, Syndero, Scott Waltz and Nigel Williams, the defendants marketed a “Green Millionaire Book” on television and in internet ads.
The website allegedly asked consumers to provide credit card and bank account numbers to pay a small shipping and handling fee, without disclosing that they would be charged a two-month subscription fee of $29.95 or an $89.95 one-year subscription fee.
The defendants violated the FTC Act by failing to disclose the subscription fees and that customers would have to cancel it to avoid charges. The settlement order bars the defendants from using consumers’ billing information to obtain payment without consent and from making any misrepresentation in the sale of any good or service.