Iowa Attorney General Brings Consumer Fraud Suit Against Trilegiant

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller has filed a consumer fraud action against buying club Trilegiant Corporation, alleging the company scammed Iowans into buying memberships in discount buying clubs and other programs.

"We allege that a large number of Iowans were paying monthly fees for so-called memberships that they didn't approve, they didn't use and didn't ever want." said Miller in a November 24, 2010 release from the Iowa Attorney General's Office.

According to the lawsuit, Trilegiant, a Delaware Corporation with its headquarters in Norwalk, Connecticut, enrolled Iowans in “memberships” for programs that offered savings on products and services such as home improvement purchases, health products, and entertainment expenses.

The Attorney General's office received over 200 complaints about the company and in the suit claims that those complaints showed that many Iowans whose credit cards were charged periodically by the defendants were unaware that they were members of the defendants’ buying clubs, and would have objected to those charges if they were aware of them. According to the Petition, the memberships typically involve an elusive premium used to lure the consumer in, and an allegedly “risk-free” trial period followed by charges to a consumer’s credit card, bank account, or other financial account if the consumer fails to cancel.

“Many consumers likely didn’t realize what would result from accepting some sort of ‘free trial’ offer or other types of promotions,” said Miller. “What really happened, we allege, was Iowans paid time and time again for memberships they didn’t know they had and never used.”

The lawsuit brings claims against Trilegiant pursuant to Iowa's Buying Club Memberships Act and Iowa's Consumer Fraud Act. The lawsuit also alleges that many Consumer Fraud Act violations were committed against older people and qualify for additional civil penalties provided by Iowa law.

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