On-Line Scam results in Class Action

March 2, 2011 by

Clarus Marketing Group and Provide-Commerce have been hit with a federal class action lawsuit for defrauding thousands of online shoppers with a scam that unwittingly enrolls the shoppers into costly membership programs. Provide-Commerce operates many popular e-commerce companies, including RedEnvelope, ProFlowers, Cherry Moon Farms, Secret Spoon and Shari’s Berries.

The complaint alleges that the scam is simple. Plaintiffs and class members were shopping at one of the many websites owned and operated by Provide-Commerce. As they were completing their online purchases, Defendants provided them with an advertisement offering them “Free Shipping” on this and 12 future transactions. By merely clicking on that ad – they did not even have to accept the offer – Plaintiffs and the Class unwittingly agreed to join a membership program operated by CMG that costs around $9.00 to $15.00 per month. There was no indication whatsoever at any time during the transaction that repeat billing was part of the deal. Plaintiffs and the Class reasonably interpreted Defendants’ offer to be a reward for shopping this time around plus an inducement to come back and shop again later.

The complaint alleges that CMG and Provide-Commerce split the spoils – CMG pays Provide-Commerce bounties on each ‘acquisition’ – as well as certain commissions. According to the complaint, both have made millions in the process.

The Clarus Marketing Group and Provide-Commerce class action lawsuit is brought on behalf of all U.S. consumers who made or attempted to make a purchase on a Provide-Commerce e-commerce site; did not provide their credit card or debit card number or billing information directly to Clarus Marketing Group; and had their credit or debit card charged or bank account debited by CMG for membership fees or dues in FreeShipping.com Insiders-Club, Internet Insiders-Club, Movie Ticket Discounts, Insiders Coupons, or any other membership program maintained by CMG at any time within the last four years. It is seeking to end the deceptive practice, as well as to recover damages, restitution, punitive damages and attorney’s fees.

A copy of the Provide-Commerce, Clarus Marketing Group Class Action Lawsuit can be read here.

Steve Larson
An experienced trial lawyer who handles both hourly and contingent fee cases, Steve has expertise in class actions, consumer cases, antitrust litigation, securities litigation, corporate disputes, intellectual property disputes, unfair competition claims, employment matters, and disputes involving family wealth. Steve regularly represents individuals and businesses in federal and state court and has obtained class-wide recovery in multiple class actions. A veteran practitioner, Steve's clients value his creative approach to resolving complex litigation matters.

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