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State lawsuit claims company scammed customers

TRENTON (AP) — New Jersey officials say a Fairfield-based firm used high-pressure sales tactics to sell to customers and then made it difficult for them to get refunds.

Telebrand product Pocket Hose Ultra
Telebrand product Pocket Hose Ultra (YouTube)

State consumer affairs officials announced Wednesday that they have filed a lawsuit against Telebrands, which is known for its “As Seen on TV” products. It seeks restitution for customers and other penalties.

The five-count civil suit claims the firm scammed customers by aggressively pushing more expensive products, shipping and billing for products not ordered and using misleading advertising.

It also alleges that the company violated the terms of a 2001 agreement with the state that required it to comply with New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act.

“As demonstrated by its alleged actions, Telebrands cannot be trusted to do right by its customers or to even honor its own 2001 pledge to follow our consumer protection laws,” Acting Attorney General John Hoffman said. “We are bringing this action to end the abusive business practices that Telebrands allegedly is inflicting upon consumers.”

Telebrands said it was “confident” that the complaint could be quickly resolved.

The state is seeking restitution for the affected consumers, plus civil penalties and reimbursement of its investigative costs and attorneys’ fees.

The state’s Consumer Fraud Act provides for civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation. But based upon Telebrands’ alleged violation of the 2001 consent judgment, the state is seeking enhanced civil penalties of up to $20,000 for each violation.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 

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