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Arizona, other states reach settlement against marketer

PHOENIX -- Arizona and 46 other states have reached a $30 million settlement against a national marketer accused of misleading customers into signing up for discount clubs and memberships.

Connecticut-based Affinion and its subsidiaries, Trilegiant and Webloyalty, offered numerous services from credit monitoring to discount travel. Those services were offered by well-known banks and retailers after a customer completed an online purchase.

"Affinion charged them for services without authorization or knowledge," said Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne. "And when consumers learned they were being charged, some had trouble canceling or getting a refund."

Affinion would send consumers a "live check" that, when cashed by a consumer, would enroll them in membership programs and bill them.

But that wasn't the only way Affinion was pulling in members.

"There was an online data pass off where people were presented an Affinion offer immediately after an online purchase from a retailer," said Horne. "Affinion was then able to enroll the consumer without acquiring any account information because the marketing partner would pass that information."

In total, Affinion will have to pay out $30 million in fees and restitution. The company is setting up an account to return about $19 million to consumers.

Anyone who feels they were billed without permission by Affinion can file a claim with Horne's office by clicking here. Complaints must be filed by Feb. 14.

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