The Federal Trade Commission is mailing 3,615 checks totaling $708,586 to small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and other consumers who were tricked into paying for overpriced office supplies—including light bulbs and cleaning supplies—that they did not order. The average refund amount is $196.
The refunds are the result of a court order obtained against Lighting X-Change Company, LLC, which operated using several different names. The company’s telemarketers allegedly failed to disclose they were making a sales call, pretended they had a previous business relationship with the recipients, and falsely claimed that they wanted to send a free sample or catalog.
Instead, they sent light bulbs and cleaning supplies without disclosing the price up-front, and billed the recipients much more than market price for the products. Businesses that paid for the unordered products received additional unordered shipments, along with new invoices seeking payment.
In addition to banning the defendants from the illegal shipping and billing practices, the FTC’s settlement order imposes a $720,000 judgment, which the Commission is using to provide refunds.
Consumers who have questions about the refunds should contact the FTC’s refund administrator, Analytics Consulting, LLC, at 1-877-202-5930. Recipients should deposit or cash checks within 60 days, as indicated on the check. The FTC never requires people to pay money or provide account information to cash a refund check.
FTC law enforcement actions led to more than $2.3 billion in refunds for consumers in a one-year period between July 2017 and June 2018. To learn more about the FTC’s refund program, visit www.ftc.gov/refunds.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.