Bookspan Owes PA $40,000

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Bookspan is to pay $40,000 to Pennsylvania after being accused of mishandling orders for more than 450 customers, according to state Attorney General Tom Corbett's office.

A civil action filed in Commonwealth Court alleged that Bookspan failed to properly process, ship, charge and credit direct mail-order books for customers in Pennsylvania and nationwide. Bookspan advertised the sale of book club memberships through 2006 via direct mail and online transactions.

Prior to the filing, the Attorney General's office obtained more than $20,000 in savings for consumers who were entitled to products, refunds or credits on their book membership purchases.

Mr. Corbett said an agreement filed in Commonwealth Court resolved allegations of violations of Pennsylvania's Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law against Bookspan, Garden City, NY.

Consumers who bought the books claimed that their merchandise orders were incorrect or improperly handled. Many claimed that the company ignored their repeated requests to correct the problems or issue refunds until the attorney general's office intervened.

For example, consumers claimed that Bookspan failed to provide ordered merchandise, failed to provide it in a timely manner, shipped merchandise that was not ordered and billed consumers shipping and handling charges for incorrect merchandise.

The company also was accused of disputing consumers' claims that incorrect items were returned, failed to refund consumers for merchandise that was returned or never received, failed to apply bonus points or promotional credits that would reduce charges or provide complimentary products and overcharged consumers or billed them twice for the same order.

Bookspan, which operates more than 35 general and specialty book clubs, admits no wrongdoing. The company did not comment on the case despite numerous calls. Bookspan was fined $680,000 this year by the Federal Trade Commission for placing telemarketing calls to 100,000 people who had asked not to be contacted with sales calls.

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