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Old 07-26-09, 04:03 PM
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Better Business Bureau issues warning over Snuggie scam

Better Business Bureau issues warning over Snuggie scam
03:33 PM CDT on Sunday, July 26, 2009
Eric Wilkinson /

The Better Business Bureau is giving a stiff warning about The Snuggie.

The Snuggie is a wearable blanket that was a hot seller last Christmas.

“It conjures up visions of coziness and relaxation, but it’s now making some consumers uncomfortable with its new rebate program,” says BBB spokeswoman Niki Horace.

After purchasing a $20 Snuggie, consumers receive a rebate check for $8.95 from Snuggie distributor Great Fun, which features the following inscription on the back:

"I authorize Great Fun to charge the annual membership fee after my free trial. I agree to a thirty-day trail offer in Great Fun. I understand that the $149.99 annual membership fee will be charged to my credit card on file with Snuggie unless I cancel my membership by calling 1-866-709-4170 before the end of the trial period. My membership will be automatically renewed and I will also be charged every year thereafter at the then-current fee unless I call to cancel for a refund of the unused portion of the current year's fee. By cashing this check I authorize Snuggie to securely transfer my credit card information to Great Fun for enrollment, billing and benefit processing."

By cashing this check, consumers are inadvertently agreeing to these trial membership terms—and if the consumer does not cancel—Great Fun will charge $150 on the credit card used to pay for the Snuggie.

In the last 36 months, Connecticut's BBB has received more than 3,000 complaints against Great Fun, also known as Affinion Group or Trilegiant.

"Those who cash the rebate check, without reading the back, may find themselves paying hundreds of dollars for a product that's worth very little,” said Robert W.G. Andrew, President and CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon, and Western Washington. The BBB recommends the following tips when shopping for infomercial products:

Shop carefully. Before you buy, check out companies at United States and Canada BBB Consumer and Business Reviews, Reports, Ratings, Complaints and Accredited Business Listings.

"Free" offers may cost you. When you purchase a product, beware that some companies share or sell your information to cover their costs. Get reassurance that your information will not be redistributed; look up the company's privacy policy or request a written contract before you pay. When buying from an infomercial, consider contacting your credit card company first to create a onetime use number with a limit for the exact cost of your purchase.

Cash checks with caution. Cashing checks from unknown parties could end up costing you more than it's worth. If you didn't work for the money, weren't expecting a check, or don't read the fine print, you could be at risk for inadvertently signing up for an unwanted service—or worse—check fraud or an advance fee scam. The bottom line: Never deposit unsolicited checks from unfamiliar sources.

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