EDISON –Dr. Leonard’s Healthcare Corp., will pay $35,023 under an agreement to conclude an investigation by the state Division of Consumer Affairs Division into allegations that the business charged consumers optional service fees via telephone without express authorization and made misrepresentations about the efficacy of merchandise. Dr. Leonard’s Healthcare did not admit to violating any consumer protection law in agreeing to the settlement.
The division began its investigation of the Edison-based company after receiving complaints from consumers, who said they were unaware that they would be enrolled in a paid membership after a free trial period ended unless they called to cancel membership beforehand.
Dr. Leonard’s Healthcare, which also does business as Dr. Leonard’s, Carol Wright Gifts, DRL Healthcare Corp., and Healthcare Direct, Inc., will donate $22,500 to a charitable organization that promotes recycling, under terms of the settlement. The balance of $12,523 will pay for reimbursement of the state’s investigative and legal costs.
As part of the settlement, the company is required to obtain a consumer’s express authorization before the consumer buys any merchandise that involves a recurring order. Also, under the terms of the settlement, the company must notify consumers at least 30 days prior to charging them for their recurring orders.
“This settlement ensures that consumers know that they are enrolling into a paid program after the free trial ends. Any ambiguity will be eliminated through the disclosures required in this settlement,” said Eric T. Kanefsky, Acting Director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file a complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 1-973-504-6200.