The Texas Attorney General’s Office has sued three Oregon companies for allegedly misleading Texas consumers into paying for “bogus” publication subscription renewals that the companies were not authorized to sell.
Citing deceptive trade practices, the federal suit was filed Monday, March 31 and names Liberty Publishers Service, Express Publishers Service and Orbital Publishing Group as defendants.
“These companies engaged in deceptive practices that not only negatively impacted the people who unsuspectingly sent them money, they also damaged the business reputations of the newspapers and magazines whose names the companies co-opted,” said Attorney General Ken Paxton.
“The people of Texas must have confidence that the companies they do business with are operating in good faith and within the scope of the law, and my office is committed to stopping those who seek to game the system for their own illicit benefit.”
The defendants allegedly mailed millions of unsolicited postcards and letters to consumers nationwide – including consumers in Texas – that offered to renew newspaper or magazine subscriptions, according to the lawsuit.
However, that the defendants have no affiliation with the publications they offer to renew, nor do they have authorization from the publications to sell or solicit renewals on the publications’ behalf, the suit states.
Consumers who paid the defendants were charged 100 to 200 percent more than they would have been if they renewed using an authorized sales agent of the publisher. Many consumers who paid the bogus renewal fee never received the promised publication, according to a March 31 Paxton press release.
Attorneys General for Missouri, Minnesota, New York and Oregon are filing concurrent lawsuits.
The State of Texas is seeking restitution, injunctive relief and civil penalties of up to $20,000 for each violation of the DTPA.