The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on September 11, 2012 that it is returning $2.3 million to 93,086 consumers who purchased the Google Money Tree work-at-home scam. In July 2009, the FTC filed a lawsuit against the marketers of Google Money Tree also known as Google Pro, Google Treasure Chest, and Internet Income Pro alleging that they had “charged hidden fees to consumers’ credit card and bank accounts.” According to the FTC, the companies falsely claimed to be affiliated with Google and promised purchasers that they could earn $100,000 in six months. The FTC charged that the work-at-home kit did not provide a method for earning the promised income. In addition, the FTC found that the companies charged a recurring monthly fee of $72.21 which was not disclosed on the initial sign-up pages, on the payment information pages, on the confirmation pages, or in the confirmation e-mails.
As part of the settlement agreement, the companies are banned from selling products through what is known as “negative option” transactions. According to the FTC, in this type of transaction, the companies interpreted the consumers’ silence or inaction as permission to charge them. The companies are also banned from making misleading or unsupported claims when marketing or selling any product or service.
Consumers who purchased the Google Money Tree, Google Pro, or Google Treasure Chest will receive approximately $24.50. Checks were mailed on September 11, 2012 and must be cashed on or before November 12, 2012. The checks will come from the Redress Administrator, Gilardi & Co. LLC. Consumers who have questions or who have not yet filed a complaint should call 877-226-2847 or visit the FTC’s refunds website.
Your BBB advises consumers to always check out a company’s BBB Business Review online at www.evansville.bbb.org or by calling 812-473-0202 before making a purchase.
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