By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
The Internet Order company, known for its product “The Pimsleur Approach” language software sold online, has agreed to pay a one million dollar fine to settle charges by the Washington Attorney General who alleges the company violated consumer protection laws by engaging in what is referred to as a Negative Option Trap.
Negative option billing, is the business practice of automatically billing a consenting consumer for products or services of which the consumer must pay or cancel in advance of delivery. Washington State law treats deceptive Negative Option Billing as a violation of the consumer protection act and also considers unsolicited goods delivered to a consumer to be gifts and the recipient has no obligation to pay.
The investigation began after an advertisement program offering to sell consumers a language instructional CDs for the introductory price of $9.95. Consumers complained that afterward they were unexpectedly billed for additional language CDs every sixty days for in some cases reportedly $64.00 each.