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Direct Brands and Bookspan Membership Class Action Lawsuit

By Mike Holter


Columbia HouseA federal class action lawsuit claims Direct Brands and Bookspan — the companies behind Columbia House, Book of the Month Club, Doubleday Book Club and discount clubs — scam people into becoming members by offering a “one-time” membership “deal” for their discount book, music and movie clubs, and then forcing them to buy stuff at inflated prices and charge them penalties if they don’t buy enough.


“In order to induce consumers to sign up for the Clubs, Defendants offer introductory, ‘one-time’ deals to new members while intentionally failing to disclose numerous costs, penalty fees and obligations imposed by Defendants” in their membership agreements, the class action lawsuit states.


“Unbeknownst to many consumers, Defendants require that members purchase multiple books and/or movies at inflated ‘regular’ club prices in the year following registration. Additionally, unbeknownst to consumers, Defendants also impose penalty fees on members who fail to fulfill these purchase requirements for each of the Clubs.”


The Direct Brands and Bookspan class action lawsuit also takes aim at the Clubs’ use of the controversial practice known as “negative option billing,” in which goods are provided automatically to consumers periodically, and the consumer must take affirmative action to stop the shipment or else have their credit card on filed with Direct Brands and Bookspan charged. Numerous consumer protection groups and the FTC have criticized the practice of negative option billing because it causes consumers to frequently receive unwanted goods when they are unable to timely decline the unsolicited product.


The Direct Brands and Bookspan class action lawsuit is brought on behalf of all persons in the United States who enrolled in Defendants’ Clubs online, and all members of this proposed Class who have been charged by Defendants for failing to fulfill their membership commitment. It is asking that the Court award actual damages and costs to Class Members and declare the companies’ members agreement as invalid and unenforceable.


A copy of the Direct Brands, Bookspan Scam Class Action Lawsuit can be read here.


The case is Martha Cornett v. Direct Brands, Inc. and Bookspan, United States District Court, Southern District of California.


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Updated August 25th, 2011


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1 Comment

  • Tiffany Oneil February 14, 2013

    I had someone from Columbia house collection agency call me today saying I have an account with them since 2007 and in owe them 200 dollars which I have never heard of them nor did I ever sign up with them let me say in 2007 I was only 17 I tried telling this man that and he told me he is not asking me to settle the debt today he is telling me I’m going to after after that was said I told him to send me prof through mail and hung up and then he continued to call my husband what should I do

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