The Snuggie, a body-length blanket with sleeves, was all the rage last holiday season. But some customers weren't feeling too cozy after they were duped by a rebate scam.
If you bought a Snuggie and received a surprise rebate check in the mail, the Better Business Bureau is warning you to read the fine print before endorsing it. The check is typically in the amount of $8.25 and it is a genuine rebate. Now here's the hitch: Once you cash the check, you're automatically enrolled into a service with annual fees of $150.
How does this scam work? When you purchase a Snuggie, your information - including your credit card number - may be sold to a company called Great Fun (also known as Affinion Group or Trilegiant). Great Fun issues a rebate, which has the following terms in fine print on the back of the check:
"I authorize Great Fun to charge the annual membership fee after my free trial. I agree to a thirty-day trial offer in Great Fun. I understand that the $149.99 annual membership fee will be charged to my credit card on file with Snuggie unless I cancel my membership."
By cashing the rebate check, you inadvertently agree to a membership and $150 is charged to your credit card, which they have on file. In Connecticut alone, the BBB has received almost 3500 complaints about Affinion Group.
Allstar Products Group, the manufacturer of the Snuggie, issued a statement to address these complaints. As far as they're concerned, Allstar Products Group never intended to deceive their customers. They claim that the offer is legal under federal and state law; the Great Fun program was a promo and terms were clearly stated in two locations -- on the check and in the accompanying letter. Allstar Products Group concludes by saying that this was a test program and checks were sent to a limited number of buyers. They do not intend to distribute the rebates to any more customers in the future.
Many as-seen-on-TV products, like the Snuggie, are now available at retail nationwide. You can also avoid third party scams by purchasing these items at retail stores.