Consumers who were willing to plunk down two dollars for information on how to make money quickly or gain U.S. government grants, wound up paying far more than they expected, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court.
In a lawsuit filed in the U.S., a consumer group accuses companies of stealing money from consumers by billing debit and credit cards for products they did not want. According to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission — a consumer protection agency — a variety of websites billed consumer's credit and debit cards hefty upfront fees and recurring monthly fees without the cardholder's consent.
The allegations in the suit have not been proven in court.
A total of 51 companies, 10 corporations and 10 individuals have been named in the legal action. According to the suit, one individual was behind the dizzying array of websites, shell corporations and companies. Nine others played various roles in the operation.
The statement of claim, filed in Nevada, said consumers were induced to pay a one-time fee of $1.99 to gain access to information on grant and wealth schemes. But then they were billed a fee of $129.95, and monthly fees of $59.95.
The parent company, I Works, came onto the radar at Visa and MasterCard when consumers began demanding millions of dollars in chargebacks, telling the credit card companies they had not approved charges that were showing up on their bills.