Monthly Archive for: ‘November, 2010’

Direct Selling Companies Donate $16.5 Million to Today Show Toy and Gift Drive

The Direct Selling Association kicked off the 17th Annual “Today” Show Holiday Toy and Gift Drive by presenting the direct selling industry’s donation live in Rockefeller Plaza.

Forty-one direct selling companies donated a total of more than $16.5 million in products and cash to the Toy Drive. In its seven years of participation DSA member companies have donated more than $70 million in products, services and cash to the Toy Drive.

Participating companies donated items from books, stuffed animals and fashion accessories to clothing and toiletries for children and families across the country.

The “Today” Show Toy Drive is a project of the Today Show Charitable Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Donations are matched with the needs of more than 200 organizations with which the Today Show Charitable Foundation works. As part of this year’s Toy Drive, DSA member companies will send items to about dozens organizations in states from California to New York.

Companies from the smallest, newest member applicants to the largest, most established companies participated in this effort. Donations ranging from a handful of products to more than $7 million in products were received.

Connecticut Accuses Sellers of Kirby Vacuums of Unfair Sales Practices

The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection has referred to the Office of the Attorney General for enforcement a case against The Kirby Company, The Scott Fetzer Company, United Consumer Financial Services, and all Connecticut distributors of Kirby products.

“We allege that the Kirby and Scott Fetzer Companies, along with their distributors in Connecticut, have engaged in aggressive, high pressure and even unethical sales tactics, including in-home sales calls where sales representatives refuse to leave consumers’ homes, phone calls to consumers in violation of the state’s Telemarketing Act, selling used vacuum cleaners as new, targeting and preying on older residents,” says Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell We also have numerous claims of consumers’ carpets that have been damaged during a sales call. We believe it’s time for a clean sweep of their business policies and practices,”

United Consumer Financial Services, a national sales finance company specializing in consumer retail installment sales contracts owned by the Scott Fetzer Company, allegedly failed to ensure that Kirby dealers and representatives complied with laws pertaining to home solicitation sales contracts, including giving customers notice of the three-day right to cancel their purchase contract, and returning the consumer’s copy of the original contract upon cancellation.

Farrell is asking the Attorney General’s Office to file a civil action against The Kirby Company, the Scott Fetzer Company, United Consumer Financial Services, and the following Connecticut distributors of Kirby products in order to protect consumers from the unfair, threatening and abusive business tactics alleged by consumers in their complaints.

FTC Approves Final Order Settling Charges Against Former POM VP

The FTC has approved a final order settling charges that Mark Dreher, Ph.D., who was Vice President of Science and Regulatory Affairs of POM Wonderful LLC from approximately August 2005 to May 2009, made false and unsubstantiated claims that POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice and POMx supplements prevent or treat heart disease and prostate cancer.

The FTC Order bars Dreher from making any disease treatment or prevention claim in advertising for a POM Wonderful product unless the claim is not misleading and comports with FDA requirements.  The Order further prohibits Dreher from making other health claims for a food, drug, or dietary supplement for human use, including as an expert endorser, without competent and reliable scientific evidence to support the claim.

Visit the Web site for more information on the on the POM Wonderful case here and the complaint against Mark Dreher here.

Stream Energy Class Action Suit Dismissal Upheld in Georgia

The U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, has upheld the dismissal of a federal RICO lawsuit filed in Georgia against Steam Energy and its marketing arm, Ignite. The lawsuit claimed Ignite’s sales methods were a pyramid scheme.

The decision supports a previous ruling from the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia, Rome Division, upholding the existing agreements with Ignite’s associates to mandatorily resolve disputes in an arbitration setting.

The original lawsuit was filed on behalf of a purported class in October, 2009. It was a “copycat” action that followed an almost-identical lawsuit in Texas filed several months earlier. While the Texas lawsuit was dismissed by the Federal District Court at Houston in November 2009, the dismissal is currently under review by the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.

State Bar Honors Steve Richards for Volunteer Work

The Idaho State Bar Board of Commissioners has selected Steve Richards as a winner of the Denise O’Donnell Day Pro Bono Awards for performing exceptional volunteer legal work.

Steve was nominated by the Court Appointed Special Advocate (“CASA”) program for his volunteer work helping children. 

The award is scheduled to be presented to Steve on November 19 at the Idaho State Bar and Idaho Law Foundation  annual Resolution Meeting in Idaho Falls.

MonaVie and Amway Settle Lawsuits

MonaVie and Amway have settle their long-running lawsuits against each other, filing a joint statement to that effect in federal court in Utah.

The two companies had accused each other of making false claims about the other’s company and products.

The legal battle began in 2008, when Amway claimed that MonaVie had used false information about its products and their sales potential to steal away thousands of Amway’s independent distributors. Amway also accused MonaVie of illegally

MonaVie countered both by denying Amway’s claims and charging that Amway was intimidating some former Amway, now Monavie distributors.

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