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O No!! Lawsuit Alleges Fraud

12/1/2006 2:47 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

O MagazineAn angry O Magazine reader has filed a class action lawsuit against the mag and the publishers, alleging a scam designed to "trick, deceive and scare" subscribers into paying money they don't owe.

According to a lawsuit obtained by TMZ, Linda Hall claims that in December, 2005 she ordered two one-year subscriptions to O Magazine -- one for her, the other a gift. She says she paid in full for both subscriptions the same month she ordered them.

In April, 2006, Hall claims she received a letter from Hearst Magazine, informing her she was "past due" and threatening that if she did not pay for the subscriptions, her credit standing would be put "at risk."

Hall claims she paid the invoice even though she had already paid for the mags.

Hall alleges the letter and invoice she received "are part of a nationwide scheme and artifice designed and implementedOprah photo gallery: Click to launch by defendants to trick, deceive and scare their subscribers into paying money to defendants for subscriptions which subscribers have already paid for in full."

Hall's class action lawsuit asks for compensatory and punitive damages, as well as an injunction barring the alleged practice.

In addition to O Magazine, the Hearst Corporation and Hearst Magazines are named as defendants. The talk show queen is not personally named as a defendant.

Calls made to O Magazine and Hearst were not immediately returned.


37 COMMENTS

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1.

chopchop    

I have received letters in the mail just like the one described above regarding past due magazine subscription payments. They always threaten to post the past due balance on your credit report. To my understanding, they cannot do that if they don't have your social security number. When starting a subscription they never need you ss#, just your name and address. The person filing the lawsuit has nothing to worry about.

2846 days ago
2.

p1tey1    

Yet another frivilous lawsuit.

Way to waste taxpayers dollars!!!

2846 days ago
3.

Jonathan    

SUCH BS. A simple phonecall to the subscription department would have taken care of this. People are so f***ing stupid, I can't take it.

2846 days ago
4.

Jim    

Every damn magazine in the world pulls this one. I hope she wins!

2846 days ago
5.

Gimme a Break...    

I constantly get early renewal bills from my magazine subscriptions. I got one yesterday for a subscription that doesn't even end until April 2007. I do think they are trying to trick me into paying early, but I'm not going to sue over it!

2846 days ago
6.

L    

OMG!! I had the same thing happen with the Rachel Ray magazine!! It was ridiculous!! I emailed them letting them know what occured and cancelled my subscription. They are thieves!!!!!!!!!

2846 days ago
7.

anon    

Had the same issue with a subscription I bought with Hearst...different magazine though. I called them and cancelled the whole subscription it made me so mad. I hope she cleans their pipes. I was sent several threatening mailings, including one exactly the same as this article describes.

2846 days ago
8.

kc    

How stupid. If you payed then there's a paper trail of it. You call customer service and inform them of this and they say sorry for the mistake and that's the end of it. You don't go and pay again and then sue that is just ridiculous. What time more time and effort, calling CS or filing a lawsuit? The scammer here is the idiot who filled the papers not the magazine.

2846 days ago
9.

Lisa    

That dress is hideous! I can't stand the woman.

2846 days ago
10.

Leesa    

Happens all the time with me and not only magazines. I'm not so concerned with the magazines and their threat of afffecting my credit status .... I'm more concerned about these invoices I receive that say I owe money (sometimes in the hundres of dollars). False invoices that actually look real. If I had someone else paying my bills, it most likely would have been paid - no questions asked, because it looked authentic. Now, this is a scam. I usually take it to my bank and they turn it over to the DA to follow up on.

2846 days ago
11.

Es    

This lady is wasting her money. You can't sue for a billing error.

2846 days ago
12.

bonnie    

My mom just had this happen to her with Readers Digest. They tried to tell her that her subscription was up and she had to pay them or lose the subscription. But her subscription had another year added on. These magazines are stupid. They try every trick to steal money from subscribers.

I hope she wins the suit! Maybe it would make these magazines think twice before hurting those that support them.

2846 days ago
13.

same here!    

the same thing happened to me and my subscription to JANE magazine. Not only did they send that similar kind of threatening letter, the letter BELITTLED me by saying something like "we THOUGHT you were one of us, I guess we were WRONG" - that kind of thing; I was disgusted that they would send me a letter like that that stooped to the scare tactics of a high school clique. Cancel my subscription Jane, I'm over your issues and I'll never buy another one as long as I live.

2846 days ago
14.

billyboyhere    

Stars like Oprah and others need to step in here and go after the "orginzations" that this part of their "publishing" is outsourced to. Most stars dont realize these supposed "subscription departments" are usually not part of their Empire but outsourced to professional bill collector, pressure putting on type Pros that scare, con, trick, double bill, and ignore until threatened, poor consumers.

The same kind of scam occurs in those late night infomercials you see around real estate, start your own business, get rich fast kinds of groups----the Pros you see on TV all use these outfits generally based out of Utah or Florida where consumer laws are weaker than elsewhere.

Same thing going on here when you peel back the onion...it aint Oprahs people per se doing this, but its her name and she and others ought to lead the fight to spare the consumer to have to take on these outfits alone when they are double billed, ignored, or dont stop the subscription when requested.

2846 days ago
15.

teeks    

WHAT AN IDIOTIC LAWSUIT. Companies make billing errors all the time. You don't sue them, just show proof of payment! All she has to prove is that she paid the first time, show a copy of a receipt from her credit card or something. I HIGHLY doubt they are trying to trick people into paying twice, as she says. She should have to pay the court fees on both sides for bringing a frivolous lawsuit. This is why our courts are clogged up.

2846 days ago
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