Visionworks Class Action Says BOGO Free Eyeglasses Deal is Bogus

A Florida consumer is challenging Visionworks’ practice of offering “Buy One, Get One Free” or BOGO-Free deals for eyeglasses, saying the customers do not receive anything for free and pay more than the regular price for a single pair of glasses.

Headquartered in San Antonio, Visionworks is the third largest eyeglasses retailer, with over 700 locations across the country, mainly in strip malls.

Plaintiff Jennifer Mora contends that Visionworks deceptively uses the word “free” in its BOGO offers but instead actually marks up the price of the first pair of eyeglasses that consumers have to purchase to get the BOGO-Free deal. In fact, the Visionworks BOGO class action lawsuit states the company prices single pairs of eyeglasses at 40 percent less than the BOGO-Free price.

Specifically, when Mora took advantage of Visionworks BOGO free eyeglasses deal in May 2015 paying $628 for a pair of glasses, she had no idea she would actually be overpaying by $251.00. The $628 price for a single pair of eyeglasses was not Visionworks “ordinary and usual” price. Rather, the “ordinary and usual” price was actually 40 percent less than what Mora paid.

Mora also details she was duped by Visionworks a second time in June 2015 when she made a second BOGO free purchase for $669.93. As with her first purchase, this price was inflated to the tune of $268. At the time of both transactions, she had no idea about Visionworks alleged deceptive advertising tactics and only discovered the deception after she had already made her purchases.

“Visionworks unlawfully conducted its BOGO sales program with the express intent of misrepresenting the true costs of a set of eyeglasses in order to entice consumers to purchase a second pair and recoup additional profit,” the complaint states, “Visionworks accomplished this goal by inflating the price of the first pair of eyeglasses by approximately 40%.”

Sadly, this is not the first time Visionworks has been under fire for their alleged deceptive BOGO-Free deals. Since 2013, the national retail optical chain has been embroiled in litigation in Ohio and Illinois. These cases were both settled last year for $4.2 million. Yet, despite these settlements, Visionworks has continued to use the word “free” in their BOGO advertising – practices which the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) declares unfair and deceptive.

Mora is seeking to represent a Class of Florida consumers who purchased eyeglasses from Visionworks pursuant to a “Buy One, Get One Free” offer since 2013. The Visionworks BOGO Free eyeglasses class action lawsuit is seeking actual and punitive damages, as well, as injunctive relief.

Mora and the proposed Class are represented by Brian W. Warwick and Janet R. Varnell of Varnell & Warwick PA; Drew Legando, Jack Landskroner, and Tom Merriman of Landskroner Grieco Merriman LLC; and Mark Schlachet.

The Visionworks BOGO Free Eyeglasses Class Action Lawsuit is Jennifer Mora, et al. v. Visionworks of America Inc., Case No. 8:18-cv-00335-RAL-JSS, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division.

Bought a Snuggie or Magic Mesh Door? The FTC Is Sending $7.2 Million in Refund Checks

If you purchased a Snuggie, Magic Mesh Door, or other “As Seen on TV” product marketed by Allstar Marketing Group within the last 20 years, you may be receiving a refund check very soon.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced Monday that it is sending 218,254 consumers refund checks totaling $7.2 million, bringing resolution to claims Allstar deceptively marketing these products as “buy one, get one free” but never told customers about other hidden costs.

Allstar directly markets and sells – mainly through its commercials and infomercials – a host of products, including Magic Mesh, Cat’s Meow, Roto Punch, Perfect Tortilla, Forever Comfy, and Snuggies. According to Yahoo Finance, Allstar raked in over $500 million in gross revenue from its Snuggie products alone.

After receiving a slew of consumer complaints since 1999, the FTC filed a class action lawsuit against Allstar Marketing Group in March 2015. The complaint alleged that Allstar has engaged in a deceptive advertising scheme that allows them to illegally charge customers for more products they then initially wanted and intentionally makes the ordering process confusing for customers.

“The televised commercials for all of its products adhere to a nearly identical script,” FTC class action lawsuit stated, noting that all the products include a similar “buy one get one free” pitch. However, many of these commercials promoted the products for “just $19.95” and promised consumers the offer would be doubled for “less than $10 each.” But, those commercials never disclosed that a $7.95 processing and handling fee would be applied to each product in the order, which nearly doubled the total price to $35.85, according to the FTC’s complaint.

Essentially, when customers placed their orders via phone or online, they ended up paying more than they bargained for because these processing fees were deceptive and misleading – hidden in very fine print or never disclosed at all. Many customers didn’t even realize how much they were actually paying for the products until it was too late.

According to FTC regulations, businesses must disclose all costs, including processing and handling fees to customers. Under the terms of the settlement, Allstar is prohibited from engaging in deceptive advertising and must pay $7.5 million in restitution to consumers. Allstar maintains that it never violated any laws and is settling “without any finding” of such illegal conduct.

Consumers who purchased a Snuggie, Magic Mesh Door, or other Allstar-brand product can expect to receive a check this month for around $33 and will need to cash it within 60 days or it will become void.

If you have questions regarding the Allstar products deceptive BOGO free offer, you may contact the refund administrator, Analytics, at 1-877-982-1294.