The Federal Trade Commission is mailing 426 refund checks totaling more than $950,000 to consumers who were victimized by a scam that promoted video rental machines as a business opportunity. This mailing, combined with checks previously mailed by the FTC, will increase the total funds returned to consumers by the FTC in this matter to nearly $4 million.
The additional funds are a result of the FTC’s court victory in a collection action against the estate of the tenth and final defendant, Anthony Andreoni. The FTC is continuing to liquidate assets awarded in this case so that additional funds may be returned to injured consumers in the future.
The FTC alleged in its case against American Entertainment Distributors, Inc., that the defendants – five companies and five individuals – deceived consumers into paying $28,000 to $37,500 apiece for video rental vending machines by telling them they could expect to earn between $60,000 and $80,000 a year, or recoup their initial investment in six to 14 months. In fact, according to the FTC, the defendants had no reasonable basis for their claims and all investors lost money.
The refund amounts will vary depending on the amount lost by each consumer; over 400 refund checks will be for more than $1,000. The checks will be mailed by an administrator working for the FTC on August 30, 2013, and must be cashed on or before October 29, 2013. Consumers who have questions, or who have not yet filed a claim with the FTC and wish to do so, should call the Redress Administrator, Gilardi & Co. LLC, toll free, at 1-866-271-9147.
Remember: The FTC never requires consumers to pay money or provide information before redress checks can be cashed. Consumers should carefully evaluate claims about business opportunities. For more information see: Going into Business.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.