Minnesota helps secure $2.35M settlement with Adore Me retailer

ATTORNEY

Adore Me, a women’s clothing retailer, has agreed to a $2.35 million settlement over recurring charges for its VIP membership program.

The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office and its counterparts in 31 other states secured the settlement. Adore Me will also pay a civil penalty of about $57,500 to Minnesota as part of the deal.

Adore Me is largely a digital brand that has a handful of stores on the East Coast. Victoria’s Secret & Co. in November said it was buying the retailer for $400 million.

The retailer did not respond to requests for comment.

Adore Me, according the AG’s office, advertised its $39.95 a month VIP membership as a way to save money. However, customers had to go through hoops to get the credits, and some credits expired before they could be used. The company also made it hard to cancel the membership.

As of July 2022, a total of 15,277 Minnesotans had signed up for the Adore Me VIP plans, the AG office says. The women’s apparel company sells lingerie, sleepwear and swimwear.

The VIP program required customers to cancel memberships by phone under what consumer advocates call a “negative option contract,” which means automatic renewal unless it is canceled.

According to the Attorney General’s Office, many Minnesotans may be unaware that they are enrolled in the program.

“Negative option contracts are sneaky ways of taking money out of consumers’ pocketbooks without asking for authorization for each charge,” said Ellison in a statement.

The settlement requires Adore Me to offer refunds for outstanding recurring charge balances. Customers who were not aware that they were signed up for VIP memberships can get refunds by filing a complaint with the AG’s office before June 27.

Under the settlement the company is required to “obtain express, informed consent from consumers enrolling in membership programs, and to take other steps to avoid future consumer confusion.”

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