AG Ferguson wins up to $695,000 in refunds for Washingtonians harmed by lingerie company’s deceptive subscriptions practices

Monday, June 19, 2023

OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced today a national online apparel company will return as much as $695,000 to approximately 5,700 Washingtonians it deceptively enrolled into a monthly subscription service.

From 2012 through 2017, Adore Me, a national company that sells lingerie and other women’s clothes online, placed a pre-checked box on all its online orders that enrolled Washingtonians into a monthly “VIP Membership.” 

Individuals who did not notice the pre-checked box, especially those who made a one-time purchase, may not have known that the company automatically enrolled them into a membership program that charged them monthly fees.

The company continued to charge many individuals $39.95 per month for the “VIP Membership,” which it put into their accounts to use for future purchases. 

However, many Washingtonians did not know this money went into an account and accrued during the course of many months. 

If individuals asked for their money back, Adore Me made it difficult to receive any money back. Ferguson asserted Adore Me’s conduct violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act and constituted unfair or deceptive business practices.

“Deceiving Washingtonians into subscriptions they don’t want cheats the consumer and hurts other businesses that play by the rules,” Ferguson said. “I am committed to ending these schemes. If this happened to you, contact my office so we can help.”

A court order filed in Thurston County Superior Court requires Adore Me to pay restitution to Washingtonians who accumulated monthly fees in their accounts and want that credit back as cash. 

Washingtonians can either opt for a cash payout or use the money to purchase apparel from the retailer. 

The Attorney General’s Office will contact Washington consumers who may be eligible for restitution via email. As part of the conditions of the legally enforceable order, Adore Me must:
  • Clearly and conspicuously disclose all fees, costs, conditions, limitations and restrictions applicable to the VIP Membership program so consumers can make an informed decision for enrollment;
  • Promptly honor consumer cancellation requests;
  • Abandon all practices requiring a consumer to complete an online quiz or survey in order to cancel their VIP Membership program, and not make more than one attempt to keep them enrolled once a consumer has indicated an intent to cancel; and
  • Cease the billing of recurring charges to any consumers enrolled in the VIP Membership program who have accumulated 12 months of store credit via recurring charges.

Adore Me still offers this VIP Membership but it now has greater transparency for the terms of the program, following a 2017 resolution with the Federal Trade Commission. 

The commission asserted the company made it hard to cancel memberships, including by limiting how consumers could submit cancellation requests, understaffing its customer service department and putting consumers through drawn-out cancellation processes.

In January, national apparel retailer Victoria’s Secret took ownership of Adore Me.

More information here

The Attorney General’s Office responds to every consumer complaint. It fields approximately 24,000 complaints annually, and returns tens of millions of dollars per year to consumers through its informal complaint resolution process, which involves working with businesses to resolve consumer complaints pre-investigation or litigation.

Washingtonians can file a complaint here


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