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Pocket Hose
A screen grab from the website for the Pocket Hose.

‘As Seen on TV’ seller settles N.J. consumer fraud claim

I received a Snuggie as a gift a few years ago at the height of Snuggie-mania. The novelty wore off after a few wears, however, and now my Snuggie has gone to the bottom of my closet, next to my Pogs, Troll dolls and my Tamagotchi.

Part of what made the Snuggie so appealing at the time was its great commercial, where everyone was so happy and so warm. If you’ve seen one of these commercials, you’ve seen them all — a product that will change your life and IF YOU ACT NOW you get a bonus gift, all for the low, low price of $29.99 (plus shipping and handling).

Which brings us to Telebrands, a New Jersey company that claims to be the largest marketer of “As Seen on TV” products, including the Pocket Hose and the Ankle Genie. The company Monday agreed to pay $550,000 and make “a lengthy list of changes to its ordering and payment systems” under an agreement with the New Jersey attorney general’s office.

Among the changes, according to Ad Age, is operators are no longer just “standing by” but will have to talk if a consumer wants to speak to a person rather than the automated system. The company also can’t make offers for more products if a customer declines the first time.

The New Jersey attorney general’s office filed suit against Telebrands last August, alleging the company “aggressively up-sold products” and shipped and billed customers for products they declined to purchase, among other counts.

Telebrands said the settlement “will lead to an improved shopping experience” but that the company was not admitting liability, according to Ad Age.