Craftmatic Adjustable Price

“Rebate promotion may increase price of bed.”

That red flag is contained within the fine print at the bottom of the screen during commercials for a Craftmatic adjustable bed. The way the deal is presented is that you, the consumer, calls a toll-free number to get some information pack about the bed. In the packet is a $200 rebate coupon.

That piece of fine print sucks. Using common sense, that means that they raise the price of the bed in order for you to get that “terrific” $200 rebate.

That’s not really a rebate, is it?

Others have noticed the commercials, too. According to Ohio¬†Attorney General Jim Petro, sales¬†representatives told customers they were getting a discount or special price when the company has no fixed price for the beds. He also stated that “Craftmatic engaged in high-pressure tactics, misleading advertising and claims that the beds would resolve consumers medical problems, which were not medically verified.”

Accordingly, the State of Ohio recently filed a lawsuit against the maker and distributor of Craftmatic adjustable beds. The suit alleges that Craftmatic engaged in false claims of medical benefits, deceptive price comparisons, false advertising, making false or misleading statements, high pressure sales tactics, Home Solicitation Sales Act violations, deceptive warranty practices, direct solicitation violations, bait-and- switch advertising, failure to disclose material financing terms, failure to disclose material contract terms, illegal attorney fee provision in consumer contracts, and unfair and deceptive and unconscionable business practices.

Capatalism at its worst.

Update

In July 2005, Craftmatic settled with the State of Ohio for $425,000 ($200,000 for consumer reimbursements and the remainder for civil penalties and attorney fees to the state), and agreed to “significant changes in its business practice — whatever that means. Frankly, I think they got off lightly. Craftmatic claims to have sold over one million beds, each costing thousands of dollars. Assuming an even distribution of sales, that’s only $10 per Ohioan customer.



Citibank and Schwartz Settlement Refunds

I noticed two unusual refunds on my Citibank credit card bills last month — both from “Schwartz Settlement Refund” in the amounts of $1.97 and $6.85. Of course, so did hundreds of other bloggers around the web, most with refunds in the range of $0.03 to $0.73. I paused a while on the hunt for information as I found it kind of funny to read a dozen other blogs all rambling about the same mysterious topic. I became even more curious as to why I got so much higher of a refund compared to everyone else.

Of course, none of the information I found on the other blog websites was useful or even remotely accurate (I saw everything cited from foreign currency exchange overcharges to some form of forgery), so I had to rely on the traditional media for answers. *gasp*

According to the Miami Herald, the Schwartz case, which originated in California on behalf of Elliott Schwartz, concerned Citibank’s practice of not crediting payments on credit cards if received after 10 a.m. Although a 24-hour grace period prevented late fees from being assessed in most cases, the extra day’s interest was charged anyway.

Citibank agreed to a settlement of $18 million in cash for the plaintiffs, but since there were more than 20 million of them, the majority of people won’t even get a buck.

If the average person gets such a minuscule settlement, that sure makes it sound like I’ve been assessed way more in interest charges than most. In a way, I had been repeatedly and unjustly charged late fees and had already complained to Citibank but those charges were all related to their self-imposed fluctuation of due dates and my steady electronic payments. I got a full refund of all those assessed late fees, too!

I’ll take the $8.82. Wouldn’t mind a piece of the $7.2 million that the lawyers representing us plaintiffs got, though!