It turns out, that buy one, get one free Snuggie sleeved blanket offer was too good to be true for more than 200,000 people.
So if you’ve bought one anytime in the last 19 years and were charged more than you thought you’d be, a check from the Federal Trade Commission may be on its way.
Allstar Marketing, the seller of the sleeved blanket that’s really just the same as wearing a robe backwards, recently settled its case with the FTC over alleged deceptive trade practices in its direct marketing commercials.
According to an FTC news release, the money was in the mail Monday, and all 218,254 customers affected will receive a check before the end of March. Refunds will also be sent to customers who bought the Magic Mesh Door and other “as-seen-on-TV” products.
The settlement was for $8 million, $500,000 of which went to pay legal fees. Each customer will get a check for about $33, or slightly more.
Meanwhile, according to Yahoo Finance, Allstar made over $500 million in gross revenue on the Snuggie line in its first five years after first appearing on TV screens in 2008.
No small part of the Snuggie’s success was attributed to Allstar’s commercials that weren’t afraid of being made fun of.
“If they got touchy about it and said, ‘This is a really strong product and you shouldn’t make fun of it,’ then I think it would have faded away,” Thomas Haire, editor of Response Magazine told the New York Times. “But they were able to laugh at themselves, and I think the American consumer sensed they were in on the joke, too.”
The FTC complaint alleged that since 1999, the real joke has been on consumers who called the brand’s 1-800 number looking for what was advertised as a buy one, get one free deal. For example, in one Magic Mesh Door commercial the company promised it would “double the offer” for consumers, if they just paid “processing and handling fees.”
While those consumers were led to believe that they would be getting two $19.95 products for less than $10 apiece, in fact, the total cost with the undisclosed $7.95 “processing and handling” fees jumped from the advertised price of $19.95 to $35.85, according to the complaint.
Consumers who called All-Star were often immediately instructed to enter their billing information, and were charged for at least one “set” of products, based on the buy one, get one free offer that really wasn’t a buy one, get one free offer.