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HOME SHOPPING CLUB TO MAKE REFUNDS TO 2,200 UNDER COURT AGREEMENT

 HOME SHOPPING CLUB TO MAKE REFUNDS TO 2,200 UNDER COURT AGREEMENT
 HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The Home Shopping Network will refund up to $11 to more than 2,200 Pennsylvania consumers and pay $5,000 to the state under an agreement with Attorney General Ernie Preate Jr.
 Preate said the agreement settles allegations that the network's Home Shopping Club:
 -- Didn't disclose the existence or amounts of shipping and handling charges when it listed the prices of merchandise offered for sale.
 -- Billed consumers for shipping and handling charges in connection with a purportedly "free" ring-sizing program.
 The allegations and the terms of the settlement are contained in an "assurance of voluntary compliance" filed today in Commonwealth Court by Deputy Attorney John E. Kelly, attorney-in-charge of the Philadelphia office of Preate's Bureau of Consumer Protection.
 Preate said Home Shopping Network, based in St. Petersburg, Fla., sells goods and services through its cable and over-the-air television programs.
 "Based on our investigation, we allege that consumers watching the network didn't learn that they'd have to pay shipping and handling charges on merchandise until they called to place their orders," Preate said.
 Under terms of the settlement, Home Shopping Club changed its sales presentations nationally and now discloses the shipping and handling charges whenever it lists the price of merchandise on-screen, Preate said.
 The assurance also alleges that the network's "free" ring-sizing program was deceptive because it was not, in fact, "free."
 "Consumers found out only after purchasing a ring that they had to pay shipping and handling charges of either $8.50 or $11 -- depending on the ring size -- in order to return a ring to the club and have it sized," the attorney general said.
 Although denying any wrongdoing, the network agreed to pay the state $5,000 in costs of investigation and refund $8.50 or $11 to 2,222 Pennsylvania consumers who participated in the ring-sizing program from June 1, 1991, through June 1, 1992.
 Home Shopping Network will write to the affected consumers and offer them either a cash refund of the actual amount paid in shipping and handling charges or credit toward a future purchase on the network, according to the assurance.
 For those who choose the credit option, a credit of $11 will be given to those who paid $8.50 in shipping and handling charges, while a credit of $15 will be given to those who paid $11, the assurance notes.
 Preate announced the agreement today at a "Help Fair" in Strawberry Square here. The fair, cosponsored by Preate's office, was held in conjunction with National Consumers Week, Oct. 25-31.
 Preate said consumers should pay close attention to the cost of shipping and handling charges when purchasing products from any source.
 "Such charges can amount to a significant percentage of the selling price," he said.
 /delval/
 -0- 10/27/92
 /CONTACT: Jack J. Lewis, assistant press secretary of the Office of Attorney General, 717-787-5211, or at home, 717-657-9840/ CO: Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office; Home Shopping Network ST: Pennsylvania, Florida IN: SU:


MP -- PH004 -- 5329 10/27/92 11:06 EST
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Date:Oct 27, 1992
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