Without Notice to Consumers, Kevin Trudeau is Selling Customer Names and Addresses from Infomercial Orders

November 3, 2005
Consumers Also Hit with Unexpected Charges for
Trudeau Newsletter and Discount Purchase Programs
New York State Consumer Protection Board
News Release, October 27, 2005

The names and addresses of consumers who call to order the book, “Natural Cures ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About,” are being sold to telemarketers, junk mailers and other direct marketers, the CPB has learned.

“Without asking permission from consumers, Kevin Trudeau is offering to rent the names and addresses of his customers to telemarketers, junk mailers and other direct marketers,” said Teresa A. Santiago, Chairperson and Executive Director of the New York State Consumer Protection Board (“CPB”.)

“Without a privacy policy on his website or some other notification, customers are unaware that their information is being sold and they also are not given an opportunity to prevent those sales from occurring,” said Chairperson Santiago. “Consumers should know this before they decide to buy Trudeau’s book, his newsletter or a membership to his website.”Customers who call one of Trudeau’s toll-free order numbers have received spooky junk mail from a Nevada company, claiming to be a ‘secret society’ with ‘personal knowledge’ about these consumers. This junk mailer calls itself the ‘Nouveau Tech Society,’ but it is actually another book publisher in Henderson, Nevada that sells a $150 book teaching people how to rule the world.

“The only personal knowledge they have is the information that Trudeau is selling to telemarketers and other direct marketers,” said Chairperson Santiago.

It is an accepted practice among legitimate merchants to post a privacy policy on their Internet websites. Direct marketers, including telemarketers, are purchasing Trudeau’s customer list by contacting a list broker in New Jersey, The List Authority.

Many customers are also being charged unexpected fees, such as $71 for a monthly newsletter, when they order the “Natural Cures” book over the phone. Consumers report trouble in obtaining refunds, problems reaching customer service agents and they’re paying long-distance charges in order to cancel the $71 fee.

“I ordered the book, “Natural Cures’… then 2 weeks later they took $71.40 out of my account without my approval,” a Hudson Valley woman wrote in a complaint against this practice. “They have more rights to my money then me. I feel they robbed me and they do not even have someone at their contact number to talk to you.”

A woman in Atlanta, Ga. estimates that she has lost close to $2,000 because of overdrafts to her debit-card account resulting from these unexpected charges. She said she was promised that the matter would be corrected, but monthly charges of $14.95 continued to her account. Finally, she said, she was forced to close the account altogether and she is still waiting for a refund.

“If consumers can’t get through to customer service then they can’t cancel the $71 charge in time to avoid an automatic billing,” said Chairperson Santiago. “Mr. Trudeau should either end this sales practice or he should have his staff do a better job of explaining this automatic-billing process before more people find unwanted charges on their bank or credit-card statements.”

To get a refund, customers who call Trudeau’s company on a toll-free number cannot get a refund unless they call a local number in Illinois. This results in long-distance telephone charges for most callers, Chairperson Santiago noted.

In a complaint filed with Ripoffreport.com, an Ohio woman wrote, “I was told it was cancelled and nothing additional would be charged to my account. Today, 9/9/05, I got online in my checking account. I have a charge for $71.00 from Natural Cures. I was mad to say the least.

“Bottom line, I did not authorize them to charge my account with any amount of money other than the price of the book, which now I’m sorry I bought. Do not buy anything from this company. I felt totally ripped off, that they would simply charge my account at will.”

Trudeau charges $71.40 per year or $499 for a “lifetime membership” for the newsletter and access to his website.
“When consumers seek cures in Trudeau’s book, the book often instructs them to go to the website to get the answers they thought they find in the book,” said Chairperson Santiago.

“The cover of the book says it “includes the natural cures for more than 50 specific diseases,” said Chairperson Santiago. “But after 355 pages, Trudeau writes: ‘It’s important to know that people who are looking for a specific cure for a specific disease are missing the point of this book.’”

“He should be ashamed of these deceptive tactics,” said Chairperson Santiago.

Note from Dr. Stephen Barrett: In an Associated Press report, Trudeau’s attorney (David Bradford) said that Trudeau didn’t promote the idea that buyers can “opt out” of their information being used, but they can be excluded by notifying the Trudeau’s company. Many Internet seller do ask, but Bradford said he thought that Internet buyers generally understand that their information may be shared.