By: Rob Harris
Robert Klein decided he could benefit from some instruction from Hank Haney. With Mr. Haney unavailable or unaffordable for personal attention, Mr. Klein opted to purchase an instructional video for an ostensible one time charge of $5.95. Mr. Klein, however, received more than he bargained for–at least more than he thought he bargained for.
Mr. Klein purchased the instructional video from Medicus Golf, a company that, according to the class action complaint recently filed by Mr. Klein, has had great success over the years selling golf instructional aids, including “hinged” swing trainers. Medicus Golf, according to the complaint, has utilized Mark O’Meara, Tommy Armour III, Bruce Fleisher, Hank Haney and others to endorse its products. (The complaint does NOT assert that the product endorsers have done anything unlawful.)
The complaint asserts, however, that recent years have brought dwindling sales of the swing trainers, leading Medicus to pursue “alternative avenues to increase revenues,” including “a well-worn method of…unlawfully enrolling customers in negative option memberships without properly disclosing the details (or even existence) of the charges at the time of enrollment.”
More specifically, the complaint asserts that the Medicus website informs customers, when they make a purchase, that they are receiving free memberships to programs that offer discounts on greens fees and free online golf lessons, and that, buried on the website far away is “miniscule” language stating that, after a period of time, charges will be assessed.
Mr. Klein claims to have been victimized by Medicus’ sales strategy. After ostensibly purchasing the Hank Haney instructional video for $5.95, he began receiving additional charges on his credit card. His attempts to resolve the situation with Medicus proved unsuccessful. Calls were directed to voice mail, and customer service representatives (when he reached them) negotiated compromise payments with promises to cancel future charges but never delivered.
Contending that his claims are shared by “thousands of consumers,” he has brought his claims in the form of a class action.
The complaint is silent as to whether Mr. Klein benefited from Hank Haney’s video instruction.