August 13, 2014 / 5:59 PM / 3 years ago

TELEBRANDS-INVESTIGATION-NJ telemarketer accused of deception after sting operation

Aug 13 (Reuters) - A New Jersey telemarketer that developed the “As Seen On TV” logo to sell the Pocket Hose and other products is being accused of deceptive business practices by the state’s attorney general after a sting operation --- but wait, there’s more.

According to a complaint filed Wednesday, Fairfield, New Jersey-based Telebrands charged consumers for products they did not want and deceived them over how much products would cost.

Investigators from the state’s Division of Consumer Affairs made undercover purchases from Telebrands, which runs television commercials to sell products such as the “Olde Brooklyn Lantern” and “Instabulbs.” The products are also available in stores.

The investigators found that Telebrands’ automated voice ordering system forced callers to sit through sales pitches for as many as seven other products. Calls could last for more than a half hour and investigators found that the company made it difficult to connect to a live operator.

They also found that the “money-back guarantee” was not all it was cracked up to be. Investigators who wanted to return products were placed on hold and their calls were disconnected, the attorney general’s office said in a statement.

Telebrands President AJ Khubani is credited with developing the “As Seen On TV” logo for displaying the products in stores. The slogan, which is not trademarked, is also used by other companies that use infomercials to sell directly to consumers.

“We take pride that for more than three decades, tens of millions of consumers have trusted TeleBrands for delivering innovative products”, Khubani, said in a statement.

“Consumer satisfaction is always our top priority. We are confident that this matter with the state of New Jersey will be resolved in short order.”

The company is accused of five violations of the state’s Consumer Fraud Act. In 2001, the company reached an agreement with the state to resolve similar litigation.

The attorney general’s office says it has received 340 complaints about the company between July 2012 and July 2014. (Editing By Frank McGurty and Andrew Hay)

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