Affinion Group

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Affinion Group Inc.
Private
IndustryLoyalty Marketing, Insurance, Identity Theft Protection, Membership Programs
Founded1973 (1973)
Headquarters6 High Ridge Park Road,
Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.[1]
Key people
Todd Siegel (CEO)[1]
RevenueUS$ $1.169.8 billion (2015) [2]
Number of employees
3,369 (2016)
WebsiteAffinionGroup.com

Affinion Group (formerly CUC) is a private company based in Stamford, Connecticut that provides customer engagement and loyalty programs. Affinion designs, markets, and services programs that deal with customer relationships for other businesses. The company claims to reach 250 million consumers in 20 countries. In 2006, Affinion Group was cited by Forbes as number 321 on its list of largest private companies.[3]

In 2016, Affinion reported a worldwide workforce of approximately 3,000. As of March, 2015, the company had not reported a profit since 2004.[4] According to its Bloomberg Business profile at the end of 2014, Affinion had about 5,500 marketing partners, 59 million subscribers in membership and insurance services, and 62 million customers for loyalty programs and credit or debit card enhancement services.[5]

Affinion markets accidental death and dismemberment policies to banks, to be provided to consumers as 'customer appreciation'.[6]

Complaints, convictions, and settlements for fraudulent practices[edit]

Affinion has paid millions of dollars in civil claims and state attorney general claims, in 47 states, for unfair and deceptive trade practices, and faces multiple class-action lawsuits.[7][8] See also U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts case number: 1:14-cv-10283. For example, Afinion settled a case with the State of New York for consumer fraud, as a result of which a fund is maintained to fully reimburse people whose money was stolen by Affinion's fraudulent practices.[9]

On March 7, 2005, the company made a Settlement Agreement with the Office of the Attorney General of Florida. Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, Chapter 501, Part II, Florida Statutes.[10]

In July, 2005, the Attorney's General of Connecticut, California, and Maine brought a lawsuit against TLG/Affinion for allegedly deceiving consumers into enrolling in its clubs.[11] [12]

In December, 2006 Trilegiant settled allegations of deceptive selling practices for failing to inform customers of auto-renewal on their membership products.[13]

In 2013, Affinion settled allegations with 47 states that its companies misled consumers regarding membership in discount clubs. A $19 million fund was instituted to refund customers who had been subject to unauthorized charges.[14]

Affinion acted as a third-party vendor for US Bank, which in 2014 was fined $9 million and compelled to pay $47 million in restitution, to resolve allegations that it had charged consumers for services that had not been provided. A spokesman for the bank said "We will be compensating customers who did not receive full services from Affinion, and providing our apology." According to an Affinion spokesman, some consumers were mistakenly billed for services, even though they had not provided the necessary authenticating information. In 2012, Capital One Financial was also fined over add-on services provided by Affinion.[15]

In July 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that Affinion had billed customers for services that had not actually been provided, claiming that the company owed consumers $6.8 million in refunds, and would have to pay civil penalties amounting to $1.9 million.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Affinion Group, Inc.: Private Company Information". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2018-06-26.
  2. ^ 10-K, Affinion Group Holdings, 2015
  3. ^ "#321 Affinion Group - Forbes.com".
  4. ^ Alexander Soule, Affinion maintains Stamford workforce despite sales drop, Connecticut Post, March 23, 2015
  5. ^ Bloomberg Business
  6. ^ Lazarus, David (April 14, 2015). "Bank's offer of 'free' insurance is dubious way to appreciate customers". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  7. ^ "Affinion has already paid millions of dollars in civil claims and state attorney general claims in 47 states for unfair and deceptive trade practice".
  8. ^ "Marketing Firm Agrees To $30 Million Settlement: Affinion Accused of Misleading Customers Into Paying Monthly Fees for Discount Clubs".
  9. ^ "Affinion/Trilegiant and Webloyalty Settlements".
  10. ^ "AG Case # L01-3-1484" (PDF). State of Florida, Office of the Attorney General.
  11. ^ "CT Attorney General Lawsuit". "Connecticut Attorney General's Office. 2005-07-12. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
  12. ^ "CA Attorney General Lawsuit article". Connecticut Attorney General's Office. 2005-07-12. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
  13. ^ "Chase Bank, Trilegaint, Settle Negative Option Fraud Charges". consumeraffairs.com. Archived from the original on 2008-03-17. Retrieved 2008-03-04.
  14. ^ Affinion settles with 47 states over misleading practices, Stamford Advocate, October 11, 2013
  15. ^ Emily Stephenson, US Bank to pay $57 million over 'add-on' products, Reuters, Sep 25, 2014
  16. ^ Feds Take Action Against Sellers of Non-Existent Credit or Identity Theft Monitoring Services, Forbes, July 2, 2015