The New York Supreme Court Appellate Division ruled on February 21 that Orbital Publishing, which claimed to have authorization from newspapers to operate as a sales agent, sent misleading subscription solicitations to consumers. In the fall of 2014, Orbital sent unauthorized and misleading subscription renewal notices to newspaper and magazine subscribers implying that it was offering the lowest price for a subscription renewal. These offers, however, were unauthorized and were offering rates that were often double the price of a real subscription. The Alliance worked with member newspapers in roughly 50 markets to educate consumers about the scam and coordinate the filing of affidavits and other information that led to lawsuits against Orbital pursued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and State Attorneys General in five states. To date, the FTC and the State of New York have prevailed in their lawsuits, with the State of Oregon separately reaching a $3 million settlement with the operators of Orbital.
Members of the News/Media Alliance staff have contributed to this post.