Sadly, the “blue box” DVD vending business was never destined to catch on in the U.S. Instead, a bunch of unwitting would-be entrepreneurs were tricked into making a terrible investment. Luckily, the Federal Trade Commission took on the responsible companies and individuals, and managed to return some of the money they invested.
The FTC announced last week that it was able to return $950,000 to the victims. This payment, in addition to the previous payments sent out by the FTC, increased the total amount returned in the case to nearly $4 million.
The FTC won in court against the estate of the tenth and final defendant, Anthony Andreoni. The FTC continues to liquidate assets awarded in the case.
In its case against American Entertainment Distributors, Inc. the FTC alleged that five companies and five individuals fooled consumers into paying $28,000 to $37,500 each for DVD rental vending machines. The victims were told they could expect to earn between $60,000 and $80,000 a year or make back their initial investment in six to 14 months. Instead, all investors lost money. According to the FTC, the defendants had no reasonable basis for their claims.
The checks were mailed by an administrator working for the FTC on Aug. 30, 2013. They must be cashed on or before Oct. 29, 2013. Consumers who have questions, or who have not yet filed a claim with the FTC and wish to do so, should call the Redress Administrator, Gilardi & Co. LLC, toll free, at 1-866-271-9147.
The FTC never requires consumers to pay money or provide information before redress checks can be cashed. Consumers should carefully evaluate claims about business opportunities. For more information see: Going into Business.