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Lottery numbers company ordered to refund customers

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: Lottery numbers company ordered to refund customers

A Buffalo, New York, company that claims to sell booklets of "winning" lottery numbers must make full refunds to any Iowa consumer who requests a refund, and the company has been permanently prohibited from selling any goods or services in Iowa.

Multi-Plays of America, Inc., makes phone pitches that they "are producing winning numbers in different lotteries across the country every month." According to a telephone script, Multi-Plays tells consumers, "We cycle in our scientific formula, and that gives us the most likely winning combinations."

Multi-Plays electronically debited consumer bank accounts in amounts ranging from $39.95 for a one week "trial offer" to $149 per month or $298 quarterly.

"We allege that Multi-Plays violated Iowa's Consumer Fraud Act," said Attorney General Tom Miller in a release. "We looked into it after receiving several complaints, and we believe the operation tended to victimize older Iowans."

The Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division investigation was sparked by several complaints. Two complaints were filed by adult children regarding elderly parents who had been billed.

Two complaints came from older Iowans who said they had agreed to a one-time $39.95 "trial-offer" payment, but then had been billed $149 or $298. In one case, the billing led to bank over-drawn charges as well.

Another complainant said she had not ordered anything and "the first I knew of this" was when she spotted bank account debits totaling $298.

The booklets consumers would receive for their payment included a wallet-card with five numbers listed for Iowa Cash Game, three for Pick 3, and 3 for Midday Pick 3.

Refunds were obtained for consumers who complained to the Attorney General, but the Consumer Protection Division continued to look into the situation.

Polk County District Court Judge Eliza Ovrom issued a Consent Judgment and order that:

    • Permanently prohibits Multi-Plays from selling goods or services to any Iowan.

    • Orders Multi-Plays to make a full refund to any Iowan who requests it.

    • Orders Multi-Plays to pay $3,000 to the state consumer fund for protecting older Iowans.

    • Prohibits Multi-Plays from selling or renting names, addresses and phone numbers of any Iowa consumers.

"Lottery drawings are random, and there really is no way to predict which numbers will be drawn," said Iowa Lottery CEO Ed Stanek. "You can use your own creativity to come up with lots of ways to pick your numbers, there is no need to pay for advice."

Miller urged consumers who desire a refund to write to the Consumer Protection Division, Hoover Bldg., Des Moines, Iowa 50319, or to call (515) 281-5926 or 888-777-4590.

Miller's office also will directly contact known Iowa Multi-Plays customers.

Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil

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10 comments. Last comment 12 years ago by Rip Snorter.
Page 1 of 1

United States
Member #379
June 5, 2002
11296 Posts
Offline
Posted: June 20, 2005, 4:55 pm - IP Logged

Would "Lottery New$" be subject to this scrutiny if it were still around?

    Avatar
    New Mexico
    United States
    Member #12305
    March 10, 2005
    2984 Posts
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    Posted: June 20, 2005, 5:02 pm - IP Logged

    That's why I buy only authentic fortune cookies.  They're cheap, no $40 trial memberships, no books, no automatic billing for quarterly fees.

    You just boogie down to Ta Lin Oriental Food Market, you picks up a clear plastic bag in a size that suits you, and you munch the cookie from around your next pick on the way home.

    Then you buys a ticket, wonder what sequence to play all those little slips lying around all over the place, and decides it's best to go back to Ta Lin to get virgins for the next draw.

    Jack

      Avatar
      New Mexico
      United States
      Member #12305
      March 10, 2005
      2984 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: June 20, 2005, 5:04 pm - IP Logged

      Would "Lottery New$" be subject to this scrutiny if it were still around?

      I'd certainly scrutinize it.  Judging from the number of people on LP who evidently subscribed and respected it, they'd scrutinize it too.

      So likely it would, except in Iowa.

      Jack

        RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
        mid-Ohio
        United States
        Member #9
        March 24, 2001
        19901 Posts
        Online
        Posted: June 20, 2005, 5:42 pm - IP Logged

        Most of those companies offer a guarantee of a new set of numbers free if there aren't any winners in the first set.  Reminds me of a story I read 20+yrs ago about a Cleveland man who complained to the police about a money printing machine he bought that didn't work.  I get similar offers over the phone since I retired, some people must think retiring and getting stupid are the same thing.

        RJOh

         * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
           
                     Evil Looking       

          dvdiva's avatar - 8ball

          United States
          Member #2338
          September 17, 2003
          2063 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: June 20, 2005, 7:29 pm - IP Logged

          That's why I buy only authentic fortune cookies.  They're cheap, no $40 trial memberships, no books, no automatic billing for quarterly fees.

          You just boogie down to Ta Lin Oriental Food Market, you picks up a clear plastic bag in a size that suits you, and you munch the cookie from around your next pick on the way home.

          Then you buys a ticket, wonder what sequence to play all those little slips lying around all over the place, and decides it's best to go back to Ta Lin to get virgins for the next draw.

          Jack

          Apparently your odds of winning with cookies is pretty good. Better get used to the idea of sharing though since many others are catching on and using fortune cookies as well.

            Avatar
            New Mexico
            United States
            Member #12305
            March 10, 2005
            2984 Posts
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            Posted: June 20, 2005, 7:33 pm - IP Logged

            dvdiva:

            They'll have to buy their own or wipe the moisture off the ones I give them.

            Actually I haven't tried playing fortune cookies.  Runs contrary to my grain to be importing even my lottery numbers from China.  We need to still produce at least one commodity in the US, even if they're losers.

            Jack

              dvdiva's avatar - 8ball

              United States
              Member #2338
              September 17, 2003
              2063 Posts
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              Posted: June 20, 2005, 7:42 pm - IP Logged

              There is a fair sized fortune cookie bakery in Seattle. You can see them making the cookies through the window and can even custom order your fortunes for business events. I'm sure they don't provide fortunes like "Your stock will soon tank" or "Looks like your past accounting will catch up to you" unless it's a VERY special order.

                JAP69's avatar - alas
                South Carolina
                United States
                Member #6
                November 4, 2001
                8797 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: June 20, 2005, 7:54 pm - IP Logged

                Players can come here to Lottery post and pick their favorite numbers for freeBig Grin  No charge. use the money you saved by not buying your numbers for gamblin.

                                                                   

                Oo'Ka

                  Avatar
                  New Mexico
                  United States
                  Member #12305
                  March 10, 2005
                  2984 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: June 20, 2005, 7:57 pm - IP Logged

                  Waaaayulllll, so long as they're good Amurican produced numbers, if the trend continues I might take a shot at it.  Two trends, actually..... my own attempts to generate winning numbers for myself continue to plummet, and the fortune cookie industry goes into full swing working three shifts of cousins, nephews, great aunties and old guys with black stovepipe hats and beards, all cranking out one-cookie/one-win products.

                  That's quality.  That's Amurican ingenuity.  None of this, "Someone is watching who admires you", or some wise quote from one of the I Ching Hexagrams.  America needs good, winning numbers produced in America by Americans.

                    Avatar
                    New Mexico
                    United States
                    Member #12305
                    March 10, 2005
                    2984 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: June 20, 2005, 8:03 pm - IP Logged

                    Players can come here to Lottery post and pick their favorite numbers for freeBig Grin  No charge. use the money you saved by not buying your numbers for gamblin.

                                                                       

                    Heck of a deal, JAP69.  I can barely win enough at blackjack to keep my lottery aspirations going at the moment.

                    Jack