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MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a lawsuit in Dane County against MedLife Plus, Inc., a Tennessee discount health card issuer and a related company, and Full Access Medical LLC, also of Tennessee, for violations of Wisconsin consumer laws.
According to the complaint, MedLife Plus and Full Access Medical issued discount health care cards to over 1,000 Wisconsin consumers, charging them as much as $49.00 a month for the card, in addition to a registration fee. The cards are purported to provide medical discounts of up to "80%" from local medical providers. The complaint alleges that few, if any, of the local medical providers listed on the companies' websites or membership materials provide discounts. Further, even where discounts are available, MedLife Plus and Full Access grossly overstate the amount of the discount.
Wisconsin law makes it unlawful for individuals and corporations to engage in unfair trade practices and unfair competition. To that end, consumer law prohibits sellers from misrepresenting the "the nature, material characteristics, performance [and] efficacy" of offered goods and services and otherwise making "untrue, deceptive or misleading" statements to induce the sale of goods or services.
"Companies may not misrepresent the nature and quality of their products or services in order to make a sale," Van Hollen said. "Consumers expect to get what they've been told they are paying for. DOJ will continue to work with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to enforce the law by investigating, and when appropriate, prosecuting cases in which misrepresentations are made to induce sales."
The lawsuit asks the Court to impose forfeitures against the defendants and to prohibit the companies from engaging in further illegal activities. If found liable, the defendants face forfeitures of up to $10,000 for many of the alleged violations. DOJ is also seeking restitution for affected Wisconsin consumers. DOJ invites affected consumers to contact DOJ's Consumer Hotline at 800-998-0700 to register a complaint.
The case has been assigned to Dane County Circuit Court Judge Richard Niess. Assistant Attorney General Lara Sutherlin is representing the State. The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection assisted in the investigation of this case.