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Minn. Company Agrees To Refund Iowa Customers

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- A Minnesota-based mail order company has agreed to refund nearly $10,000 in membership fees to dozens of customers in Iowa who claimed the business illegally charged them.

Attorney General Tom Miller announced Thursday that Stauer, a jewelry and general merchandise retailer from Burnsville, Minn., would change its marketing practices and provide refunds to more than 50 Iowa customers.

Miller says the company enrolled customers who placed catalog orders into a special membership club that provided offers and discounts in exchange for a $99 annual fee. Many customers say they were automatically renewed into the club. One customer alleged money was withdrawn from his checking account without permission.

The company denied wrongdoing in a formal agreement, but agreed to the refund and a $5,000 payment to the state.

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