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Q: What is the story on book and record clubs that send me an announcement that I will be receiving merchandise in the mail from their company? | Robert A. Massi & Associates

A: Sellers like these offer you what is called a negative option plan. Subscribers are sent the merchandise, along with a bill, unless the seller is contacted within a set period of time and advised not to send the product. There is nothing wrong with these plans. However, the consumer must be given a clear understanding, or disclosure, of the terms of the plan, including all the costs involved. If you do send back the card to the seller within the specified period of time, advising them not to mail the merchandise, and you receive the product anyway, it will be considered a gift.


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