FILE - Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller

A lawsuit filed by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller alleges that the seller of the “Miracle Scraper” enrolled consumers into an auto club without their permission.

Miller’s office explained that those who purchased the ice and snow remover from Dunedin, Fla. resident Robert Schermerhorn were tricked into joining the “award winning VIP Auto Discount Club,” according to a Monday news release.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the Iowa District Court for Polk County, accuses the defendant of obscuring the details of the club in question in an email confirming the order of the scraper. Customers were charged $9.95 a month though they did not consent to becoming members, Miller said.

“As of filing of this petition, the Better Business Bureau’s page for the ‘Miracle Scraper Team’ reflects 796 consumer complaints including allegations of unfair and deceptive billing conduct allegedly occurring to consumers across the United States,” the lawsuit said. “It appears that at least 280 Iowa customers were impacted by Schermerhorn’s fraudulent behavior.”

According to the AG’s office, a Consumer Protection Division investigator interviewed some of those Iowa consumers, and no one said they knew they were being enrolled into the “VIP Auto Discount Club” or even used its alleged benefits.

Miller asserted that Schermerhorn violated the Iowa Buyer Club Memberships Law with his “negative-option, nonconsensual onloading of Iowa consumers into a monthly fee,” and that he engaged in deceptive and unfair practices violating the Iowa Consumer Fraud Act, the announcement said.

The lawsuit requests the court issue an injunction preventing Schermerhorn from selling the scraper and the memberships to Iowa consumers, as well as voiding the memberships and fees. It also demands that Schermerhorn issue refunds and pay close to $40,000 for each separate violation of the Iowa Consumer Fraud Act.

The AG urges those who feel they were deceptively or unfairly enrolled into a program with a recurring monthly fee to contact his office by either logging on to www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.gov, emailing consumer@ag.iowa.gov, or calling 515-281-5926.