I have written about MorphCorp, Inc. and OurFamilyNewsletter.net a number of times. The company has been selling "family yearbooks" for years. They send advertisements for the "International [Surname] Family Yearbook" or similar titles. In this case, substitute your last name in place of "[Surname]." For instance, an advertisement sent to a person named Smith would peddle "The Smith Family Yearbook" while someone named Clark would receive an advertisement for "The Clark Family Yearbook."
You can read my most recent article at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2004/07/international_s.html
About a year ago the company added an online web site to their bag of tricks. You can see the site at http://www.ourfamilynewsletter.net.
Now Colorado State Attorney General John Suthers has filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Morphcorp, as well as the company's president and general manager, Maxwell MacMaster, for alleged deceptive advertising and sales of "Family Yearbooks."
Suthers' lawsuit claims that Morphcorp marketed "Family Yearbook" as a product of genealogical research that was unique to the consumer's family history.
However, Morphcorp does not conduct any genealogical research specific to the family before printing the yearbook, according to the lawsuit. Much of the same information, including "family jokes and recipes" and family pictures appear in each yearbook regardless of the surname for which it was created, the attorney general's office said.
"Deceptive advertising will not be tolerated in Colorado," Suthers said in a statement.
MacMaster offered the "yearbooks" through direct-mail advertising, which included various false and misleading statements, according to the lawsuit.
Among those was a claim by MacMaster and his then-wife that they shared the same last name of the consumer to whom the flyer was sent, the lawsuit stated.
The lawsuit also alleges that Morphcorp engaged in improper pricing practices by falsely advertising that the yearbook was available at a "special pre-publication price" for a limited period of time, when in fact nearly all of the yearbooks sold were at the "special pre-publication price."
In most cases, that price was $44.85, including charges for shipping and handling.
The attorney general's lawsuit seeks a court order providing refunds to purchasers, civil penalties of up to $2,000 for each violation of the Consumer Protection Act, and attorney fees and costs.
The lawsuit also seeks an injunction preventing defendants from engaging in any future false and deceptive advertising of their merchandise.
Consumers with complaints regarding Morphcorp or the "Family Yearbook" may call the Colorado Consumer Line toll-free 1-800-222-4444 (in Colorado) or 1-800-332-2071 (out of state) or may download a complaint form from: www.ago.state.co.us/consline/complaint.pdf.
My thanks to
Jeffery G. Scism for notifying me about this latest legal action.