Time for ‘A Million Little’ refunds
James Frey, author of the fraudulent memoir, and Random House agree to reimburse qualified readers.
NEW YORK — Random House and author James Frey have reached an agreement in principle to pay up to $2.35 million in refunds to readers who believe they were “misled” by the marketing of Frey’s fraudulent memoir, “A Million Little Pieces,” the publishing giant announced Friday.
Under a deal given preliminary approval by Manhattan Federal Judge Richard Holwell, readers who submit valid claims will get a full refund, unless other expenses — such as attorney’s fees and other costs — exceed $2.35 million. In that case, the company said, customers will get a pro-rated refund.
Frey, whose book sold 3 million copies following its selection for Oprah Winfrey’s book club in 2005, later admitted that he had exaggerated or invented key details about his battles with alcohol and drug addiction, as well as his experiences in jail. Several lawsuits were filed by readers who claimed they were defrauded, and Holwell’s settlement resolved those actions.
Notices about the settlement will be appearing in several publications over the next few months, and details about where readers should send their claims will also be provided on awebsite created to deal with the claim.
The settlement will also create a charitable organization to which contributions may be made from uncashed refund checks and the defendants.
In a statement issued Friday, the company said “Random House and James Frey vigorously deny any wrongdoing and liability” but added that it had agreed to the settlement “to halt the substantial expense and distraction” created by the lawsuits.
Those readers who bought the hardcover edition will get as much as $23.95 back if they tear out page 163 and mail it along with their claim; those who bought the paperback edition and mail in the cover are eligible for as much as $14.95.
Random House will also be providing refunds to customers who bought the audiocassette and CD versions.
Claims must be filed by Oct. 1.
DECEPTION: Frey has admitted toying with truth.